21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories
Dreamscapes Two
More Original Fiction



The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check

Averting the Crisis that Wasn't
James Campion
Suckered By Messy Democracy Masquerading As Melodrama

Ho-ho, fans of democracy; we have ourselves a deal. No crisis, as if there ever was one, and no belly up for the debt-addled United States of America. Armageddon avoided.  Spin doctoring for all.

Nothing shocking. It is how the sausage is made around here, and if you choose to merely eat the fatty innards of the gutted swine without witnessing the slaughter and rendering, then you were not spared. Everyone needed to be on board this time, bubba, like after 9/11 when every Joe Six-Pack and Soccer Mom was yanked into the racial, cultural, religious quagmire that is the rest of our sick and twisted planet. Sleepy time was over, such as it is now, many weeks and months in: Welcome tweets, blogs, and cable news geeks to the world of legislating.
    Ugly, huh?
    Ugly, but hardly new; where in fact the system worked like a charm, albeit rather publicly, which was apparently the choice of all involved this time. This caused the word on the street to conclude this the most divided government in U.S. history, the worst legislative gridlock. Bullshit squared. Not once during this Capital Hill pissing match did we come close to the tried and true level of fisticuff, knife-wielding, gun-toting wrangles that mar our congress' past. From the very start, this was a graveyard whistle, nothing more.
    And now it is done.
    This idea that the country was held up as an embarrassment by airing its dirty political laundry is absurd. Grow up or get a helmet, bub. This is how it works in a democratic republic. Just like in 2000, not our greatest hour but nonetheless displayed that this is a nation, after all the bitch and moan, of laws. And where other countries descend into a pit of riots and coups, we figure it out. Whether anyone is happy with the process matters little. It is a process, and it has an outcome, as predicted here weeks ago.
    Also, a deadline is just that, a deadline. Anyone who has done what I do weekly knows what that means. In fact, sometimes it means extending it, like this one, wherein my trusty managing editor, J.J. Koczan held the presses so this space could squeeze its gibberish into an eventful Sunday night of last hurrahs. So when there is eight days left and CNN has a counter in the bottom right of its screen and pundits from talk show rodeo clowns to high-paid "insiders" to the blogosphere shut-ins decide it's time to get things done, they forget that August 2 is not July 15 or anywhere in between, and if you have to make a stand, you has every right and every reason to continue to make it until the clock strikes midnight or perhaps past that.
    Negotiation. Debate. Grandstanding. Rhetoric. Posturing.
    Democracy in action: Fierce. Mean. Petty. Beautiful.
Clamor of a "crisis" was mostly fabricated by a media hype machine worthy of its moniker, but also curiously over-stated by the president, who suffered by far his worst month in office, bellowing from his bully pulpit about end times on fourteen different occasions, pointing fingers and castigating the opposition party without a single new proposal beyond the already pulverized "tax the corporate jet owner" rants that died on arrival nine months ago. It was as if he were hermetically sealed and rolled out for a rehash of The Great Society every so often, unaware of the conflict at hand.
    Barack Obama's repeated calls for sanity, while turning up the heat on the international markets, Wall St. and the elderly from Montauk to Big Sur about Social Security checks bouncing made no sense. It was amateur hour and he knows it. Or maybe he doesn't, but he should at the very least know this: Regardless of how bad congress fucks up, the president of the United States eats it. Ask Herbert Hoover. Ask George H. W. Bush. Ask any other poor sucker who happened to be in charge of the executive branch when things went sideways.
    It is also important to remember that a Democratic-controlled legislative branch had the reigns and thus an ample opportunity to raise the debt ceiling long before the Republican avalanche last autumn. But according to Senator majority leader, Harry Reid, he chose instead to pass it on for two reasons, help stave off complete annihilation on Election Day (meaning keeping his own seat) and dump the vote on a new rancorous Republican class and let the deed fall to them. Reid, like Obama, gambled on the tough talking TEA Party newcomers' resolve.
    Big mistake.
    The freshman Republicans sent poor embattled John Boehner to carry the bad news time and again to the White House and later the Senate with ridiculously worded bills slashing Medicare and capping spending and something akin to a Balanced Budget Amendment that even Ronald Reagan and New Gingrich had both previously thought mad. The Right had gone Right, big time -- maybe for the first time since the 1929 crash. And there appeared to anyone paying attention that the crazies meant business. And good for them... for awhile.
    Almost to a man, the TEA Party caucus ignored the prevailing Cassandra language and forged ahead with no compunction about sinking the richest nation in the world with mounds of debt from two unpaid wars, several unfunded tax cuts, a bloated prescription benefit law so patently insane even the last president who signed it nearly busted brain vessels upon its fallout, not to mention TARP and Stimulus, bank bail outs and propping up the pathetic U.S. auto industry.
    Boehner, a Washington lifer who voted over and over for years to add to the very deficit he yammers about chopping down, could not control these people, and it turns out neither could Eric Cantor, his second in command, who up until a week or so ago, stood tall with the TEA Party caucus before even he could not see the upside and began to desperately back Boehner. But still, to their credit, the freshman congressman held firm...for awhile.
    In the final hours Sunday evening, I found myself rooting for the whole shithouse to go up in flames, a fine quote from Jim Morrison, who once mused he loved any activity that appeared to have no meaning, which is what is left us after this "deal".
    Letting the system fail may have been the only way for things to truly change, for good or ill. The 87 members of what was once the boldly zany TEA Party had the moment before them. The moment has passed.
© James Campion August 2011

Readers Feedback August 5th 2011

Over the past month this space has "covered" the debt ceiling debate with its usual detached fatalism and sarcastic apathy. The three pieces; DEBT CEILING STARE DOWN -- Issue 7/13, BRING IT ON -- Issue 7/20, and last week's AVERTING THE CRISIS THAT WASN'T -- Issue 8/3 provided much fodder for response, so here are the highlights.

It is hard to fathom that eighty some-odd freshman congress people and a few loons could push this nation for the first time in its history to renege on its debt. Do these jokers realize that these are things already paid for, and in many cases things they support (defense, ethanol subsidies, border patrol, wars all over the place, a pile of pseudo-religious nonsense)? We're supposed to ignore those (Chinese?) who made it possible?
    Idiots all!

Denise Taggart

Your irresponsible support of this TEA Party rabble is predictable, but hardly in line with your usual; "Hey, once you govern, you have to stop campaigning" rant. Although I agree that campaign promises are usually not worth the goofballs that utter them, I hardly think the populace nonsense currently being spewed by those incoming congressman is something to back. They are playing with our nation's integrity here, and to use this "crisis" or looming deadline to default as a hammer to make a point is the kind of thing that exposes pure capitalists for what they are; tools of the rich.


Hmmmm....interesting theory. Let the country sink into chaos for no other reason than to keep campaign promises, prove you wrong about them caving into some weak-ass compromise, or just for the hell of it.
   Keep up the radical thinking, Campion. Your kind will doom us yet.

Sacca The Vangize

I too say go for it. The status quo hasn't worked, Obama is fresh out of ideas and the Chinese are already making flight reservations to "the new world".
    Deadbeat status maybe, but for sure let this scenario play out and we will really see what a house of cards this thing was....and to think they put Madoff in jail when Obama and his Congress are doing the same thing on an epic scale.
    I think it is more doom and gloom bullshit from people who want to ride the gravy train until it finally falls off the rails.
    What if this default thing and its death and doom predictions end up holding as much credence as Y2K (I should have won a Pulitzer for my column in the Aquarian on Y2Kooks)? Anyhoo, we should let this thing happen and deal with the fallout instead of pretending we can carry on this charade.

Bill Roberts

I often wonder if people are getting all their news from talk shows. Do you think that is possible? Talk shows, Jon Stewart, this column, and the rest of the freak show out there? Where is the honest, rational debate? Maybe you are right, it never existed. It is a myth, like Big Foot and Ronald Reagan.

Joy 2112

Hey, generations of us voted these dogs in who then shit all over the floor, and we can argue the minutia until we're blue in the face - was the route we took to the pound where we found these mangy creatures the best one, did we feed the cretins correctly, give them enough love or discipline - but we're still left with the fact that we chose them and they're shitting all over the floor.

Ken Eustace

Great "Debt Crisis" analogy JC, but let's face it...every Congressional member up for re-election in 2012 is lookin' down the road under the influence of the ELECTIONS FIXERS USA: K Street Lobbyist visa The U.S. Supreme Court rulings from the "To Big to Fail - To Big to Nail" Predatory Wall Street Corporate Fascist  Profiteers for the Black-Gold Gate Keepers, aka, Texas Black Tea, from the shores of the polluted Potomac!  Nation Building: "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy"?  "YES WE KHAN"!


Here's the thing; it DOES matter that we cannot cut deficits without raising taxes and we cannot get there without slashing entitlements and these fuck-awful non-stop wars!!!!! It DOES matter that the American electorate only months after electing radical anti-establishment crazies answer poll after poll that they want compromise, overwhelmingly! I mean, 70% or more all of a sudden after sweeping in these TEA Partiers now want everyone to give up their whole gumma-gumma and play nice. It DOES matter that our president doesn't ever seem to want to get involved in legislative process when he himself was a legislator! It is the one thing we thought he might not fuck up and here goes another half-assed job. And finally, it DOES matter when we get whatever we get that it is not the same old-same old, even though it will be.
    I ask you then, smart aleck: When will it end? When will we learn? When will we move into the 21st century?
    Is it truly NEVER?

Monclair Richman III

Negotiation 101: You have three budget issues on the table -- increase revenues, cut general spending, rework entitlements. If you take one off the table, like not raising revenues or taxes, then the other two have to take the brunt. Three minus one equals two. And instead of three having to sacrifice 33 and one-third percent, then you have two having to pony up 50 percent. Like three people in a boat and enough food for three, if everyone eats a little less, there is food for all, but then two decide, nah, you don't eat, we'll have more.
    Maybe if the president or the speaker of the house could explain the results of that matrix, I would be satisfied.

S. Gomes

If they did not come to some kind of agreement, the levees would break, the earth would quake, tremble and crumble, the sun would not continue to shine and life as we know it would cease to exist. The only thing left would be cockroaches and politicians. Like sting said, politicians all seem like game show hosts to me. It's all bells, whistles, smoke and mirrors. I can't even pay attention to it anymore.

Peter Puglisi

Your analysis of this fiasco has been completely reasoned and right on the money. It is astonishing how you use recent and ancient history to nail these comings and goings of people who claim they are "revolutionizing" our government or "changing" the direction of Washington once and for all and then do the same damn thing everyone else before them did. Talk about history repeating itself and yet entire networks are up in arms in in mid-panic. But not Reality Check. No, sir. Hitting them where they breathe, as usual.      Hey, they do nothing and will do nothing and continue to do nothing, and you call them on it.
    We need you on that wall, Mr. Campion!
    Fight the powers that be!

Janet S. Feraldi

Bring It On
James Campion
Republican Principle or Economic Catastrophe?

Let's get this straight; the debt ceiling will be increased by August 2, 2011. The United States of America will not go into default. It will not lose its platinum credit rating. There will be no implosion of our federal government's ability to wage war, tax or provide a bevy of entitlements.

Share |
More comment


© Hackwriters 1999-2011 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility - no liability accepted by or affiliates.