“Fiscal Cliff” has replaced “Grand Bargain” as the Elected’s and Media’s favorite term, and spin on the stories from above. The election is done, it’s a few months too early to scream about the vital importance of mid-terms in 2014, and besides: this is another made-to-scare-distract-and-direct-the-Electorate from any but the choices pre-approved by the corporate parties.
The post-election “Party like there’s no austerity tomorrow” was necessarily brief, given the few weeks for the lame duck session to tackle the crisis they knowingly created. And since it’s yet another crisis, then of course DC Electeds can be excused in taking crisis-level actions. You know, the stuff they want to do anyway and now have a very important reason to implement.
If those who predict, or trust or believe or just hope, that without another election before him Obama will be more “progressive” (and while I’m highly skeptical, it would be great if they’re right) then one of the first places he should show that is related to the economy / austerity, including the Fiscal Cliff, Grand Bargain / Betrayal, Simpson Bowles. Related: regulation of the financial industries; foreclosure; unemployment (as it actually exists) and job creation (of at least the “decent” income level); poverty. And an honest conversation about “the deficit.”
A second is the environment, including climate change, and the many issues related to that, with “energy” a major factor.
Another is homeland security / civil rights, including: ending the highest rate of going after whistleblowers ever; really letting the sunshine into how government works, strengthening FOIA, militarization of law enforcement; working to get rid of the Patriot Act, NDAA, indefinite detention, Gitmo, Kill List and use of drones. Etc.
One more (of many possibilities): Citizens United and all it represents.
Some reading possibilities include: Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report, Victory! – for the Non-Resistance; Rob Kall at OpEdNews, The Lesser Evil Won, Now Get to Work; Dave Lefcourt at OpEdNews, The Interminable Presidential Extravaganza is Over. … What Now?; Spencer Ackerman at Wired, Robot Attacks Are on Deck for Obama’s Next Term; Chris Paulus at The Nation, “Austerity” is Code For a Banking Takeover.
From Mattea Kramer and Chris Hellman at Tom Dispatch, How to Get Yourself to the Edge of the Fiscal Abyss and Not Jump:
They don’t call it the ‘cliff’ for nothing. It’s the fiscal spot where a nation’s representatives can gather and cry doom….
The irony should not be lost that these are, of course, the very lawmakers who wrote sequestration into law in the first place.
Rabbi Michael Lerner at Truth Out, Liberals and Progressives Happy but Not Elated About Obama’s Re-Election:
Obama voters are now trying to get themselves ready for the variety of ways that Obama will once again disappoint us. …
The task for genuine liberals and progressives is to affirm this yearning for better world and to not let it get co-opted into narrowly focused struggles between Congressional Democrats and Republicans … . Aside from affirming identity politics and respect for difference, that voice will not come from President Obama or Congressional Dems.
Ian Welsh, Some Personal Thoughts:
… we’re killing and making a lot of people suffer who don’t need to with our political policies, economic policies just being a subset of politics. … The rise of economic inequality, which is correlated with pretty much every bad thing you can imagine, … has been going on since the mid 70s at the latest, and was clearly visible by the mid eighties. It was, and is a clear policy choice.
Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet, Will Democrats Take Their Progressive Base For Granted Or Cultivate It?, which leads me to ask: will “progressives” take their place in the Democratic Party for granted (or said another way, will they accept their Dem Party assigned places), or cultivate it, use it, work at it?
I’ve asked these kind of questions before, including Who Will Hold the Electorate Accountable?. Basically, either we hold ourselves, and thereby hold the Electeds, accountable, or it won’t happen. As usual, I hope I’m wrong, but I expect four more years of Obama working at implementing the conservative policies he generally favors, as clearly revealed in his first term: Obama being Obama. Said another way: Power to the Plutocracy, Austerity to the People!
(Government Today sign via Gary Johnson)