It's funny to hear the word compromise, bandied about the nation's media by our leaders. From one angle, I guess you could call it that. The cuts do include cuts to the military, ostensibly, but that will really only mean a cut in middle-class jobs, a further drop in economic activity. But then, many elements in the Tea Party are fine with these cuts. So really, it can't be a compromise if a small, radical faction of the government comes to the table with demands, with the threat of forcing an Empirical default, and then it's only from these demands the compromise is made. That this makes these self-described Patriots, and the GOP, and the whole Government really, appear like shill sycophants in service to a global elite, seems lost on them. I expect they will continue similar tactics straight through Dec 23, hammering holiday retail sales and otherwise scaring the hell out of markets, in the midst of what may be a new dip into economic contraction, unleashing $1.5 Trillion in new cuts to domestic programs on a desperately weakened economy.
There is a good deal about the Tea Party I admire. I like that they are focused on personal responsibility, the argument that our dependence on Government has not been entirely healthy. I believe it would be a good thing for Americans to visit for themselves the topic of responsibility, in all its manifold meaning. Of course, Tea Partiers seem not to have any sense of responsibility to the Earth, or even to anyone who doesn't look and sound more or less exactly like a Tea Partier. Which I take to mean a devotion to Christ, and support for policies that are hard on the poor and easy on the rich. I suspect they would prevent us from protecting ourselves from polluters, and financial and business predators, while they would use the government to destroy the lives of Americans who choose to put certain things into, or take certain things out of themselves. Government as an evil, except as a tool of punishing, dominating self-righteousness.
Actually, the President has been saying it - one of the things about this debate we don't seem to want to address. We are still in the hangover of our worship of these men. All through the eighties and nineties and into the new millennium, we practically genuflected at their feet, making gods of them (can anybody say Greenspan), the way money seemed to be falling from the sky. Then came the revelation of 2008, of the epic malfeasance of self-interested efficiency freaks, a long ugly recession, and the growing realization there is nothing particularly sustainable about the path we are on as a nation. And still we can't find the strength to demand a modest increase in their taxes, to help the nation climb out of debt - the nation in which they base their global corporations and banks. 'We already give so much', they seem to be saying (because they are otherwise saying nothing), though they are wealthier than any people in the history of humanity, and growing ever wealthier. (Their minions are saying if we tax the wealthiest a little more, they will take themselves and their interests overseas. But they won't. And good riddance if they do.)
At the same time, I seem to intuit in the arguments of Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman, Robert Reich and many on the Left, a willingness to borrow another few trillion on top of the deficit, many trillion over several years, to make for eighteen or twenty or twenty-five trillion in debt. I don't sense much appetite in America for that. Liberals in general seem blind to the ways in which Government has failed, facilitating a sense of entitlement in some, in Unions and Industry and Finance, at the expense of the health and well being of people and the economy. Liberals and Conservatives together, as example, seem blind to the way in which our food production system is unhealthy for the land, water, bugs, birds and people, which leads to the Health Care Industry being the healthiest sector of the economy, all of it being very lucrative for an increasingly small number of players.
Exactly who is protecting us from the 80,000+ chemicals manufactured in America?
Meanwhile, the ever increasing demand world-wide in fossil fuels, that great unspoken, and the blithe and widely held denial, that "we'll just move on to the next energy supply," as someone replied to my comment, on HuffPost - that extracting every last fossil fuel in an epic rush toward Empirical collapse is a bad idea. He finished with, "Your logic doesn't make sense." My defense of my logic and my critique of his was censored by HuffPost, though they later allowed me to point out that his argument, that fossil fuels have not been detrimental to life, was purely anthropocentric, and not even very accurate in that, our food production system being one oh-so-glaring example. (I later found that HuffPost went back and published the comment they had at first denied. In a piece by Raymond J Learsy.)
And the spectre of a Michele Bachmann Presidency. Can anyone say, "Armageddon?" One last purely manufactured drama, a self-prophesying apocalyptic nightmare worse than anyone can imagine?
My grapes have been besieged by a plague of Japanese beetles. A small, invasive, iridescent beetle, they are skeletizing the leaves, eating all the material in between the veins. All they do is eat and hump; I've found up to ten pairs coupling, on one leaf. I'm killing 50-100 a day, crushing them or dropping them into a glass of soapy water. I've seen fences covered with grape vines and Virginia creeper, almost wholly defoliated. They eat rose leaves too. A friend of mine told me he has found emerald ash borers all over his yard. They showed up in Minnesota only a year or two ago. Goodbye, ash trees. The lake I grew up on is newly infested with zebra mussels. Thanks, global capitalism. Nice legacy. (I know this flies in the face of mainstream thinking, that global economics hasn't been incredibly great for humanity, but these Japanese beetles, ash borers and zebra mussels are going to be around a lot longer than Health Care, or the middle-class, as we know it.)
My father tells me Lake Carlos is currently higher than he has ever seen it. Lake Nokomis, near where I live, is higher than it has been all year, in August, and it's been uncharacteristically high since spring. There is an excess of water everywhere in the Midwest, and on the West Coast; while it is exceedingly dry in much of the South and Southwest. 2011, from my perspective here in Minneapolis, has been respectively, the coldest winter, the coolest and cloudiest spring, and the steamiest, hottest summer, I remember. Everything is extreme. Bi-polar weather patterns? A bi-polar people? A bi-polar nation, shifting radically back and forth between ever increasing extremes?
If it's not the End Times, it sure feels like it.