Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016 - Making Oligarchy Painless

[A note from MeanMesa: This post title needs a little fixing -- a quick do over to get things started on the right foot. Of course MeanMesa doesn't expect the approaching oligarchy to be painless. To move toward a tiny bit more realism, the following title is, most likely, more appropriate:

"2016 - Making the Start of Our New Oligarchy Relatively Painless - 
At Least For the Time Being."

Now, having restored some semblance of literary relevance, we can proceed with another great post which meets Short Current Essays standards . Enjoy.]

 Remember, the Billionaires Are In Charge
Are they simply well 
paid pleasure puppets or 
network "news anchors,"
calling the tune?[image]
The "passionately embraced and insightful political discourse" currently choking the American media atmosphere amounts to what's left of the cheap cosmetics on a not particularly classy lady standing drunk on a pretty dark corner in a rainstorm.

Things are looking pretty dismal in the US political contest underway. Everything portrayed as "important" seems mysteriously banal. Surely, something must definitely be going on here, but the unavoidable conclusion is a suspicion that what we are seeing is quite removed from what is actually happening.

The gaseous culpability behind a mystery such as this -- at least in these modern times -- almost always rushes headlong to the feet of the billionaires. Armed with their "public opinion managing think tanks," these emboldened, in bred, trust fund trolls are now creeping from their gated country clubs out into the light as they pursue their ultimate obsession: a permanent, dynastic oligarchy.

A very faint "bright spot" in this careening descent into the "new state of things" is not buried any deeper than a very peculiar feature of these billionaires with their monetary wet dream of calling the shots after these last few details of replacing democracy have been "settled."

They're tremendous cowards.

They already own so much stuff that they instantly become embarrassingly nervous at the very first prospect of actually losing even the tiniest part of their dynastic fortunes. Their typical life experience has never included what the rest of us would consider "ups and downs." This constant fear might drive them to take chance and make mistakes, but their ten digit asset accounts actually give the little darlings plenty of leeway.

Standing this close to total victory, we can anticipate some pretty crazy behavior on their part. They are, typically, quite clumsy in the assertion of their power. They may have learned about patience and risk taking in their childhood "guillotine classes," but the "carousel's ring" is desperately shiny and almost within their reach at this moment.

With this little detail now handled so nicely, we can lurch right into the "meat of the issue." The final steps to accomplish this transformation is certain to be practically "hiccup-free" thanks to the fact that around 88% of "interested, informed, democracy loving" Americans have any no idea what an oligarchy is.

No idea at all.

No idea how life will change after we "complete the shift."

No idea how depressingly permanent this gut wrenching change 
will prove to be in a half a dozen decades. 
Think of it as a never ending tooth ache.

However, this is not a problem. The billionaires currently own around 88% of everything, so perhaps the numbers, in a sense, go together.

The Extremely Unusual 2016 Election

What's missing, and what's been added.

MeanMesa is constantly amazed as the "puppet show" rambles forward. In every corner the "political discourse" has become a predictable lament focused on the failing and foibles of one side or the other. The narrative has become tiresome and pointless. Regardless of the channel setting, the passionate accounts shared with the citizens continue to paint the comfortably reassuring meme of simply another, more or less normal, clash of mysteriously legitimate political campaigns.

MeanMesa is unable to discern anything recognizable as an actual "political campaign" mired in the media soup at this point. All the faces and words "networky" enough to reach New Mexico's high desert amount to endless flow of painfully tiresome, over scripted, castrated groans of dancing puppets -- dancing puppets with painfully obvious puppet strings which are far too visible to be ignored.

There's no reason to be overly "discrete" when revealing the personal specifics of this experience. MeanMesa will vote for Hillary Clinton. Bill's plan to scare the daylights out of this old voter has been highly effective. As is the case with most Americans who will also vote for Hillary Clinton, the most compelling reason, of course, is Donald Trump. That was Bill's plan to accomplish the election of his un-electable wife.

It seems to be working. The sold out networks -- also quite predictably -- are now reporting that the election margins are "closing." MeanMesa doubts this, but there isn't much reason to lose sleep over the prospect. Most likely it is simply another cheap tactic to "juice up" the contest so the campaigns, frightened by these inauthentic numbers, will spend even more on advertising.

Among the ranks of these contemporary, bumbling politicians, no one seems to know anything. Both campaigns are fiercely amateurish.

The industrial US media has infrequently insinuated that Hillary has actually proposed actual policy proposals about a few things here and there -- perhaps 5% of the minimum policy a normal, healthy campaign might have proposed. Of course there is little opportunity to particularly explore any of these "campaign ideas." Decades ago the Democrats completely lost their presence in the network media flow. The entire party -- and, certainly, including Hillary Clinton -- has become disturbingly invisible.

[Continuing with the theme of not being "overly discrete," MeanMesa is more than willing to share the media consumed here in the Galactic Head Quarters.

Stephanie Miller
Thom Hartmann
Rachel Maddow
Randi Rhodes

None of these sources are difficult or expensive to access. MeanMesa's enduring infatuation with Randi Rhodes has prompted the expenditure of $10 per month for her pod cast -- even though parts of it are available by subscribing on YouTube. Blog visitors are encouraged to seek out these sources. You will continually feel more and more "inner peace" the further you get from the toxic corporate media, but don't confuse "inner peace" with anything similar to hopeful reassurance.]

This is a crushingly gloomy vision.

Unsurprisingly, this election will be completed with essentially no expression of citizen opinion with respect to the future course of the country. It is a chilling case of "The Platitudes Win!" Thanks to the useless domestic US media, anything that isn't "a platitude" isn't reported. It is buried beneath thirty impenetrable layers of wet wool. The American political "audience" has become so codependent and so hopelessly stricken with ADHD that everything of interest must be reduced to a 140 word Tweet before it becomes considered to be digestible.

The New Paradigm Explains Everything!
The explanation is just as painfully distasteful as the question it explains.

The old paradigm rests on the equally old idea that elections in a modern democracy have something to do with the concerns and aspirations of the electorate. This time around such a presumption leads only to an incomprehensible, obsolete model of events with only the most tedious, flimsy "connections" to the reality of what is unfolding.

The billionaires' think tanks have been working diligently to deliver an electorate which is savagely alienated and disgusted. Citizens are alienated by the infuriating ineffectiveness of the current government. Few of what had previously been the "middle class" continue to expect that anything Washington might do will alter conditions of life in the country in any positive way. The carefully orchestrated effort to disgust voters has succeeded. There are dangerously few voters still retaining some tattered hope that the government might yet be saved.

This "dangerously few" number diminishes even more when the current candidates are added to the question. MeanMesa estimates that no more than 30% of the electorate expects any noticeable improvement in "American life" as an outcome from electing either one of them.

So. Is all this the result of a "groundswell" of irritation so intense that it has just finally "boiled to the surface?"

No, this is a "Swiss watch" of masterful, carefully planned, political manipulation -- a quite expensive one. Groundswells seldom have sponsors, designers or benefactors. This groundswell has all three.

The billionaires are making their move. The very last element of the old democracy which continued to block their efforts was the ballot box. However, after injecting a few hundred million dollars into state elections anywhere they could, the previously potent ballot box is, now, dangerously handicapped.

It is a two pronged effort. The voters had to be alienated and disgusted to a point where voter turn out was even lower than it has been traditionally. Voters who had "skin in the game" compelling enough to drive them to the polls were met with six hour wait times, the corpse of the old voting rights act after it had been thoroughly eviscerated by an obedient Supreme Court, crudely fashioned "identity" requirements, mass voter registration purges and every other possible, criminal disincentive.

There is no way to predict what voting statistics for the 2016 election will be. If the billionaires' think tanks have done their job, it will be dismal. Once the election has been completed, it will, most likely, be terrifying.

The Interesting Conclusion of Ibil ka Dum
Everything old is new again, except
there's nothing new under the sun.

Ibil ka Dum, 14th Century
Islamic Historian [image - YouTube]
Ibin ka Dum was a 14th Century Islamic historian. He documented an exquisitely interesting pattern of the origin, development and demise of an entire series of ancient cultures in the Middle East. [Note: It wasn't the "Middle East" until much, much later.] MeanMesa thinks this pattern that he observed paints a very modern picture. Although the stakes have evolved through the centuries [grown even larger], we are still in the cycle.

[Watch the YouTube video - 11 minutes. It explains everything. Then, come back to MeanMesa for the remainder of the post. Pre-Islamic history of the Middle East]

Now, we must seek the similarities between our current dilemma and the historic, repeating sequence of events our historian noticed.

The stages in Ibil ka Dum's "sequence" were both laconic and chillingly prescient.


The list of civilizations observed by Ibil ka Dum to have progressed in this manner is impressive.

Akkadians [Sargon the Great]
Ammorites [founded Babylon]
Babylonians [Hammurabi]
resurgent Sumerians and resurgent Babylonians
Chaldeans [hanging gardens of Babylon and Nebuchad'Nezzar] 
Persians and Medes [Zoroaster]
Macedonia [Alexander]
Seleucids [Alexander's generals]

The period of all these changes is so long that only the highlights are mentioned here. While this ancient historian recounted this repetitive sequence of the events of ancient, pre-Islamic cultures in the Middle East, it offers a compelling resonance with the events of our most immediate, modern times. However, few souls beyond the inebriated bumblers in the odorous mob of mindless hill billies and bigots in the Trump minority consider the prospect of the United States being "conquered" by a rambunctious assault by nomadic tribesmen to be particularly likely.

Assyrian Soldier Beheading
 an Edamite ca: 650 BC

In each of the cases in Ibil ka Dum's list of repeating examples the power controlling an established civilization was over thrown by "wild" nomadic tribesmen from a near by region. Once the fighting ended, the cycle began. The initial "conquest" phase was pretty violent and destructive. With the nomads in charge a "consolidation" of all the remaining pieces was the next step.

The "new blood" of the conquerors, for a time, energized the "consolidated" citizenry of the "new" culture to undertake a territorial expansion. But over time the new, energetic blood of those who had now recently conquered, consolidated and expanded began to degenerate -- to become "soft from city living." By this point in the cycle the next near by nomads already had their eyes set on the next cycle of, you guessed it, conquest.

Still, MeanMesa offered "similarity" and "resonance" between this ancient tale and our modern events. So, without sinking too far into the details let's make an important distinction right away.

Let's replace the ancient idea of conquering an established culture, ripping apart everything there and taking over as the "new boss" with a modern version of the same process. In this case the degenerate "city dwellers" are replaced by the degenerate citizens in both various modern democracies and in various, more or less free, modern national economies. However, these modern day conquerors have no interest at all in the unilateral destruction of everything of value. Instead, their efforts are entirely focused on essentially maintaining the degenerative process while continuously extracting wealth from their new possession.

Rather than immediately becoming notably raucous, ancient city conquering, "party animals" celebrating their sudden, newly acquired wealth, these modern conquerors are much more inclined to adopt the character of the quiet and patient parasite. They intend to take possession, over time, of everything previously owned by those they conquered while allowing the "conquered democracies" and the "conquered economies" to continue to exist, appearing -- at least for a time until such an arrangement begins to divert too much of the conquered gold to the effort of maintaining such an artificial ruse -- unchanged in their "surface" appearance.

The Modern "Degenerates"
It's going to be much neater without the pillaging, plundering
 and all the messy wreckage of those old city walls.

By this time everyone already knows the nature of the next modern conqueror. The traditional Republicans, although somewhat confused by their nomination of such a shady candidate, are  still confident enough that the looting festival begun in the Reagan era will continue. The Democrats are still somewhat shell shocked that their candidate was so unpopular when she was nominated, but Democratic voters are quite aware of Ms. Clinton's close connections with oligarchic interests such as Goldman-Sachs, WalMart and others.

But, what should we have expected? We are in the final phase of our conversion to the oligarchic style of national government. It was inevitable that, at least by this point, the billionaires and corporatists would, very predictably, begin choosing Presidents comfortably sympathetic with their interests. To accomplish this it is completely understandable that the nominated candidates from both parties would both offer administrations committed to this "comfortable sympathy."

Nonetheless, we need not feel that the US voter is the sole victim in this global take over scheme. Yes, the US is a literal "treasure trove" of national wealth which offers the billionaires many remaining years of successful "hollowing out" before they've finished. But a quick review of oligarchic advances all across the world reveals that these happy go lucky, opportunistic billionaires are devouring every "democracy" and every otherwise relatively functional "national economy" which can boast of as much as two dimes to rub together.

Other countries may not offer the same stupendous wealth to serve as sustenance for these suddenly revealed oligarchic dynasties, but the other economies around the world, while perhaps offering less to loot, are significantly easier and cheaper to "conquer."

The Russian Federation is an autocratic oligarchy. The Peoples Republic of China, while not even pretending to be a democracy, is unquestionably an oligarchy. The prosperous nations in the EU -- meaning those which are not currently bankrupt -- qualify as "ripe picking" for the respective oligarchs. The oil soaked monarchs, theocrats and autocrats lurking about in the Middle East [Because this is significantly later than the world observed by Ibil ka Dum, we can call it that.] are either oligarchs or are having violent, religion flavored dreams of becoming oligarchs. The African and South American states, already enjoying a tradition of frequent government take overs, aren't faring much better.

It's probably important to understand that as the oligarchs succeed in taking control of an ever growing number of countries, the prospects for ever removing them decrease rapidly.

In terms of "degeneracy" -- as noted by Ibil ka Dum -- the citizens of the democracies have very successfully "filled the bill." With the now nearly unilateral failure of the public education experiment American voters have no idea about most of what was taught in high school civics classes half a century ago. Normally, when US voters would hear a Presidential candidate proclaiming that he intended to do what -- in those days -- everyone knew would have to be done by Congress, that entire campaign would have ground to a halt.

However, with more modern, "civics free" voters such a claim seems eerily acceptable. Adding to the "new understanding" is the fact that Congress never actually does anything anyway, making the gravity of such a campaign gaffe curiously gaseous. 

Don't forget to vote in November.

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