Reason and Action Eroded, Only The Game Remains: How the Game Works – People’s Lives Not Even a Chip in the Negotiations Anymore
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Twelve:
Only The Game Remains
The Really Special Interests…What They Want Is At Our Expense
Reason and Action Eroded, The Game Is All That Remains
Note to Ordinary Folks: Ordinary Folks Are Out to Get You.
Well since they believe a loving God would condemn them to endless suffering, don’t see why we can’t convince them their own biggest enemy is to be found in a mirror.
But the Republicans were at one point cornered by justifiable attacks about being backed by special interests, so they concocted this idea that the Democrats were too.
Everybody’s Doing It.
They couldn’t deny it was true about them, so they just made it like, well, it was everybody. That way they avoided being revealed as bad people. For what they did wouldn’t make them bad. It would just make them politicians.
An added benefit for them in “democratizing” the guilt this way is that folks thinking all politicians are the same, that they’re all taking money, means they would be unlikely to vote. They would say, “Ah, they’re all crooks.” Is not that what we’re hearing? Isn’t what we’re hearing that there is no such thing as an honest politician? And keeping the masses, who are helped by Democrats, away from the polls can only help Republicans engaged in swindling them.
The Really Special Interests: What They Want Is at Our Expense.
But once the term special interest meant something very specific, and it was hardly confusing. We need to go back to the time before the whole subject became so muddled and full of misinformation that even the pundits didn’t know what they were talking about anymore. Back when the term was coined, the special interests were thought of as the interests of the very small numbers of wealthy people and their financial arms, big businesses, who sought favors from government that were at odds with the welfare of the masses of less moneyed Americans.
For example there might be a group from, say, the coal industry, whose interests would be higher profits for being allowed to spew extra amounts of toxic fumes into the atmosphere. That would be the kinds of things they would want: something that benefited them at the expense of the majority of folks. Consider: If what was sought would benefit most other people as well, it would not need to be lobbied for solely by this small group, this business concern. Such a change would be advanced on behalf of the greater number of people and would succeed that way.
So a really special interest would push for something that would bring them greater profits in spite of the fact that it would hurt the majority of Americans. In this example of air pollution, it would be felt negatively by all Americans, eventually the whole planet, including people of other countries, and even the plant and animal life, in which species in existence thousands of times longer than us would be gone forever. This is why an interest might be “special.” It would be special in that its benefits would be singular, not shared.
To the contrary, the common good would be reduced for the temporary financial benefit of a relatively small group of individuals, in this case, coal barons. Keep in mind also it would only be the rich capitalist owners in these industries who would see the benefits. That is the real meaning of special.
Religion of Capitalism – The Game Is the One Truth Faith
And Then the Great Threat
In a clear-headed sense, a boon to a special interest would involve some sort of legislative help to the profits of, basically, these special rich capitalist owners; and it would be given, very often, at great cost to all those others I have been mentioning who were not in the Congressional bargaining room. So how could such a thing be justified? Well, here is how it works, beginning with another great lie, delivered as a threat.
The threat would amount to this: That unless these favors are granted, say, as in the example, if you didn’t let us put that stuff in the air, we’re gonna have to have layoffs. The threat of workers losing their jobs is always, always, the gauntlet thrown down to jimmy profits into the hands of a few.
And saving worker’s jobs is always, always thrown out to the public as the justification for granting these singular boons. So the American worker is indirectly threatened with the loss of a job and a paycheck.
The part that will rarely be spoke is the cost of this legislative largess to the general population. In our example, what will not be mentioned is that some people’s lives will actually be ended—there is always some of this, though this is the biggest unspoken—for the granting of this wish. What is recklessly ignored is that when this regulation easing, as in our example, goes into effect, it will actually kill some people; it will diminish people’s lives; it will increase diseases, cancer and emphysema for example; and overall it will result in more suffering for thousands or millions of times more people than the few that will benefit. Do you begin to see how really special a real special interest is?
But as for these costs to us ordinary, non-special, people, they will not be mentioned by either side of the bargaining. This will hardly even be a chip in the negotiations. What will be put on the table is worker’s jobs. That threat is that unless these favors are granted, well, we’re gonna have to have layoffs. And then they would say, “Well, American workers will suffer.”
And that’s the magical meaningless mantram—”American workers will suffer” which is another one of those lies again added to create fog, to create confusion, in this case a smog of misinformation, stifling the reasoned understanding of what is actually at stake.
Their Kind of “Sharing the Pain” – My Problems Will Be Your Problems, They Say.
And Then Outright Extortion
In fact we had a conspicuous example of this, the way…let’s call it what it is…extortion was employed by the banks not many years ago. The filthy rich, in the guise of investors, pulled off one of the biggest extortions in American history and got away scot free. Even the Democrats could not see through it (still don’t).
Well, in any other instance of such a tactic, in any other instance by anybody in America doing what was done, it would have been criminally prosecuted. But not so in the case of these special rich people, represented by these bank executives.
How spectacular this oversight in singling out the guilty is rarely brought out. But truly massive is this miscarriage of justice. Consider that there are vastly more ordinary Americans than there are in the tiny group of filthy rich. So there will of course be far more instances in the general population of any crime you would think of. In this case we are looking at extortion, and virtually every instance of such a crime committed among the general population would attract the intense attention and the full wrath of justice there. Naturally, the harm to the victim or even victims would be constrained to the tiny number of people affected, and the limited amounts of money involved, in any particular case.
On the other hand here we had a much tinier group of people—the filthy rich and the heads of the banks that represent them. And the percentage of that group involved in such an extortion is far greater than the incidence of that crime in the greater population, i.e., they represent a high crime zone for such malfeasance and a much bigger danger when their crimes go unpunished and can continue unfettered. Such small groups with higher rates of crime, when there is smaller mounds of money to protect them, are labeled as “criminal gangs,” “hoodlums,” “organized crime,” “gang-bangers” and the like. But not so when the perpetrators dress in such fine suits and stink with money.
Further the scale on which these crimes are perpetrated are that of the entire population of the United States and expands itself to include harm to those in other nations and even among the unborn—future generations. So the the magnitude of the crime is infinitely larger than could ever be pulled off by an average American. Still, the smaller scale, less harmful instances of this crime are ruthlessly sought out and punished. Whereas the immeasurably larger crime of the super wealthy is let go…and this in spite of the fact mentioned that the future threat is larger and considerably more likely if the current wrong is not addressed.
With these things known, how mind-boggling is it to notice this blatant extortion not pointed out, not labeled as such, hardly addressed?
Their Kind of “Sharing the Pain” – My Problems Will Be Your Problems, They Say.
Well here we have, in this case, the banks, the preeminent fronts for the organized filthy rich, demanding extortion money, which if not received…here we go again…eventually would result in their inability to do business and would affect people. This threat is one of their ploys.
Just like the coal barons in the example above who would ask for concessions saying if they did not get them they would be forced to lay off American workers, the banks would have their way of trying to convince that they should be helped or it will affect great numbers of people. In their case, they would say it would affect their ability to do business and to serve the American people.
One way or another the idea is to obscure the reality that help to the banks will help primarily this small group, in this case, of bankers, and to make it that their problem is seen as our problem, the public’s problem. This increases the pressure on politicians to grant the favor. For it is spun that it is not the wealthy investors whose welfare is at stake but the public at large.
So there is the extortion, you see. Unlike coal barons threatening to fire workers, essentially bankers threatened to stop providing loans. They would hold them back if not paid. The degree to which this was untrue is shown by the fact that after they did get the bailout, they used it to feather their nests and to expand their bank’s market share. Chase Bank, for example, sat on the bailout cash they received, with the intention of using it to buy out other banks that would fail, which is exactly what they did with the money. Banks also gave out those high bonuses like I’ve discussed.
Meanwhile the public was not served. Money remained tight. There arose a big hue and cry over the fact that the money was covering bankers’ losses (i.e., going into their pockets) but the public was not getting the loans they needed. So in retrospect that money would have been much more wisely spent going somehow directly into the people’s hands who needed it, not by funneling it through the hands of gluttonous banking institutions.
And what about their threat of it affecting society at large if they were not placated? Well, society did pay dearly, did suffer, even though the banks were paid their extortion money, handsomely too. And since so much of that loot went to the folks who didn’t need it, overall the economy ended up worse off. Short term the problem was swept under the rug, but in borrowing from the future to help rich people today it guaranteed the problem would get a permanent installation in America’s economy. Seriously, this problem can not be calculated or even imagined away, so Americans will suffer its results forever as far as we know.
So this is the extortion and the lie that sits in the middle of the threat that it is the American workers who will suffer if the wealthy don’t receive their payola.
For it is never the workers or, in this case, those needing loans who would suffer if the extortion is not given in to, it is the fat cats, coal barons, filthy rich, 1% who would suffer, and for that matter, not even all that much compared to the suffering inflicted on the public by their greedy practices, whether or not the extortion money or concession is provided.
To Win at Any Cost – How They Convince That Their Problems Are Ours
Anyway, the game is to claim that the pain of those with wealth is really the American people’s pain, so as to make it seem a large number of people would be helped. That’s one of their lies that gets by; this is how they seek to “share the pain”…”spread their burden.” It is a banking problem, in this instance, something that has had disastrous effects on the economy and on people’s lives, but it would be better handled by society if the problem of the people involved would be addressed, not the problems—money lost, investments gone under—of the filthy rich.
The upshot is that over and over we hear these big lies of how “the American people”…one of those huge buzz words… “the American people are going to be hurt.” Or, it became, “the working people of this country,” or in the example of the coal barons, above, that a huge group of coal miners would see massive layoffs. In light of what has been said, I hope it is clear what b.s. that is.
How They Try to Convince That Their Problems Are Ours
We see the threat; we see the extortion; we see the crime and its magnitude, and we see the lie that gives life to it all. Let us look more closely at the manner of the making of this spectacular ruse.
First…some of this has been said, but watch how it unfolds…you’re starting out with a group that is a minute segment of the population as a whole. But they maintain they are identical with or equivalent to society as a whole, making it that it is not the magnitude of their money but of their numbers which raises their voice above all, which is not true of course. I was talking earlier about how they would do that in making up the tax codes. Recall, they would say, “Well, society as a whole will suffer if you don’t…”
So they would always package any benefit to them as being not for them, really, at all but for a great number of people. And if they could pull that off, if they could make that magical equivalency then it was like they had a home run. They would say the working people of this country would be affected, that a huge group of coal miners would see massive layoffs, for example.
Then here is how they make that number bigger: These people, in this example the coal barons, not to be underestimated, would assert that because of their layoffs naturally there would be more of these layoffs by other coal companies. And then, they’d say, these layoffs would affect all the shopkeepers, retail merchants and so on who service the impacted regions; which in turn…gotta keep making it bigger and bigger, more and more and more people…which in turn would affect all the industries making the products that won’t be sold because of the layoffs; and of course a pull back in demand for products means fewer workers needed to make what is needed, thus an increase of unemployment in all other sectors would ensue; which unemployed workers on a grander scale would have them unable to buy from their local merchants; which equals the losses to the manufacturers in an ever more expanding array of products and industries; requiring they let people go; thus even more, ever accelerating rates of layoffs and widening unemployment; well , those laid off would not be buying the products in their local shops; which leads to…well armageddon the way they would have it.
So it just gets bigger and bigger; it goes around and around and around.
To Win at All Costs
But They Will Say Anything to Win
Just a hint though, this is one of those seemingly rational analyses that although seeming to make sense is not grounded in the real world; it is speculative and made up. It’s roots are solely in the dark hearts and motivations of those attempting to push through their argument, to give it added weight, to basically win at any cost.
That’s a lot of what the difference is. It is that some people will wager with any amount of harm to others; they will say anything, will make up anything. They don’t have to have any facts; they don’t have to know if that’s the way it works. As McCain said, “I don’t know much about economics.” This is the guy who was popular among the corporate crowd of the country, the same group making that simplistic argument above.
What’s Truth Got to Do With It?
So basically their game involves winning at any cost to others, being willing to assert anything, with no thought that truth should even come into a bargaining situation. I mean, really, the attitude is that, what the hell does truth have to do with it? It’s like, we can make a good argument; we can convince people; we can persuade people; we can fool enough people into thinking it’s true…and that’s all that matters. [Footnote 1]
So you see they’re getting kind of cocky; they don’t even think they have to have truth…any actual facts or evidence backing up their arguments. Then you have your whole attitude of, “What the hell, why is anybody bothering to bring any truth to this?”
So they don’t bother even to come with any evidence to be laid out on the table; it becomes the most elegant spectacle in sophistry imaginable.
Kindness Means Weakness in The Game – But Unlike Monopoly These Results Are Real
Unlike Monopoly These Results Are Real
What it becomes then for these special interests and their Republican representatives is something with about as much gravity as a board game. They’re seeing these matters, which are of dire importance to most of society, about the way we do when playing a game of Monopoly, in which we compete without consequences and try to win without remorse.
Though the differences should be noted. There’s nothing at stake in a game of Monopoly among friends; it is just simple play with light-hearted risks. There are no real families having to move out if one player buys up all the land and houses of another; there’s nobody even paying rent of $40 if they land on Boardwalk, nobody suffering when you’re told to pay a doctor bill…or to go to jail.
Going Directly to Jail, Not Passing Go – The Only Part That’s Really Like Monopoly, for the 99%
This point, however, keep in mind as increased perspective on the real world actions of these wealthy folk. In Monopoly you try to win. And you would consider deception. You might hide how much money or property you have…if you’re asked, for example, you might not tell the truth. And this dissembling would be considered a good ploy and harmless. Even the other players might admire such a deception .
But is this the way it is in the bargaining of the special interests through their lackey paid-for Republican representatives? No. The consequences of their cavalier play are being felt somewhere. But they cover up their unconcern through the pretense of acting on interests not of their own, but of that reliable home base of the society at large.
We’re Not Supposed To Be Monopoly … Or the Wild West.
So, there’s Monopoly, then there’s the real world, where things like deception or whatever for the purpose of winning have real world effects on people. But we’re supposedly living in an era or time that is not like the old Wild West. We purportedly have a democracy with the aim of benefiting the majority of people, or at least as many people as possible. And we claim our intention is to do this without unduly punishing any particular group or having any persons inflicted with unnecessary grief. It’s supposed to be fair; government is supposed to serve people.
This Game’s Not For You
So that’s why I was saying, in the early days when there was bargaining in Congress by the special interests they maintained a pretense of caring about people. After all, we maintain that government is supposed to be representing the American people.
Getting to Home Base, in Their Baseball Game
So moneyed interests would garner these special breaks, in the tax codes or wherever, because basically they would get to the point where they would convince enough deciders, even if it wasn’t true, that such a change, in the tax code or policy, or whatever, would benefit society at large. As I said, that is kind of like reaching home base for them. You got it then; you’re home free if you can make that link. For that is the touted purpose of our elected deciders, it is to benefit the society at large.
Now, nobody can benefit all the people all the time, so that’s as close as you can get…society at large…it’s as near to a home base as you can get.
Anyway, that was the thought involved on both sides of this whole game for a long time. And I stress—if you haven’t gotten the point already…I’ve been leading up to it—that this was the thinking on both sides of this game. It’s like a game for the Republicans, just like Monopoly for us.
And, how was it played? Well the thoughts were, if you were able to get to home base—which is equal to proving a benefit for average Americans, society at large or as a whole, or the electorate—then you score.
But Supported by “Obvious Truths”—Those Untrue Truisms—It Is Now Easier for Them to “Score.”
But that thinking has changed over time. This difference in particular shows the effectiveness of the brainwashing resulting from the repetition of Republican lies over time…the enshrinement of “obvious truths.”
I noticed that over time…and this is a development folks younger than me don’t know about…that the terms formerly used in the game were no longer used. No longer were phrases like “society-at-large,” the common good, government of and by the people, the welfare of the majority, government “caring” for people, anyone’s suffering being eased, and such even brought in.
“It’ll Benefit Society-at-Large? What Are You, a Wuss?”
Words like suffering, compassion, ease, good, benefit, the people, were not uttered anymore. In fact they were felt to be counterproductive. They were considered deal breakers if let into the conversation on matters that were deemed, well…”real.”
1. For a humorous aside on this attitude of the truth not mattering when it comes to the game, check out this “Auto Salesman Tells All on Sillymickel” below.
Auto Salesman has the clips from “Anatomy” titled “Auto Salesman Does Perry Como does The Doors” (http://bit.ly/ComoDoors) and “The Snorter, Mr. Boehner, and the Auto Salesman” (http://bit.ly/snorter).
There is a spinoff, as well, at http://bit.ly/ComoDoors2, titled “AutoSalesman Does Como Doing Doors, Update – Aftermath, post-Gig.”
This one, just below, is not clipped from the long monologue and is another spinoff from “Anatomy of Class Consciousness.” In this one, Auto Salesman tears into SillyMickel, talking kind of like his alter-ego:
“Auto Salesman Speaks His Mind on SillyMickel” – comedy monologue, video by SillyMickel Adzema
Category: comedy, environment, politics, psychology, Tea Party, satire
What follows is the full text of the video.
About SillyMickel (me), Auto Salesman (my “evil twin”) says:
“Ok. Enough about that. I’m gonna get back to being this erudite mother-fucker, wherever he is. I guess I got to bring him out.
“I try to keep him in that jar, but he keeps going on about
‘It’s just a laundry room.’
“Aaah, shut up.
“I try to keep him in there. I cover it with grass. Which I give him breathing holes; I don’t know what he’s complaining….
‘Why, George W. Bush, he’s behind the Trade Center bombing and it was like a government job, and it was all for the purpose of doing this and that, and that it killed thousands of people….
‘And not only that, but the scientists are saying that we’ve only got 20 to 50 years to save the planet, and that we’re all gonna die.’
“And I say, “You call them reasons? ….
“You call THEM reasons?” I mean…..
“I’ll be dead by then, probably…so what the hell do I care? I don’t think anybody should be caring if it’s not going to affect them!
“Now, as far as, you know, the children and the grandchildren … are gonna die in a fiery inferno and whatever in the next 20, 30 years and all the planet’s gonna be wiped out, now, I think: THEY should be worried! It’s THEIR problem, right? Ain’t my problem…why should I care? See?
“So, I said to that erudite little fuck, you know, ‘You stay in your fuckin’ jar…well, stop BOTHERIN’ me with this stuff about how we’re all gonna die and everything like that because, you know, it’s like, NOBODY cares…If it’s not them, you know, they don’t even care about their children so…what does it MAT-ter!?….”
“Besides, everybody’s so fucking stupid, they think God’s gonna come down and save them anyway, because, you know, they all think they’re so special and everything. And so do I, you know. But not him, he says… He’s kinda wierd because he kinda thinks… that…you know… He’s moved by God, but he doesn’t expect God to come down and save him! I don’t understand it.
“He expects…. He wants God to save everybody. And he wants to help. Well, we don’t think like that around here! Do we?
“Naaa. That’s just…we ain’t…that’s just a little bit too goddamn complex for our thinking processes. I mean, it’s like, ‘Am I gonna die?’… you know… ‘Am I gonna be able to eat?’
“And if it’s anything beyond that, what does it matter?
“I think I understand. Yeah. I understand… I don’t know why that erudite puke doesn’t understand it. You know? Maybe I’ll go and tell. Maybe I will, behind his back, you know. This recording here…maybe I’ll send it to them. Just so that they know…that I understand.
“That he’s got a part of himself that’s sane, you know. Keeps him on track, you know? He’s got a part…
“But then maybe they’d like to hear some of my other stuff, too, you know? Like ‘Perry Como Does The Doors’ and my class consciousness stuff, you know…Mr. Boehner and all that. Maybe they would like that because maybe they would understand that I’m like them, you know? It’s just that, you know, that erudite guy, you know…is the one that they don’t like. Think I should? Yea, I know that.
“Because, you know? They should at least know that there’s part of him that’s like that….
“Oh, he’s…. He wants to come out now. He wants to come out.
“What, you don’t like me? Ain’t I better lookin? Ain’t I better lookin than him?
“Well, you’re an insultin’ little prick, aren’t you? Well, you’re snortin’ and you’re insultin’…snortin’…insultin’
“Man! Ok, alright, alright, alright!
“What’s your name? Katie? Anyway?
“It would be Katie, I figured it. Boy, man, that Katie, she’s a bad aaaassss! I seen her on TV, she’s a BAD ASS!
“Anyway. I see, underneath all that sweetness….
“Ok! Alright, I’ll go, I’ll go!
“Ya don’t have to PUSH!
The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,”Part Two
– an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema
Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Two,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.
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