His hubris came to exceed the limits of his physical and personal integrity and the stage was set for his fall from grace. His trajectory was analogous to the impetus of unregulated capitalism; especially to the never enough neoliberal sociopaths who practice it:
Fly as high and as close to the sun as wings of wax will allow and then fly above that — feel the binding of contrived flight melt and the rapid descent back to earth.
Tiger survived his descent and he remains insanely wealthy, whether or not he returns to the skies to fly higher than anyone else again. Having more than most, his wealth will continue to beget more wealth. That he pushed his body and his relationships past the melting point are things he did to himself and to his own.
The flight plan of unregulated capitalism and its proximity to the threshold of rational reality is the same, but the consequence of its inevitable descent may well threaten us all.
Unlimited money from special interests poisons and renders dysfunctional the delicate nature of our democracy. The banksters can no longer resist the easy money gaming their customers’ assets at rigged Wall Street casinos, instead of loaning it to those still pursuing what’s left of the American Dream down on Main Street.
And when the elite circumvent tax rates already low and mile-wide loopholes purposely provided, past and present, bought and paid for and it’s still never enough, the image of the self-consuming ouroboros comes to mind.
The elite are accustomed to high rates of return from abstract instruments of investments that are gamed internally and practically assured however the market behaves. The tangible economy — where actual products and services must compete for market share; and where no return on investment is ever assured — is a nonstarter for them; too risk-laden and too hands-on for them to even consider.
No part of those trillions managed by a handful of exclusive elites ever trickles down to fund opportunity and build much-needed infrastructure, either social or structural. How many brilliant minds must be wasted? How much potential enterprise never be ventured or seriously underfunded because of the mass’s mass ignorance of Modern Monetary Theory?
In the absence of broad understanding of MMT, we are left to imagine the economy, as if it were a collective pizza and that rarified hands take all but that one slice, left for the vast multitude to fight over.
Bernie understands the fallacy of such thinking and that the federal government can, indeed, bake as many pizzas as can be fully consumed (as long as we have enough ovens and pepperoni). Should extra pies be made that cannot be consumed, which could lead to inflation, they would be recalled and pulled out of circulation through taxation.
Bernie is the only candidate addressing these dangerously disproportionate levels of inequity and he has been doing so since the inception of his political calling.
He has always represented the place where we should be as a nation and he is explicit about doing whatever one man with a populist movement behind him can do against the onslaught of corporatism and the ignorance of MMT throughout the electorate.
The hopes and dreams of what was left of the liberal left were effectively buried alive in 1972 when George McGovern lost to the ascendant conservatism of Richard Nixon in an unprecedented and utterly disheartening landslide. It marked the end of an era and “Turn on, tune in, drop out” was never to be heard or spoken of again in the age of post hippiedom. Free love became hedonic. Denim became polyester. We became me. “Midnight Cowboy” became “Saturday Night Fever.” Cream became Queen.
The journey to enlightened wisdom became the escape from existential angst.
The prolonged “horror” of conscripted casualty ended in frantic retreat as US forces made their desperate escape from Saigon, leaving behind loyal and dedicated nationals to the unspeakable fate of Pol Pot’s genocidal vengeance descending rapidly down from the north.
America had lost its first war in abject humiliation and dead, disabled, disturbed, and disillusioned vets were all we had to show for it. OPEC had shut off the oil supply and the ordeal of finding gas became an exercise in frustration and delay with the potential for violence mixed in. WaterGate would finally take down Richard Nixon and confidence in the Republican party had finally been lost.
Vice president Ford, standing in as the placeholder, somehow survived a primary challenge from Ronald Reagan. The charismatic two-term governor from California who should have trounced Ford in the primary and who would have certainly trounced Carter in the ’76 presidential election, had he not succumb to the inverse logic of “the devil you don’t know is better than the devil you know” and the peanut farmer from Georgia assumed the highest office in the land
A good man of good character beyond anything deserving of a politician would, however, descend into the quagmire of malaise that defined his social milieu. There was foreboding that he would never see a second term and Reagan and his entourage of neocon ideologues and henchmen were intent on giving the omen just credence.
Both parties at some point during the 70’s found themselves wandering in the wilderness. The Republicans, however, were wandering toward who and what they would become while the Democrats were wandering away from who and what they had been.
Neoconservatism had arrived fully empowered at the doorstep of the Reagan administration.
It was never enough for neocons to have negotiated with Iran to sabotage the election in their favor. It was never enough to leave us wondering why a brave unit of elite special forces who would attempt to rescue the embassy hostages would completely self destruct and perish in the Iranian desert before their mission even commenced. It was never enough for us to wonder how things would have turned completely around for Carter’s reelection prospects had they succeeded. It was never enough to have rewarded the Iranians with treasonous transactions of advanced military hardware. It was never enough to take the proceeds of such and illegally finance the Contra insurgency against Noriega. It was never enough to fly down weapons to Nicaragua and fly up Columbian cocaine stuffed into empty cargo bays. It was never enough for the CIA to stand down US air defense systems to protect those flights from interdiction and it was never enough to derive profit from the sale and distribution throughout the US, especially in the inner cities.
It was never enough to empower the Mujahideen who became the Taliban with state of the art military training and equipment to be our proxy army against the Soviet Union’s presence in Afghanistan. It was never enough to provide chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein to endure his 10-year war with Iran. It was never enough for neocons to reverse their allegiance and bait Hussein into unleashing Desert Storm and the decimation of his country. It was never enough for the neocons to disown and deprive the Mujahideen of their valiant efforts and substantial sacrifice against the full force of the Soviet war machine — never enough for Reagan to take full credit for bringing down the Soviet Union himself without mention of the rivers of Mujahideen blood spilled — never enough to invoke their apocalyptic return of disfavor as the Taliban in the first year of the last Bush administration.
The Democrats had much soul searching to do during that dark period of 3 consecutive terms of apocalyptic neoconservatism. Ideologues contemplated steering the party toward the political center. The seeds of what would be called the Third Way were sown by those who called themselves “New Democrats.” The tortured dance the party had been doing for so long required Faustian pacts to be made, as power and wealth and politics always does.
The ultimate New Democrat, Bill Clinton, signed his John Hancock on the dotted line enabling his unprecedented projection of this new vision and of himself right into the White House — inexplicably denying favorite son George Bush Sr. a second term.
The Third Way was a hybridization of social liberalism and free-market capitalism that would come to fully manifest as neoliberalism on both sides of the pond.
It seemed to be the best of both worlds and it was a smash hit until it smashed head-on into the reconstructed neoconservative administration of de facto president Dick Cheney.
It was never enough for neocons to allow the insider trading fraud at Enron — to issue millions of liar loans to anyone who could sign their name on a one-page mortgage application — to ignore credible intelligence warnings of hijacked commercial airliners targeting tall buildings — to perpetrate another fictitious middle east war that cost $trillions that destroy irreplaceable infrastructure and permanently destabilized cultural regions and took countless lives and broke untold bodies, minds, and spirits. It was never enough to erroneously sell AAA-rated toxic CDOs as fraudulent instruments of investment to the unsuspecting everywhere and all that would culminate into “too big to fail”; and to all that would further characterize the apocalyptic madness that had metastasized within the Administration.
Obama would emerge in the aftermath to carry water and the burden of being the first black president.
Again the Democrats were back in the White House and again the previous Republican administration had self-destructed to provide the opportunity. He reinstated “Clintonian” neoliberalism, but whatever vague vitality it still possessed in the post “too big to fail” era, McConnell kept it firmly in check. Deregulated industries and institutions however thrived, inequity rose, elegant lip service to social issues was paid and wonkiness and timely distractions to fill the void provided.
Ultimately, the expired neoliberalism was static and stale — a reanimation of an economic policy past its prime.
It had nowhere to go and no way to get there and these apparent failings set the stage for the man who believed in nothing and everything at the same time…whatever suited his train of thought in the moment although “train” and “thought” may be attributions too generously dispensed.
And now the Democrats are rallying behind Joe Biden, Obama’s unremarkable VP, but most remarkable gaffe machine. He has absolutely nothing to offer but the return to the metric of stasis and lassitude. Bernie had everything to offer and in his “back to the future” campaign, he invokes the spirit of FDR, the New Deal, and the full-frontal assault on inequity and “the economic royalists” it directed then that needs to be directed now.
Obama never challenged the bailouts. He never indicted any of the unprecedented malice and deceit. He never spoke to the inherent inequity and inequality that neoliberalism could only seem to offer for the greater good.
Bernie Sanders never stopped speaking to it — and for those who totally agreed and who unconditionally supported him, as I did, we were more than comfortable hearing his relentless berating of the economics of injustice.
The Achilles heel of neoliberalism is the deregulation it offers up to market capitalism in exchange for respection of negotiated liberal priorities. It never foresaw or didn’t bother to consider how ubiquitous technologies would gathering and process information that could be used so effectively to game unregulated markets — and how such wealth so acquired would be recycled into endless lobbying efforts for more deregulation to acquire more wealth and so on and so on and so on…until we arrive at the point where we are now with a full-blown case of absolute corporatism and pending monarchical autocracy.
Money is the atomic God that dwells in the temple of the reactor and the more time spent in worship the higher the exposure to its irradiation. Mutagenic properties disrupt the DNA of mind and spirit and the cellular division of the dollar metastasize throughout the host to eventually and inevitably transgress any liberal free zone in quarantine.
The Democratic party establishment who remain comfortable practicing such policy so far past its expiration date and who bed down so willingly with Wall Street and corporatists billionaires, cannot help but to make Bernie Sanders the target of their disdain — someone to be derailed at every turn and at all costs.
The Democrats would rather send their decrepit David with his threadbare sling and too few stones in his pouch against Goliath, instead of an experienced socialist warrior with all of his offensive rhetoric intact and ready to wage war against a pathological lying megalomaniacal nightmare of an opponent.
We would have expected nothing less of Bernie than for him to have displayed his full metal and to have fought to the death, if need be. He would have had the best chance of anyone to sling one of his many greater truths between the plutocratic eye sockets of Goliath — but whatever the outcome between good vs greed, we would have been proud and vicariously with him every step of the way as he fought the good fight he had been preparing for his entire life.
It seems, however, that Bernie will not have that opportunity and that Biden will be sent forth to confront Goliath as we should have expected all along. “Sleepy Joe” won’t last 5 minutes within striking distance before it’s over for him and for us.
For those who seek to be masters of the universe at the expense of whoever and whatever might get in their way, enough is never enough.
For those who seek to be champions on behalf of the greater good at the expense of the entrenched status quo, enough should never be enough either. (jz)