Summary: We’re in the endgame — the pursuit phase of battle — where the 1% employ the power gathered through years of careful planning and work. Hence the number of important conflicts splashing over the front pages. Much depends on their outcomes. I’ve predicted wins for the 1%, as their well-organized and funded political machine defeats our apathy. Here’s the action on 3 of these clashes as of today.
- The Trans Pacific Partnership.
- Our out-of-control police.
- Government surveillance of Americans.
- For More Information.
(1) The Trans Pacific Partnership
Under the cloak of “free trade”, a large secret plan to screw us. Three weeks ago I forecast that it would pass. Today’s vote suggests that I might be wrong, as a bipartisan alliance in the House voted against Obama on a key step in the legislative dance. The vote among Democrats was 40-144 against, among Republicans 86-158 against.
House Democrats delivered a stinging defeat to President Obama’s trade agenda when a vast majority voted to derail legislation designed to help him advance a sweeping deal with 11 Pacific-rim nations.
The House voted 302 to 126 to sink a measure to grant financial aid to displaced workers, fracturing hopes at the White House that the package would smooth the path for Congress to approve a separate bill to grant Obama fast-track authority to complete an accord with 11 other Pacific Rim nations.
… “I don’t think you ever nail anything down around here,” Obama told reporters on his way out of the Capitol. “It’s always moving.”
A second roll call followed on the trade negotiating powers themselves, and the House approved that measure, 219-211. But under the rules in effect, the overall legislation, previously approved by the Senate, could not advance to the White House unless both halves were agreed to. That made the day’s events something less than a permanent rejection of the legislation. Pelosi said the bill was “stuck in the station,” suggesting that changes could get it moving again.
(2) Regulating our out-of-control police
Striking a too-rare optimistic note, I forecast that we would see substantial reforms providing more regulation of police. I stick with that call, but we have to respect the power of the police push-back. Supporters of the police have tortured the data until it confesses. Expect more of this.
- “Crime spike could throw police reform efforts into doubt“, Christian Science Monitor — “The US has embraced more-liberal ideas of policing in the wake of a number of fatal confrontations between police and black men. But a spike in crime is testing that shift.”
- “Have Wary Police Brought an End to the Drop in Crime?“, op-ed in the New York Times. Very short-term graphs, ignoring seasonal trends and changes in the laws.
These tactics have worked in the past, and might work today if not the for the endless series of videos of excessive use of force by police, another example of people’s reluctance to see how technology changes long-standing social dynamics.
(3) Regulating our government’s surveillance of Americans
Exactly 2 years ago I said that we would do nothing in response to revelations about government spying, and that The NSA news might be a birthday for the New America!
The changes come slowly. Not like a frog being boiled, because frogs are smart and jump out of the pot. This is like bondage porn, where a sub slowly surrenders to the domination by the will of another. Surrendering responsibility, the burden of self-government.
We cannot admit the harsh truth, and so take comfort in lies.
We say that we yield to the government to save us from the shadowy threat of jihadists – who one day over a decade ago killed a fraction of those who die each year in traffic accidents, or suicide by guns, or from other causes we cannot bother to address because we spend so much on security (internal and external, formerly known as police and defense). We say that we yield to fear of an organization which probably no longer exists in significant form (bequeathing their name to nationalistic movements who fight us because we go to their lands and fight them).
We say that we yield to the government because they — and our ruling elites — are too strong. We say that we let the democratic machinery of the Republic lie unused because we know that resistance is futile.
In fact we yield because it is easier for us. More comfortable.
After 2 years Michael Brenner (Prof of International Affairs, U Pittsburgh) explains what’s been done: “The NSA’s Second Coming” (spoiler: almost nothing). Also see the links at Wikipedia about the USA Freedom Bill (another in the series of New Speak terms for the growing security state, like Patriot Act, Homeland Defense).
For those who enjoy gallows humor, while Obama signed the “Freedom” Act on June 2 while he asked the secret FISA Court to ignore the Second Circuit Court of Appeals May 7 ruling that the NSA’s bulk data collection of telephone data was illegal — and will allow the NSA to collect the data during the 6-month transition period the new law allows (and after that, we’ll see. It’s vintage Obama, giving with the Left hand what he takes with the Right.
(4) For More Information
- Forecast: Death of the American Constitution.
- Good news about the 21st century, a counterbalance to the doomsters.
- A look at our history – from the 23rd century.
- A third American regime will arise from the ashes of the present one.
- A look back at our time from the 2100 A.D. edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.