31 October 2012



The Great Betrayal -- and the Cynicism of Calling It a Grand Bargain

Posted: 10/30/2012 12:02 pm

Robert Kuttner has written much of the column I intended to write on this subject, so I will point you to his excellent column and add a few thoughts.
Kuttner wrote to warn that Obama intends to seek a "grand bargain" causing the U.S. to adopt the type of austerity program that threw the Eurozone back into a gratuitous recession.
Worse, Obama intends to begin to unravel the safety net (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) to convince the Republicans to enter into this Faustian bargain. Just as only a conservative Republican could visit "Red" China, only a Democrat can begin the destruction of the safety net. The difference, of course, is that normalizing relations with China was a good thing while unraveling the safety net is a terrible thing.
Wall Street's greatest desire is privatizing Social Security. Wall Street stands to make scores of billions of dollars annually in additional fees should it ever buy enough politicians to privatize Social Security. The Republican Party's greatest goal is unraveling the safety net. They always wish to attack the most successful and popular programs introduced by the Democratic Party. Their problem is that they know it is toxic for Republican candidates to try to destroy the safety net. Only Democrats, through a "Great Betrayal" can give Republicans the political cover they need to unravel the safety net.
The safety net is so popular with the American people because it consists of superb programs that constantly put the lie to Republican memes that the government is incapable of success. There is no need to allow Social Security to "go bankrupt." The necessary expenditures can easily be made by the Treasury.
There is a need to contain the rise in medical costs, but we know how to do that without harming health outcomes. Most advanced nations attain the same health outcomes at half the expense (relative to GDP) of the U.S. Obama's opposition to the "public mandate" was a grave mistake that needs to be reversed.
Because unraveling the safety net is unnecessary, harmful, and politically insane for a Democrat and politically suicidal for Republicans, the proponents of these terrible policies have long failed in their efforts. Republicans, however, have now found a fifth column within the Democratic Party who they hope will open the door to attacking the safety net. This would provide the political cover that Republicans could use to unravel fully the safety net.
The Republican Party's approach to convincing Obama to commit the Great Betrayal cleverly exploits three human weaknesses. First, Obama wants to be considered a "centrist." Second, Obama yearns to be considered "bipartisan." These first two weaknesses are forms of vanity.
The siren song is "do this and you will become known as the President who acted as a statesman to cut across Party and ideological divides and make the hard choices essential to allowing America to continue to be a great nation -- while 'saving' the safety net."
The third weakness that the Republicans seek to exploit is fear -- and the death of alternatives. The mantra of European austerity proponents is "there is no alternative." The only choice is between austerity and collapse, and that means there is no real choice. The Republican strategy is to create a series of "moral panics." As the name implies, this involves the creation of a special form of panic falsely premised on immorality. (Think: "Reefer Madness" or Professor Hill causing River City, Iowans to believe that the arrival of pool hall demonstrated the imminent moral collapse of their children.) The Great Betrayal can only occur if Obama succumbs to mindless (and innumerate) panic.
The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party has to lead the effort to save America from the Great Betrayal. It is essential to focus on the self-destructive nature of austerity. The irony is that a proponent of austerity has just handed us a coup. Becky Quick, co-host of one of CNBC's business entertainment program, recently wrote a column intended to discredit Paul Krugman. Quick solicited a written statement from former President Bill Clinton to use in her attack on Krugman (who had criticized Quick and her co-host's stream of "zombie facts" when he appeared on their program). Quick reveled in her success in obtaining ammunition from Clinton to attack Krugman, asserting that it constituted a "damning retort to Krugman" and proved the need to adopt austerity. In fact, Clinton's statement stated his agreement with Krugman:
[I]t's important not to impose austerity now before a growth trend is clearly established, because as the austerity policies in the eurozone and the U.S. show, that will slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits....
Clinton is a leader within the Rubin-wing of the Democratic Party that has been seeking to create the moral panic, but even he admits that "austerity now" "will slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits." The Great Betrayal of the safety net will begin if Obama is able to deliver the "grand bargain" imposing austerity that would "slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits" and unravel the safety nets - the four horsemen of the economic apocalypse.
Obama is telling the media that the Great Betrayal is his first, and overarching, priority should he be re-elected. We are forewarned and we must act now to make clear that we will block the Great Betrayal and crush at the polls any member of Congress who supports it.
Do not concede the phrase "grand bargain" to the proponents of the betrayal. We should heed Camus' warning that it is essential to call a plague by its real name if one is to resist it -- and it is essential to resist the pestilence. "[W]hen you see the suffering and pain that it brings, you have to be mad, blind or a coward to resign yourself to the plague." We must refuse to resign ourselves to being betrayed by Democratic leaders. Our actions must make it clear that we are not mad, blind, or cowards. We refuse to fall for their faux moral panics. It is our leaders who  all too often are mad, blind, and cowards.






  1. I don't know how it is in USA, but i think it is same everywhere: politics are only clowns, puppets. Behind them stand Senate and Corporations.
    People think they are choosing, but it is great deception, people are made to think they have a choice.

  2. Voting for Romney would be a big mistake. I know there is frustration with the 2 party system but we are still suffering from the last republican administration and Romney is worse than W.
    Please don't outsmart yourself.

  3. This is your blog, Ed, but I do not agree with how heavily you push your political opinions.

    A few weeks ago, you were encouraging everyone to 'absolutely' vote for Obama. Last week, you were saying they were basically the same--which is true to a considerable extent but seriously off in others--and now you suggest we all vote for Romney because you read Bob Kuttner's article on the Huffington Post!

    Kuttner IS brilliant. Personally, I just don't agree that electing Romney would be any kind of solution to preventing the 'Great Betrayal.' With Romney, we would have another insidious lying puppet in the WH, like Bush, with Cheney and his cohorts running the show [only now more brazenly entrenched in the elitist far-right, agenda.] Your perspective is so one-sided right now that I find it almost frightening.

    You are losing me with all this flip-flopping.

    The fact is, you/we have no idea what is ACTUALLY going to happen! And that is the truth. Do we, in fact, have a better chance at mitigating totalitarian rule by electing Romney? I just don't see it. With him, we know we will likely see the end of women's reproductive rights, rape victims having to bear the children of their rapists, gay people losing rights we have fought hard for, and history books re-written that debunk or eliminate everything the far-right Christian fundamentalists want to erase from our collective memory. Not to mention a growing free-ride for the wealthy in tax breaks, zero estate tax, etc.

    You might want to read a few other alternative sources before endorsing the entirety of Kuttner's ideology as if it comes from "God's own mouth." I am certainly not suggesting that Obama is any kind of champion for the middle-class or seniors, but Romney is NOT the better choice, and for many other reasons than I've stated above.

    I agree with you on the growing tide of fascism in this country, but we also need to consider specifically where it is coming from. That alone sets the presidential race in sharper perspective, with Romney's 'facist' Mormon bigotry. I suggest you read the following article, and I urge the blog readers to draw their own 'gut' conclusions as to which candidate is the worst of two evils, and not simply follow your lead.


    And for an interesting Romney endorsement, you might enjoy this:


    For what it's worth, the blog is veering far off its title...yet again.

    1. Agree with everything you said, Victoria.

    2. About gay people. We had some fun going on here in north-eastern Europe. An equality-gender institute was closed throughout countries (which was established in 1970) after disclosing this big-brain-washing machine :) (i am quite happy about it, it is not lost yet for humans... we are waking..)

      You can watch a cycle of series which were released by Norwegian TV that created this big explosion here (it has 7 parts):


    3. But why shouldn't Ed be allowed to change his view or endorsements? We all do this with so many issues big & small anyway BUT the difference is that with Romney, the chameleon, it's a shamelessly opportunistic ploy done primarily with the motive to ingratiate himself with whatever audience he's addressing(I wouldn't be so naive as to say that no other politician does this; Romney is just more "accomplished" at it).

  4. That is just absurd, Edji. Don't blow with the wind. You know damn well Obama is the better man. Or at least the lesser evil.


  5. It never ceases to amaze me what a broad spectrum of topics this blog covers. From sublime spiritual states, to make-it-real-in-the-world animal activism, and now conspiracy theories coupled with fear-mongering. Straight up, there's just no one like you Ed, but there's some rooms in the 100-room mansion I just don't care to explore with you. This being one of them.

  6. Yes, Obama is the lesser, but still an evil. A velvet glove over a fascist iron fist.

    No, it was not Kutter's article, or Black's. I have been thinking this for three years. Both parties are so corrupted by wealth, that all legislation seems aimed to sell us down the river either more quickly or slowly.

    This will not change until we have slipped all the way into a stable fascism, or conditions get so bad the people will turn away from corporate-supported solutions, such as Obamacare. We need radical change, not gradualist capitulation to the downwards slide.

    A Romney election could be that disaster we need.

    A commentor on FB commented that Romney is insane and a liar, and will be tantamount to a third Bush term. Two terms of Bush and the Republicans were not enough to teach us we need liberal solutions, an FDR who would really be for change, not the "change you can believe in" promised by Obama, but what we got is change as usual, an imitation of change.

    A guru wants radical change, not a little bit better world or personal life, and if we need to live through shit until everyone sees we are living in shit, and life is so objectionable that we are forced to "take up arms against a sea of misery, and thereby quell the storm," so be it.

  7. Besides, it does not matter. Obama will win with a healthy margin. With Christie's tacit endorsement, Bloomberg's actual endorsement, and climate change as the new hot issue, Obama will easily win. Two weeks ago it was not that sure, so I supported Obama. Write in Victoria's name for president as a protest vote.

    1. Our human activity seems to be (for many species besides ours) suicide by climate corruption. The earth organism IS responding. Vedic notion of Yugas - with Kali Yuga said to be playing out currently - appears not merely plausible but actual. From micro to macro, hard and soft science studies are supporting the contention that life forms, thoughts, feelings, emotions are mutating. We're in a period of stunning species extinction, unprecedented in many respects. Perhaps indeed - as posited by Rishis, evident in cyclic nature of nature - natural that there be this period of corruption and decay. What I find particularly tragic is that though ways and means exist presently for us to avert catastrophe, greed and 'control' phenomena of a few continue to appear to subvert and occlude this potential.

    2. Let's get back to spirituality - of which you have direct knowledge. That's why I'm here. Just keep pointing toward Truth, Love, and Reality. Your personal political views are irrelevant.


    3. I suggest that we write in the names of all females and gays that make up at least half of our population. This election is not just about economics people. If you are a straight male, women and gays may not necessarily be on your radar.

      I refuse to vote for the hand that slaps me, as a woman in the face. And the fact that my insignificant 'other' wholeheartedly supports Romney is further confirmation of his opinion of me as a woman. FUCK'EM BOTH!

      Lila Sterling

    4. I wish you had said this sooner. Now it is too damn late to print up bumper stickers.

    5. More political posts to Serena personally please!!! :D

  8. this blog is very interesting because it is constantly moving ! With Edj it is impossible to be quiet a long time , he put us always on the uncomfortable side and we feel in us all the fear awaking .
    It seems we have the choice between two ways : to be take away by the maleficent current which will destroye us, but more slowly ,or to oppose to him and we also be destroyed but these two choices make us very different in our mind .
    Robert Adams was no concerned by this world and was describing it as a terrible hell , saying to stay quiet in the self and have compassion for others people around .
    So, is it possible to change that hell or not ?
    much love

  9. mtflis writte:
    Perhaps indeed - as posited by Rishis, evident in cyclic nature of nature - natural that there be this period of corruption and decay.
    Perhaps a necessary churn of what we are actually to become really a spiritual humanity . In drama we are showing excess of what we are within, sometimes the best and sometimes the worst !
    But perhaps this place on earth is only a laboratory for that to make us in more spiritual energy out of that heavy thing we are !

  10. the zen breath of Edj is becoming as strongly enormous as one from a whale ! or like the roaring of the lion !
    impossible to be or stay deaf and blind and dumb after .

  11. Serena says :
    Just keep pointing toward Truth, Love, and Reality. Your personal political views are irrelevant.

    i don't understand why you are writting that ! Politic is the core of our life conditions and it appears as important as spiritual aspect because they are mixed and it seems quite evident that Edjs ,with his particular sensitiveness, share with us what he is feeling because he is very much reactive !
    I find he is completely in phase with all what is total life , all the different views and how they are mixed ; there is no compartiment in life, we have to take all the packet, no choice !
    And about the spiritual advices, the two blogs he created are full of that ,we have just to read and practice with much determination and patience, alone with our mind and our life conditions, if we are interested by that . He cannot do work at our place , he has yet do it ! He give us so much love , what do you want more ?
    So , please , let him be free and authentic as he is , people like him are so rare ! we are all completely tied with our fears, our opinions of what is right, what is wrong , our cowardise , our confortable views !
    it seems like if he says what he is feeling bad things will happen because of him !
    much love for you and for Edj , the most courageous of us !

  12. Thank you for your reply, Sylviane. I'll try to consider carefully what you said and to reconsider what I said. Edji IS free and authentic. Certainly no one "lets" him be so. You are closer to him and have a more personal relationship with him than I do. But I sense his love and his spiritual depth and his honesty and integrity and openness, and I appreciate beyond words the gift of what he has shared with us. He has helped me enormously even without talking directly to me. As for the political stuff, I agree generally with Edji's views; but somehow I see this worldly chaos as from a great distance, sort of like a tribal rite being dispassionately observed by an anthropologist. It seems not "real" - simply maya. Not worth disturbing our inner peace. Perhaps Edji will help us sort this out.

    I don't understand your saying, "it seems like if he says what he is feeling bad things will happen because of him".

    Much love to you, too.

  13. Hello Serena !
    i am very pleased to speak with you like that !
    No, i am not closer to Edj than you ,i live in France and was finding him on this blog for a few month only .And i am exactly as you ,sensing his beautiful love energy and seeing how a beautiful person he is !
    many things are moving in me since i know him , meditation is much more easy with his energy going across obstructions in the head and in the heart and the satsangs are very good for that !
    I feel more aware and more sensitive with him and it changes how i am in the life .
    Before i was going in ashrams and meditating and i was feeling no concerned by the world , just by people next to me i was living with.
    Now i am feeling much more how we are all in the same sensitive world , not separated .
    I give you an example : the last week i was going to the center of town and, along a street, there were about twelve persons with different ages,ranged and asking money for help . Usually there was nobody on that place ! it made me a great shock and suffering in the heart . i know some tramps with i am speaking, always the same but at that time i could see really how life is becoming very hard for many people actually in my town . And there are many example like that for every one of us and there will be more and more with that period of crisis !
    it seems like when we are on spiritual way conciousness is always asking us : "and now, what do you do in that situation to make the things better?"
    Politic thing is here , under our eyes and make to feel us every time what we are doing with that .
    Sorry i am not clever with english but i hope you'll understand what i am writting !
    With EDj i am really feeling that the most important in spiritual way is maybe to have a heart more and more open and feel what we can do to make more love and more smoothness in the conciousness .
    It is what i am feeling but perhaps i am wrong and spiritual way is not like that !
    much love for you Serena !

  14. lol, this parody....


  15. http://riggedreality.com/scariestmovieevermade/scary_home.html