Monday, August 30, 2010

Unaware who their gods really are

From a James Kunstler post today:

[  ] The masses still truly believe that prayer will save them from bankruptcy, foreclosure, penury, the loss of status, and the cut-off of precious air-conditioning, so Glenn steps onto a national monument like an Aztec priest ascending the Pyramid of Huitzilopochtli [I added the link] to soothe the angry god with worshipful incantations, and incidentally maybe a few dozen sacrificial hearts cut out -- just as the tea-bagger right-wing glorifies the sacrifices of US soldiers blown up by roadside bombs for the sake of American military adventuring in lost causes like the war to turn Afghanistan into a functioning western-style democracy.

Glenn Beck's sidekick nowadays, Sarah Palin, is exactly the kind of corn pone Hitler that America deserves: a badly-educated, child-like, war-mongering opportunist easily manipulated by backstage extremist billionaires who think they don't have enough money yet. Sarah Palin is going to run for president in 2012. In the process she'll turn the sad remnants of the Republican party into a suicide cult, but she might just get elected and you can kiss the 230-year-long experiment in representative government goodbye for good.

“Backstage extremist billionaires who think they don’t have enough money yet.” Gosh, I wonder who Kunstler could be referring to? Could it possibly be, inter alia, these three?

There’s just one element missing from these snapshots [the lower Manhattan mosque protests and Glenn Beck at the Lincoln Memorial] of America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the sugar daddies who are bankrolling it, and have been doing so since well before the “death panel” warm-up acts of last summer. Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans. But even those carrying the Kochs’ banner may not know who these brothers are.

Your average Tea Partier almost certainly does not know who’s behind the “movement.” It’s a movement of the easily led, duped into thinking this was all their idea. You have to wonder if it even occurred to the average attendee at the Beck rally to ask who paid for their bus ride.

That quote above was from Frank Rich, writing in the Sunday NYT. He was, in turn, referring to an extensive profile in The New Yorker magazine by Jane Mayer.

Kunstler wraps up with this question:

The bigger mystery in all this -- if I may perhaps engage in some nostalgia of my own -- is: what happened to reasonable, rational, educated people of purpose in this country to drive them into such burrow of cowardice that they can't speak the truth, or act decisively, or even defend themselves against such a host of vicious morons in a time of troubles?

What indeed? Regrettably, Paul Krugman may have the answer:

It will be an ugly scene [after the November elections, should the Democrats lose a house of Congress], and it will be dangerous, too. The 1990s were a time of peace and prosperity; this is a time of neither. In particular, we’re still suffering the after-effects of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, and we can’t afford to have a federal government paralyzed by an opposition with no interest in helping the president govern. But that’s what we’re likely to get.

If I were President Obama, I’d be doing all I could to head off this prospect, offering some major new initiatives on the economic front in particular, if only to shake up the political dynamic. But my guess is that the president will continue to play it safe, all the way into catastrophe.

An altogether likely prospect.

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