Shapes Of Things

Watching BP’s Hayward’s defiantly vacant turn before the Duma, interrupted by his vassal Barton’s apology to his liege for the uncouth locals, we thought not so much about BP but rather the diminished stature of Congress and the nation. That we live under a plutocratic oligarchy? A matter of facts: socio-economic and demographics. The plebes are left with the vapid distractions of consumerism, ‘celebrity’-golems, and the charades of elections, ‘unprecedented reforms’, etc.

Once in a while, a member of the plutocracy has the bad form to pull the curtain back on socio-economic realities and its covering political mascara. Such blunderer must be brought into the coliseum and throw the bread up into the crowd. There are almost never any real consequences – the most painful element is enduring the jeers of people who earn less than their personal driver.

Has the oligarchy paid any meaningful consequences for their staggering malfeasance, misjudgments and outright misrepresentations? Any bank CEO? Big Pharma? Hell, the White House gave Billy Tauzin a Lewinsky. Toyota? Even a ferriner spent only a few scant moments in the 15 minute news cycle penalty box.

True, Hayward’s optics are worse: dying animals and continued spewage. His ineptitude also dragged mandarins from the other Families oil companies before Congress. While they shared penalty box time with BP they obeyed the social contract and solidarity with class strata. Their displeasure at BP subtle and akin to neighbor on the Hamptons caught with inappropriate entertainment drawing the PoPo to look at the whole block.

But what of BP’s commitment of $20 billion? Non-trivial but still a gesture. It’s a large tip for the doorman for hitting his leg with a briefcase. Didn’t Barton retract his fealty?

Architecturally, under these circumstances, no Potemkin government can take decisive action that will change the actual tectonics. Its masters will not allow it. Of course, this particular Administration finds contentment in obedience to form. It doesn’t even try to step beyond the veil of pretense into the real. Like Congress, they get their role; government minions are permitted to strut and bark (within limits).

The lesson for the rest of the oligarchs? Keep it meaningless and intangible. Avoid siphoning wealth and vitality from the American demotic goo with something tangible like oil, cars. More with Hollywood futures trading. Warren Buffett is texting that as we speak doubtlessly. How our oligarchs must be laughing. They think “What if CDOs were as black and obvious?”


  1. RedPhillip says


    […] you obviously don’t want to change things mid way […]

    C, I remember a ‘campaign’ slogan quite well. Went something like this: Don’t change dicks in the middle of screw, vote for Nixon in ’72!

  2. Comment says

    Typos galore – meant to says Kiitfield saud those things and regarded his upside down view as common sense.

  3. Comment says

    Classic DC pathology on display with James Kitfield of Nat Journal on c-span – Kitfied days Obama might be wise to keep McChrystal because things are not going well in Afganistan so you obviously don’t want to change things mid way – Also – he noted things are going poorly, so a new General would have to get up to speed on the plan.
    What made this a classic isiderism was Kitfield did not try to explain or contextualize this is a paradox – But he just regurgitated this upside down thinking as if it were common sense.

  4. Comment says

    The Joe Barton comment is an example of why we never despair being in the tank with Obama – No liberal handwringing – Though there is lots he does that we do not like – but that’s all dust in the balance.
    The fact is Barton was just spewing what Rush said and what a majority of GOPers actually believe. We have heard many defenses of BP from our winger friends.
    So Obama is not opposed by a serious party – but rather a collection of Palins and Bartons and Rush etc. It’s all relative. Obama’s freedom of action is limited due to the power imbalance of corporations and the prevailing ideology re war and massive general ignorance. We see no way the sorry ass collection of chickenhawks and faux-soccer haters and corporate shills and oil patch sqeakers and birther etc have any chance.

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