Monday, February 28, 2011

Divide and Conquer

Why the middle class can't seem to vote in its own interest any more.

what do these two men have in common? coupla made guys?

"A unionized public employee, a teabagger and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the teabagger and says, "watch out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie."

And there you have it in a nutshell. And so it has ever been, and the only antidote for blindness to this shell game is knowledge: education, knowing how to think, how to separate fact from fiction. Hence the move to defang and get rid of public schools so only the wealthy are exposed to real knowledge, the kind of complex knowledge that belongs to the entitled, knowledge beyond how to type, or debug a computer, or clean someone's teeth.
I have enjoyed two long-term residencies in my life, New Jersey and Maine. Oddly enough, these are the two states whose newly elected governors pose the greatest threat to the very people who "elected" them, Paul Le Page of Maine (I'm serious you HAVE to check this site out) and Chris (Crisco) Christie of Jersey. Of the two I don't know which is more frightening; but they both seem to be what America wants to look at these days, what we relate to. Entire tv programs have debuted about folks who are even fatter than you are. The message: there that should make you feel better. Both of these governors are obese, I mean major fatties, what used to be called gluttons when overeating was a sin.
Americans don't seem to want to see people in office (ergo, on their precious big screens) who set good, thoughtful examples, who take responsibility for their health by informed eating and enough exercise. It's why they're suspicious of Oblimey. Only rich people are skinny, and negroes are not rich. Are they? Well, they shouldn't be. And as ol' Trent Lott once reminded us, if things had gone differently they wouldn't be. But that's another story. Skinny is for the wealthy, like shopping at Whole Foods. We like having fat politicians around to knock heads, that's all. To put uppity folks, including unions, in their place. To slap feisty strikers around... You need heft for that.
Obesity costs the economy millions of dollars a year. But why should these two guys care? They are on the public dole! WE are paying for them to have the best health care our tax money can buy; and the way they flaunt their girth should give us all pause, because it's a great big finger in the eye of those who pay taxes, who try to be healthy so as not to be a burden on their society, but have no health care cause they can't afford it. When Christie collapses, friggin Greg House will be there to save him! And dip into the pockets of Jerseyans to pay the bill! Is America finally so utterly paralyzed by the traumatic spectacle of its own slow suicide by mouth? Do you think maybe America has mistaken these guys ( fat = mobbed up?) for Tony Soprano, thinking these are made guys who will take care of business for us, sort it all out? Screw the laws. Laws are for rich people and mobsters to impose on the other 98%.
And that lucky 2% lets people like Christie and Page get elected, and uses them and their ignorance to knock heads. But you can bet your ass Mr. Koch wouldn't let either one of these guys' sons marry their daughter. No sirree. Not gonna happen. Private club. More the fool Christie and Page.
"There is, in fact, something astonishing about the ascent of Chris Christie, who is about as slick as sandpaper and who now admits that even he didn’t think he would beat Jon Corzine, the Democrat he unseated in 2009. Some critics have posited that Christie’s success in office represents merely the triumph of self-certainty over complexity, the yearning among voters for leaders who talk bluntly and with conviction. Yet it’s hard to see Christie getting so much traction if he were out there castigating, say, immigrants or Wall Street bankers. What makes Christie compelling to so many people isn’t simply plain talk or swagger, but also the fact that he has found the ideal adversary for this moment of economic vertigo. Ronald Reagan had his “welfare queens,” Rudy Giuliani had his criminals and “squeegee men,” and now Chris Christie has his sprawling and powerful public-sector unions — teachers, cops and firefighters who Christie says are driving up local taxes beyond what the citizenry can afford, while also demanding the kind of lifetime security that most private-sector workers have already lost.
It may just be that Christie has stumbled onto the public-policy issue of our time, which is how to bring the exploding costs of the public workforce in line with reality. (According to a report issued last year by the Pew Center on the States, as of 2008 there was a $1 trillion gap, conservatively speaking, between what the states have promised in pensions and benefits for their retirees and what they have on hand to pay for them.) Then again, he may simply be the latest in a long line of politicians to give an uneasy public the scapegoat it demands. Depending on your vantage point, Chris Christie is a truth-teller or a demagogue, or maybe even a little of both."
Scary. Le Page lacks Christie's smarts, but he can still wield the wild ax of ignorance and ruin lives. People in Maine will starve because of him this year, or die because he cancelled their health care, or freeze. Make no mistake, that is what both of these men are all about.
Mr. Dickens put us hip to how these guys view the rest of us: Why do they not die then and decrease the surplus population?
If there was one thing i noticed missing in Tahrir Square, and in other "squares" across the middle east it was girth among the various demonstrators. The folks in Wisconsin may move a little slower, but they're out there. It remains to be seen whether Ms. Vanden Heuvel is right, that this is a major turning point for America; that americans will now take to the streets, because first they have to turn off the big screen; and then try and haul their ponderosas off the sofa.

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