Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's So Hot/All Over the World/My Sneakers Are Sinking/Right Into the Asphalt

The heat scrambles my brain and steals my sleep. Once an hour, the long naked overnight wakes me up with a chest shrinking into itself, a thousand malicious pounds squeezing against my lungs. "Fuck!" I shout, and throw my pillow over my head with both hands and off of the foot of the bed. I stand up, stumble into the bathroom, my nose clogged with humid snot and breathing weakly through my mouth, the bedroom is an oven, the hallway is an oven, the bathroom is a fucking accusation, I bend over weakly and stick my head under the bath tub faucet and turn on the cold water as high as it will go, leaning my hands against the slimy tile, unable to tell if the dizzy nausea is from the heat or the drunkenness or both, and I'm furious, just furious, the humid drunk heat is furious. I stomp back naked through the hallway, a goddamn hate dragon dripping water trails and flop down on my bed, unsure if sleep will ever be possible again until I wake up half an hour later, cursing, the sheets wet not with cold water but with sweat, fucking sweat, I'm dehydrating in my sleep, the fan pointed straight at my face offers no relief, just stuffs up my disgusting nose, so that I wake up panting, cursing, useless with anger and contrition.

And no matter how much you shower the headlines smell like sweat, and the city streets are shell-shocked, and watching their faces as they enter the air conditioning is all the proof you need of evolution--from chimp to man in 1 second flat--and I stomp naked through the hallway, more asleep than awake, my balls hanging vulgar and useless, lukewarm water dripping off them, water that rolls down from my face picking up sweat and grime and disgust and by the time it splashes onto the floor it's just a puddle of sleepless salt water that can't even evaporate right into the humid night air.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Solid Logic of the Revolutionary Right

First of all, it seems largely unlikely that the debt ceiling will not, in the end, be raised. This sort of edge-of-financial-apocalypse behavior by the right has almost always been political theater: the people who pay for these elections want a stable federal government to keep funneling them money (even if they want the funneling to happen as quickly and non-consensually as possible). But the astro-turf Tea Partiers are much more serious about anti-government sentiment, and their representatives are much dumber (and more revolutionary) than their 1995/1996 counterparts.

If that were the only difference between 2011 and 1996, then we'd be fine (to the extent that we've been fine for the interceding 15 years). When Gingrich and Clinton shut down the government over budget cuts, it was disastrous to social services, but by no means a fatal blow to American governance. This time, that's not so clear.

In 1995, the deficit was 2% of GDP; in 2011, it will be over 10%. Our debt was 67% of GDP then; it's about 100% now, a much larger percentage of which is financial capital to begin with: ie, highly at risk speculative capital. And no matter what it looks like on CNBC, the federal government in 2011 owns a huge percentage of our financial system, particularly in the forms of mortgage, credit card and student-loan debt. We also have a much more jittery global economy, a much more nervous fed, and a much more tenuous relationship to our debtors.

So, let's take what economists are saying seriously--that hitting the debt ceiling could remove global confidence in U.S government debt, the one sure-thing in a world of paper money--and could cause a renewed global financial crisis akin to 2007/8 (without the possibility of bail out- do not pass Go, do not collect $200). This could have unforeseen consequences globally; I don't have the know how to pretend to call how this would play out.

But here in the US, it would result in an immediate renewed crisis (which we've never really left, no matter how many times they rejigger the inflation or unemployment numbers) potentially sending us straight into another Great Depression. It would trigger immediate tremendous cuts (potentially on a level with Greece) that would deaden the possibility of even moderate recovery for years and years.* And war won't get us out this time- we're already in a few.

And that's all assuming that the financial sector behaves with a shred of humanity- they (or China) could make a run on US Debt and shake the Federal government to its very core. The Fed could panic and print money, and we could get explosive inflation, something we're beginning to witness already (and which has been hidden by 'improvements' to the Fed's method of evaluating inflation). Or global markets could grossly devalue the dollar, leaving us unable to import the things we need to continue to 'thrive'.

Even if none of these three worst-case scenarios occur, hitting the debt-ceiling will mean a plunge into much worse times for the US. And it would be the kind of sudden, financial, central government nose-dive that has, in other countries, in other times, given rise to Mussolini, Pol Pot and, yes, that sure fire argument killer- Hitler. The fact is, in two weeks, if the government shuts down, in two months we will have virulent unrest. But it will be chaotic, riotous unrest, violent and anarchic (in the perjorative sense, unfortunately) that will allow whoever is the most organized, best prepared, and deepest pocketed, to make a move.

Of course, the forces of stabilization in the US in 2011 are much greater than those of Italy 1924, Germany 1933 or Cambodia 1969. We are not on the brink of revolution, from either side. But this move, if pulled off, could successfully provide the groundwork for the kind of a-governmental chaos from which right wing revolutionary parties emerge. Tea partiers, emboldened by their success, flush with cash and organized to the gills, could use such a failure as an object lesson in anti-governmental rhetoric, and up the legitimacy of their fascistic impulses in not only their own hearts, but those of the public.

Hats off to an enemy that knows how to deploy their representatives to further their goals. Up with the debt ceiling.

*Any leftist who believes that the suffering of the people is not merely a necessary outcome of capitalism but a to-be-hoped-for good, who wants the next Great Depression to come right away, who hopes for chaos and total insecurity: he is truly an enemy of the people. Not only because he hopes ill on the people, he lacks the empathy and love required to truly build a better world, but because out of such pain and misery no real solidarity can emerge, no movement of the people comes from sudden chaos; only mythical, charismatic leaders.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm asking the wizard for courage!

If the Democratic party weren't a bunch of lily-livered corporate-kowtowing rat-soup-eating low-down insecure honky-tonk Motherfuckers, they could have a check mate in two moves in the current budget 'fight'.

Move One: Agree that the deficit needs to be solved, then point out that half of federal dollars are spent on military costs. Argue that an immediate end to the (3? 4?) wars, modernization of the military (ie: folding the Air Force into the navy, getting rid of beauracratic doubling) and reigning in of no-bid military contracts (Tomahawk missiles cost $1million per, which is outrageous, but I bet you the Chinese could make em for $50k each, because they wouldn't let the manufacturers set the goddamn price) would save trillions each year, ending the deficit w/out cutting vital services at home.

Move Two: When the Republicans balk, make it clear where there priorities lie, not with the budget deficit but the increase of human suffering for profit. Hammer this home to the public, constantly, that a proposal to drastically restructure (and here, you can use the euphemism of 'modernizing' the Military so that it can be more efficient, quick-response) the military and also end the wars, which everyone fucking hates, was rejected, when it was in fact the best way to both end the deficit and keep jobs and services here in America.

Check Mate.

But I think it's probably better to cut education, health care and infrastructure. Because Iraqi roads are more important than American ones. (See how easy it is to coopt the hysterical patriotism of the right wing? It's fucking page one of the goddamn political bullshit play book.)