Shock Doctrine: The Red Flag is Up
There’s a classic scene in Moonstruck where Cher goes to confession and so nonchalantly traipses over a few sins (“I bounced a check, I slept with my future brother-in-law, I said the Lord’s name in vain…”) that vividly flashed in my mind as I read Waldman at Tapped last week. Pelosi had approval in the 20’s, but she passed this, she passed that, would she have taken it all if forecast in 2009? Of course, of course.
Ah, wait a minute, Paul, what was that first thing you said again? Approval in the 20’s? That, indeed, is not an element of record for future Democratic Speaker aspiration, no, not at all. Springing from unalloyed curiosity, Mr. Waldman, what precisely was and is the genesis for that atrocious approval rating for such a fine Speaker who accomplished such grand things? Contrary to some of the most foolish babbling of paradox I have ever read from yapping Villagers, we all instantly know why Pelosi was in the 20’s and lost the House:
Americans of course approve of equal rights and tax cuts and student loan reform, but they could rightly give a rat’s ass when the labor market is smashed, foreclosures (you know, people’s homes) totally out of control, one in seven on food stamps, and wages going absolutely nowhere.
This is the great act of denial in Obama’s first term, this stupefying nonchalance as millions of lives are smashed in an employment evolution we never tolerated or have seen before. Defensive Obama supporters cite tax cuts that didn’t work again as ludicrous stimulus, ridiculous Administration officials babble Hooverish belt-tightening nonsense, and our appalling media simply ignores the nuclear meltdown of employment that launched Pelosi’s ass out of her Speaker office.
Denial and obfuscation of this great American crisis and tragedy is a vastly worthy story unto itself, but it is not our focus today. Appalling as the howling unemployment pain inflicted upon our little people and their children is, another equally horrifying facet of the outrage exists: it’s a shock doctrine event.
Shock Doctrine, so brilliantly elucidated by Naomi Klein, is the use of drastically disruptive political/cultural events (often manufactured by political leadership) as exceedingly useful distraction cover to implement some other political goal or element, usually which would have been impossible without the shock and uproar of the catalyst event (9/11 = Iraq War).
How does our incredible employment scenario qualify? It is obviously unique and new, and equally appalling in its vicious force of pain and fear. Given that the above graph is indeed shock doctrine worthy, what could it be possibly be used for as a manipulation lever? Cutting Social Security.
It has been stated here before, and is equally true today, that should any cut of any Social Security element proposed by the Democratic Obama Administration the United States is unequivocally, screamingly in the utter throes of a shock doctrine evolution. Social Security is abundantly, vastly in surplus by generations of over-taxation, there’s a $120 billion annual war on with incredible tax cuts just passed, it is beyond lunacy for Social Security to be cut, it’s outright theft, an act of amazing arrogance and contempt that could only happen by the enormous distraction and manipulation of unemployment. Times are tough, we all have to sacrifice, that’s what the thieves will seriously say.
Well, where is this proposal of screaming outrage we all must get frantic about? So far it’s just a leak at Politico.
The President will eat a live kitten at his next press conference, such was one credible response, but even the most incredulous or amused Obama supporters must acknowledge the leak occurred, Kuttner didn’t write that cutting social security piece out of thin air.
Leaks are extremely useful in a variety of ways: they coddle and ensnare the reporter to a clubby insider status, they manipulate various political actors, they offer reaction gauges to proposed ideas, and steer the political conversation of the Village (DC) in a desired direction. Given this, just why would the Obama Administration leak that cutting Social Security story to Politico?
Forced to guess, gauging reaction and steering Village conversation would be my answer. But in a war, right after tax cuts and a shock doctrine event potential so handy, would Democratic President Obama really go through on the leak, really do the unthinkable by proposing Social Security cuts?
We’ll all just have to wait for the State of the Union like the leak says, won’t we? No, we don’t know at all, but after the amazing and incredible evolution of making sure bankers got jobs but no one else anything could truly happen. The watch is set, the red flag is up, the abyss of shock doctrine may soon be upon us.