Palin/McCain have whacked Obama upside the head with any amount of tall tales and untruths since the Straight Talk Express™ got gassed up and ready to roll. ‘He’s inexperienced!’ He’s a secret Muslim!’ ‘He’s a terrorist!’ ‘He’s a Muslim terrorist!’ ‘He’s a vote rigger!’ ‘He’s an Indonesian!’ and the latest ––He’s an inexperienced secret Muslim terrorist vote rigging Indonesian SOCIALIST!’
Now, don’t think for a moment that the moneyed elites of the USA don’t believe in socialism – it’s just that they believe in for themselves. The poor folk can have capitalism, at gunpoint if necessary, as what the rich like to do is privatize gain and socialize loss, but this meme has gotten the odd couple a little traction with lately, as inspired by Obama’s alteration with Joe the Plumber, that Barak Obama is a socialist; however, it’s all a bit late because the jig is, more or less, up. Rampaging hordes of Bolsheviks have overrun previously redder-than-redneck states and plastered the hammer and sickle over Old Glory from sea to shining sea while Palin/McCain are engaged in a final dance of death by irrelevancy, pulling out of more and more states as they hunker down in Pennsylvania, their best last hope, betting the farm that working class whites will be too racist to vote for the black man and too stupid to vote for themselves; however, the comprehensive demolition of the American Dream™ by the USA’s ‘elected’ criminals and their coterie of assorted miscreants has awoken the great unwashed to a terrible truth – that the promises of the last thirty years were complete bollocks and that life doesn’t have to be this hard.
Like a six-year-old figuring out that there ain’t no Sanity Clause, suddenly they have realized that the lazy fuckers who couldn’t be bothered to pull themselves up by their bootstraps are them, that they have been swindled out of their retirements, their homes, their jobs, their health and their kids’ futures by an establishment that should have known better and who did, in actual fact know better – they knew better than Johnny Subprime and Suzy Foodstamps that they would make out like bandits while everyone else whistled Dixie for their lo-fat petrochemical by-product – and the teeming mass and ain’t too happy about it.
When Grumbleguts accuses Obama of being a socialist, many fervently hope that Grumbleguts is, for once, telling the truth – Americans, or at least a crucial majority of them, have had a gutful of conservative ‘individual responsibility’, particularly when they are being held individually responsible for maintaining the lifestyles to which Wall Street wish to remain accustomed; now when they hear Sean Hannity splutter ‘We're going to become European socialists, we're going to be France, and wave the white flag of surrender, and we're going to nationalize health care and we're going to spread, redistribute the wealth, that's our patriotic duty’ many are thinking ‘Good!’, ‘Why not?’ and ‘About time!’
Americans are, quite frankly, a mess of contradictions. For instance, they have always boasted of being the most technologically advanced and modern of cultures while brandishing an allegiance to a vengeful God that Europe ditched just after the Mayflower heaved-to in Plymouth Harbor; they deny and decry the concept of Darwinism and the origin of the species but celebrate Social Darwinism and the origin of squillionaires, and they revel in being borned in the USA and a turbo-charged patriotism but deeply resent having to contribute financially to the country’s physical well being, up-ending the French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s proposal that property is theft and declaring instead that taxes are theft – of property.
This is why the French are considered the USA’s enemy No.1 – the ruling elite are terrified that the star spangled suckers from the Land of the Free® might learn the truth about their continental cousins and their tax-happy ways, that they might discover the French, for a mere three percent more tax than is squeezed out of Johnny Subprime, enjoy free universal healthcare, free childcare, free universities (all of them, even the posh ones) and four months maternity leave, thirty days mandatory holiday and unlimited sick days, all on full pay, that it must be possible to live in an industrial and/or post-industrial nation without having to put the preservation of shareholders’ rights above those of their own children, the sanctity of the Free Market™ over that of their own health or throw starving citizens out onto the street.
It has for years been crucial to American power that US citizens remain ignorant of places such as la belle France, places where the entire automotive industry is not for sale on e-bay. where working more than thirty-five hours a week is illegal, where they have, after long and detailed study, noticed that eating cheap processed food will kill you, where unions are strong and proud, where the peasants understand that handing over their modest wealth to the captains of industry in the hope that this aristocracy, once they have done every other conceivable thing with it, might not invest it in infrastructure and production capacity after all and so do not give them the option and where any attempts to mess with these vital elements of daily life are regularly met with flaming riots and armed insurrection. and so Johnny Subprime is told tales of snobbery, snails and cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
But the captives of the Home of the Brave have much more in common with their Gallic counterparts than they realize; they are both, despite each displaying varying veneers of sophistication, have elements which are deeply racist, coarse, vulgar and violent and, most importantly, both gained their freedom via bloody revolution – indeed, the French bankrolled the American Revolution as a means of annoying the English, and the French though it such a hoot that they had a crack at it themselves helped, ironically, by the wretched effect the American frolic had on King Louis’ coffers – but the great difference, however, is that the French have not forgotten how their freedoms were achieved and as ready to lob half a brick in defense of the Republic as ever.
Or the yanks could take a peek at the Danish way of doing stuff. The Danes, without bragging about it to the world at interminable length, have developed a patriotism that relies less on singing about lapel pins and more on actually being a united people with a combination of free market individuality and welfare state collectivism they call a very post-modern ‘Flexicuirty’.
There’s something in it for everyone; 85% of workers are on collective agreements worked out on the job or across the town’s bosses, and those bosses can flex their muscle and feel superior because they can hire and fire at will with no redundancy payments and can raise or cut their worker’s hours from week to week, so long as the workers average a, get this, 37 hour week.
But what’s in it for the workers? Well, if you do get fired, dole payments are up to 90% of your previous wage and you become immediately eligible for government-financed retraining and/or education to train you for a new gig, and employers and unions have agreed to give employed workers the right to leave their job temporarily on 85% pay to undertake relevant training.
On the family front, new mums get up to 29 weeks of paid maternity leave and daddies get five weeks paternity leave from a fund financed jointly by all employers, while the state provides free child care so mothers can combine work and parenting, and teachers and child care workers are treated with the respect normally reserved for clergymen, not real estate brokers.
Not that any of this is really socialism – it is merely using the power of the state to provide a bottom line of existence for their citizens so that they are free to create opportunity and happy, fulfilling lives, what the vindicated Keynesians among us call a ‘mixed economy’ a very popular and successful system of organization for a good fifty years after the last capitalist clusterfuck – but the baying hordes of the Republican base do not or cannot recognize that it was this kind of society that their precious founding fathers had in mind I the first place, not mention various subsequent heroes of the conservative movement.
A socialist? Thomas Jefferson? By modern GOP standards, absolutely! ‘Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property’ he wrote to James Madison in 1785, ‘is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.’
And how about Roosevelt? No, not the communist FDR – his Republican uncle! ‘I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective’ said Teddy before hitting it right between he eyes and sending Grover Norquist off to blub to his mommy with ‘…a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.’ A Republican death tax! Woo hoo!
Who next? What other traitors can we dredge up? Oh no! Come on down, WW2 hero and father of the American middle class, Dwight D. Eisenhower! Whaddaya like, Ike? ‘Every dollar spent by the government must be paid for either by taxes or by more borrowing with greater debt. The only way to make more tax cuts now is to have bigger and bigger deficits and to borrow more and more money. Either we or our children will have to bear the burden of this debt. This is one kind of chicken that always comes home to roost.’ Wow! Roosting chickens? Sounds like Barack Obama and Malcolm X! Got any more? ‘An unwise tax cutter, my fellow citizens, is no real friend of the taxpayer.’
Golly! Jefferson? Roosevelt I? Eisenhower? Who else we can get to round out this gang of four? Well, when Ronnie Ray-gun passed the earned income tax credit for low-income workers that hiked take-home pay above poverty levels and reduced the impact of payroll taxes he said ‘It's the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress’
Of course, it must be mention that it was Ronnie who doubled payroll tax on the lower orders in the first place and set this whole ‘Let them eat caviar!’ ball rolling for the rich, but even he had the top tax rate set at 50%! And Eisenhower hit ‘em with 91%!!! Seeing as Obama only wants to return it from the current 35% to Clinton’s 39%, I should expect the loyal Republicans are relived to be well shot of those wretched communist anti-Americans Ike and Ron.
But Grumbleguts has a handle on history too, and he is now telling us that he is FDR to Obama’s Herbert Hoover, which would make him, McCain, the socialist! What the…? Conservatives hate FDR more than Karl Marx, as Rush Limbaugh said ‘Roosevelt is dead. His policies may live on, but we’re in the process of doing something about that as well!’ and for Obama to be Hoover then Obama would have to be of the party that created the clusterfuck, but that’s…oh nevermind, McCain is liable to say just about anything now, no matter how bizaare, so best not to worry too much. Unless…
Palin says that ‘Now is not the time to start experimenting with socialism!’, but that’s strange because The People’s Democratic Socialist Republic Of Alaskanistan has been experimenting with it for some years now, and with great success. For all their bluster about being the last frontier full of bootstrap pullin’ rugged individuals, Alaska’s very existence is due to the largesse of the Federal government whose funding accounts for 80% of it budget and who gives it $2 for every $1 Alaskanistan coughs up in that nasty tax stuff.
Meanwhile Palin has stuck the oil companies with a windfall profit tax which is then mail to every man, woman and moose in the state, not to mention a couple more thousand in state goodies…now, let me see…employment dependent on the federal government…redistribution of oil wealth…yup, it seems the biggest socialist around right now is none other than…Governor Sarah Palin!
And if anymore irony could be possible, it turns out that Sarah and her hubby have for years been involved with the Alaska Independence Party, a motley crew of separatists who have sworn blind to relieve themselves of the ‘lower forty-eight’ no matter what, which makes them revolutionary separatist socialist terrorists and leaves us wondering what they will spend their remaining pocket money on.
And as the sun sets on the McCain’s campaign and career, his advertising in these dying days is getting kind of, well, sad and desperate. Now it turns out that being a secret Muslim is OK – hell, the USA was founded on the freedom of religion – and being a terrorist ain’t so bad as, ‘y’know, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and being Muslim terrorist, well, in this day and age that’s a legitimate lifestyle choice, isn’t t? Is he a vote rigger? Oh,…who isn’t these days, and as for being an Indonesian, gosh – we’ve all been to Bali too. Socialist? No more than Teddy Roosevelt and Ike Eisenhower!
No, the MCain campaign has given up on all these and returned to where they started, back to before it hired a tyrannical housewife who says she can stare down the world but who cannot stare down her own teenage daughter, back to a simpler world where Barack just doesn’t have the runs on the board, where he just doesn’t have the experience.
But it’s sadder than that – in his last ad McCain is even throwing Palin’s 2012 presidential run under the wheezing wheels of the Straight Talk Express™ as he implores voters that it’s not even as if Obama won’t be a good president one day, it’s just that he’s not ready…’yet’.
‘Give me one go, just one go on the bike and I don’t give a %^$# who gets to ride it next time. Hire ‘That one’ next time – he’d be good next time – but please, please, hire me now. I deserve it. Because I said so. I’m John McCain, and I don’t care anymore. Look, I‘m begging now. Begging. Is that what you want of your war veterans? Get off my @*^$ lawn!....’
Socialism. It’s what saved capitalism from itself in the ‘30s and what will save it again now. We all know that socialism is what works when all else fails and that America will embrace it again ¬– as Winton Churchill said, ‘In the end, America will do the right thing . . . after she's exhausted all other possibilities’.
Petting Who? - First Published in The Skinny, 1 November, 2009 After a few hours of joyful motoring you might remember to let Oscar the trusty black Labrador-X out to do ...
8 years ago