Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fully Appreciating the GOP's "Wonderful Gift"

In the Dawn's Early Light - 
Thank You, Senator Cotton!
It's been a long struggle, but now -- the sunshine.

A Wonderful Gift
1946: "New Shoes!"
Even though the prevailing response to the Senate Republicans' stunt has been "mortally wounded outrage," MeanMesa would like to seek out the brighter side of the event. Believe it or not, there is a brighter side. In fact the GOP's startling faux pas may mark the first glimpse of a wonderful turning point in the otherwise forlorn swamp of domestic politics so completely controlled and choreographed by the depressive, Dystopian billionaires and their "always eager to please" corporate think tanks.

It is precisely in the center of this carefully created, apparently hopeless field, now overwhelmingly presented as one devoid of alternate possibilities, that Senator Cotton's disastrous letter has opened the clouds to allow a tiny kiss of the sweet rays of the dawn to reach the darkened Earth below. This event truly is this wonderfully stupendous!

It has been far too long since there were even flickering shadows in this dismal cemetery of floundering democracy being suffocated by voters' disinterest and disgust.

The "Dimension" of Change
Cotton's letter landed far afield -- far beyond Iran.

Okay, by now every pundit in the country with a pulse -- and, of any persuasion -- has already beaten this dead dog to bones with every different hammer on his city editor's desk. There is very little reason to stubbornly delve ever more deeply into the cold corpse of the obvious here. However, once the letter's impact on Iran and the Islamic Republic's well tailored response have been set aside, there remains a "wide ranging," fascinating story among the consequences of the scattered debris.

Let's just say "That intriguing stuff strewn along the rails by the train wreck is not a modern work of art." Yet, this is, definitely, a train wreck, so now it's time to examine the pieces. If you haven't seen Cotton's actual letter yet, take a look.

The remainder of this post will be organized into more or less specific "players" representing, uh, individual impact zones, each of which has been rapidly transformed from what it was previously to a "new state" by Cotton's letter. The collection is stunning. Let's begin with the obvious. The first two are, well, rather ugly.

International Politics:

The Iranians:

Tehran will not materially adjust the Iranian negotiating positions in the bilateral nuclear talks because none of the "multiple restraints" already on the table have changed. While the opportunity must have sorely tempted the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, the response was left to Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister, Zarif.  His response to the Cotton letter was, although a little snarky, actually quite measured.

Zarif, unlike 90% of the blustering Senators who signed for us, is very experienced and highly educated with a PhD. in International Law and Policy from University of Denver [One of MeanMesa's "alma maters"] So, contrary to what has been widely insinuated by the domestic media, any sort of "spat" unfolding in a "war of words" never really even began.

On a darker note, however, one of the more penetrating observations offered by the Iranians described the political instability of the US government.

A very similar Congress of Republicans [many of the same faces lined up to sign the letter] opened a highly intentional "leak" during the Bush/Cheney autocracy to announce that the US regime was contemplating a nuclear strike on the Iranian centrifuges. This, when added to the clumsy, colonial invasion of Iraq and the bombastic "US President's" ranting about the "axis of evil," actually explains the Islamic State's almost obsessive interest in owning their own H-Bomb.

Here, we have to imagine ourselves viewing this spectacle from the eyes of the Iranians, and -- interestingly -- also from the eyes of the Russian Federation. Diplomatic protocol normally precludes nations from making such pointed observations without significant provocation, but what these foreign eyes see when they turn to the United States has officially moved beyond protocol. Sharing the planet with an out of control, unmanageable, heavily armed, erratic super power is unavoidably unsettling. 

The "ice" has finally broken. Internationally, there are no remaining incentives to "mince words." Only the  famous, tradition of the Chinese has kept the voice of the Peoples Republic from joining the chorus. The Republican hill billies set out to terrify the world, and they succeeded.

The Russians:

As mentioned already the Russians share this view of dangerous US instability with the Iranians. Unlike the Iranians the Russians may also perceive an opportunity to exploit American paralysis.

Just to keep the record clear without diving into Kremlin political maneuvering, Putin announced that the Federation would start building a fleet of conventional -- not nuclear -- armed IRBMs. Intermediate range ballistic missiles with heavy yield conventional war heads.

Make no mistake. These weapons are designed to alter the "fire power" balance anywhere the Federation is challenged and, ultimately, to attack the United States if necessary.

Putin's gambit is that such an attack -- or the quiet capacity for such an attack -- would fall short of meriting a massive US nuclear retaliatory strike, but, again, given the essentially paralyzing dysfunction of the US state, the leverage has clearly begin to look appealing to the Russian. These weapons would also be able to reach European targets for much the same reasons.

These are the consequences arising from the wild eyed Republican Senators scaring the crap out of the rest of the world. There is nothing currently compelling Putin to negotiate anything with the US. He and his oligarchs can live with the Crimean sanctions for years, and they have already demonstrated both the famous Russian "thick skin" and patience to more or less effortlessly outlast the world's complaints about the remainder of Ukraine.

Domestic US Politics:

1. The Domestic Corporate Media

Anyone foolhardy enough to have remained "tuned into" the television alphabet networks seeking "news" of reactions to the letter would feel somewhat pressured to dismiss the Senate's faux pas as "just more of the same," at least that is, "pressured" with respect to the "pressure" one might experience standing too close to a large vacuum. The obedient networks annotated every story concerning the Senate Republicans with carefully engineered "de-pressurizing" phrases such as: "The Democrats are up in arms about this."

The obedient pundits on NEWSCORP's FOX, of course, predictably broadcast episode after episode of banal interviews lauding these 47 "sudden heroes."

It's good to remember that all the elements of this "industrial strength fear peddling" monstrosity have been commanded to constantly reinforce the verbal think tank widgets in an effort to keep the world as hopeless and suffocatingly beige as possible for their comatose audiences.

"Both sides are the same."
"Don't trust anyone."
"Both parties do it."
"There are two super interesting sides to absolutely everything."
"We'll have to leave it there."
"This is really scary."
and, of course,
"All the other people think this is a scandal."

The print media, however, broke ranks. 40 or 50 of the nation's largest newspapers presented the story in a shockingly harsh light, issuing remarkably pointed criticism at the 47 Senators. MeanMesa suspects that while this was a ratings strategy, it was one executed with unusual confidence and ferocity.

The print editors correctly measured the letter story as the equivalent of "wet media dynamite" and purposely deployed their "editorial inertia" to capitalize on the public's aggravated response and the corresponding readership statistics.

Well, the print editors called it right on this one -- all except Murdoch's trained poodles at Wall Street Journal, of course. At that journalistic corpse, those poor, abused editorial puppies have been thoroughly "educated" about exactly what "happens" to disobedient canines.

For the rest of the nation an incredible "thing" took place. Quite contradictory to the television network "meme" that "no one reads the newspaper anymore," in this case it seems like just about everyone was reading the newspaper!

By the following sunrise the public opinion numbers were astronomical. The network television boys kept spewing out comfortably damp corn flakes, but it didn't help. This thing had grown "legs of its own."

2.  The Oligarchs' Long Term Take Over Scheme

If you work in a think tank, probably the very worst day you can imagine is when the billionaire who is paying all the salaries in the place shows up at the front door looking like "death warmed over." The think tanks were under orders to keep everything about public opinion dismally hopeless and frustrating. There were, in fact, giant storage tanks filled with lies, cynicism and fear right out in back just beyond the assigned parking places so there would be no danger for any of the drawling, pointless narrative ever surfacing into the light of day.

Let's just say that March 9 -- and especially March 10 -- were exceptionally bad days at the oligarchs' think tanks.

American voters who had ceased being "upset" about anything as far back as the 1990's were suddenly "on fire." Worse, unlike the "good, fear driven fire" the think tankers prided themselves on spreading, this "fire" was "pissed off fire." The nightmare got worse. Some of this "pissed off fire" had penetrated the trailer parks and American Legion beer halls inhabited by the GOP's base.

Yes, there were actually hill billies and bigots, usually marching lockstep in zombie battalions to the hypnotic hate voices of FOX News pundits, who were now, well, "pissed" themselves by Cotton's treasonous letter. The very same arrogant billionaires who had so gleefully invested billions in the "hate radio" fear campaigns had now begun to be . . . afraid . . . themselves.

The imminent danger was that the expensively crafted, spider web propaganda "spell" might be breaking apart, and the billionaires knew this!

Naturally, they "doubled down," but aside from the Wall Street Journal, the only place left for all that frantic "doubling down" was a tattered gang of lonely, isolated, exhausted, neck-tie, prime time pundits on the television networks watching their relevancy -- along with their talk shows' viewer "trust" statistics -- plummeting into the cess pool. Predictably, the network credibility, following the  mind numbing "non-reporting" on this one, was "headed down the toilet."

The think tankers and the network managers usually countered the occasional murmurs of "headed down the toilet" with "Well, that's just his opinion." But by March 13th every street in the entire nation seemed to be filled with "pitchfork and torch bearing villagers." All these recently awakened souls were not particularly angry with the networks. They were simply dropping out of the "viewer base" like over fed house flies in a bug zapper.

Meanwhile, in the streets of the "real America," the "pissed off" phenomenon was setting up like freshly poured concrete. Previously brain dead, loyal Party grandmothers were phoning Washington and asking if their Senator or Congressman was a traitor.

3. The "Independent" Voters

No, this isn't going to be enough to turn these fickle, indecisive ballot casters into stark raving Democrats, but it very likely will be enough to throw Congressional district elections around like two rat terriers with one pork chop by November, 2016.

The bruised, bashed and scarred middle class voters who had only a week ago been the sleeping "election tipping" voter block had, previously, represented a quite dependable margin when added to the unwashed "true believers" in the GOP's base. These voters never actually liked Republicans all that much, but their lives were hell, and this made them "ready volunteers" to be outraged by the think tanks' carefully manufactured, incendiary narrative.

The "hidden asset" being groomed and guarded so carefully by the propaganda masters attempting to control these voters was not some kind of structural concept, it was malaise, frustration and exhaustion. These votes would remain in the oligarchs' "sphere of influence" so long as this bitter depression could be continued. Further, the billionaires had invested untold fortunes into making certain that conditions would never improve, and that the understandable malaise would become permanent.

Any kind of unquestionable "turn for the better" for these voters would have plunged the think tank bunkers into DEFCON3. However, the Cotton letter wasn't any sort of "turn for the better," at all. Instead, well . . . we're back to the "pissed off" villagers with pitchforks and torches.

The think tankers didn't see this one coming.

Folks like Cotton and his 46 friends had become precariously "lost" in the propaganda [Remember Romney still assuming that he had won the election even as the Obama landslide was being counted?] as they were dreaming up the fantasy of just what a delightful addition to the already years long President bashing this letter would offer.

However, their estimate of scale was catastrophically inept. The reactionary Senate thugs had anticipated that the public opinion impact of their stunt would incite no more than the usual, quite modest, grumbling, "more of the same, yawn," reaction among a well managed, Stoic electorate.

This wasn't the case. Even the oligarchs' media control structure began to falter. It turns out that there was simply not enough "network beige" to cover up the "scarlet letter" this one had laid down all across the land. There was, happily, also scant prospect that these now adrenaline soaked, middle class "moments of enlightenment" were going to dim by election time.

The "scarlet letter?" It was a "T," and that "T" stood for treason. Americans weren't searching out the nuances for evidence of sedition under the Logan Act, they were looking for a noose.

4. Announcing The "Outrage Contest'sAll Time Winner

Urban legend contains accounts of Portuguese ship captains ordering the introduction of small amounts of saltpeter into the rations to suppress the crew's otherwise problematic male ardor during long voyages. A similar strategy has guided the think tank propaganda efforts.

The battered electorate was to be fed a steady diet of one spirit crushing outrage after another. These artfully manufactured irritants would be provided to the pundits each morning to be obediently parroted back relentlessly until they were replaced with the next day's supply. What had begun as Limbaugh and a few other grotesque cranks had blossomed into a literal horde of "bad news experts" all lamenting the "outrage of the day" from dawn until late into the night.

The long term effect of this effort was shockingly soporific. The oligarchs, through their think tanks and obedient, corporate media, had patiently reduced vast numbers of voters to the status of easily managed, desperate refugees by daily saturating them with the dreadful weight of every imaginable kind of provoked fear and hopeless ennui.

The usefulness of this now mindless, cowering electoral block had reached its apogee during the Bush/Cheney autocracy, but six years later, the tread on these tires was beginning to wear. Progressives such as MeanMesa had been waiting for the trend to shatter, repeatedly asking "When will the Americans wake up, realize what had happened to them and, once again, take command of the democracy?"

However, these progressives -- including MeanMesa -- had miscalculated where that change would ultimately originate. We had all though that this would be something that we would have to do! We were becoming somewhat disenchanted because the things we were doing didn't seem to be working.

Cotton's letter changed all of that in a wonderful, unexpected way. So, if you happen to be a Republican, yes:

"The monster you have created is too large to fit under your bed. It has big teeth and lots of legs. And, it appears to be quite hungry."

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