Well, he had to get up there and say something. In this particular winter of our discontent, the wispiest nostrums and baldest lies will do. America is not interested in reality. America is a nine-hundred pound man imprisoned in a fetid trailer bedroom begging for one more case of Little Debbie Cocoa Cremes before the front-end-loader bashes through the wall to haul him to intensive care. America just wants to hear another story about its own wonderfulness before that happens. America’s soul is so lost that it has disappeared into the same cosmic wilderness that MF Global’s client accounts were last seen entering.
Mr. Obama keeps telling nationwide audiences that “we have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years.” That is just not true. If he believes it then he is either 1) getting treasonously bad advice from dishonest advisors or 2) not reading reports issued by his own agencies or 3) just making shit up. This was the same week, by the way, when the US Department of Energy dropped its estimate for the Marcellus shale gas play by 66 percent, while the estimate for all US shale basins went down 42 percent. The shale gas industry is another Ponzi bubble that is about to founder on a scarcity of investment capital. Just watch.
The “energy independence” trope is a lie, too. At least in the sense that Mr. Obama means – that we can run the suburban clusterfuck and all its accessories by other means than fossil fuels. He just says it because it makes voters feel better. By the time they find out it was just a story, he won’t need their votes anymore. Meanwhile, we’ll do nothing to prepare for a different way of life, and so, necessarily, the result will be an obscene scramble for power and resources that will leave a lot of people dead.
The topper for me, though, was the President’s cheeky announcement that he’d ordered the Department of Justice to form a “special unit” to investigate mortgage fraud and other lethal irregularities in the banking sector. The fact that his congressional audience did not bust out laughing shows what a convocation of craven and perfidious cat’s paws they are. Note to readers: the DOJ has a long-established criminal division fully empowered to prosecute all the familiar scams of our time from NINJA lending to the robo-signing of titles to MERS mortgage mischief, to the bundling and sales of booby-trapped CDOs – up to and including whatever Jon Corzine thought he was doing at MF Global.
Notice how lame the major newspapers and cable news networks were in responding to Mr. Obama’s impudent japery. None of them, including The New York Times, bothered to ask Attorney General Eric Holder what he’s been up to along these lines for the past three years. It is really hard to account for the stupendous incompetence of the news media in recent years. Of course, I’m allergic to conspiracy theories and the only explanation that adds up for me is the diminishing returns of technology. Among other untruths we’ve embraced collectively is the idea that computer-distributed information amounts to knowledge and understanding, tending toward judgment. Apparently, it’s only made our society much dumber and more irresponsible. After all, none of the supposed media watchdogs even asked The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, or CNN and a hundred other outlets why they didn’t interview the Attorney General of the United States and ask him why he has not been taking care of the business now assigned to this special unit.
Not included in the State of the Union message was any reference to the provision in the recently signed National Defense Authorization Act that allows the US government to suspend due process of law and use the military to arrest and indefinitely detain US citizens on vague and opportunistic charges of “suspicion” You will remember a month ago when Mr. Obama signed the law and issued a “signing statement” that said his administration would not carry out these specific provisions. Did anyone notice that it is an impeachable offense for the president to state his opposition to enforcing the law? In which case, why isn’t there a bill of impeachment making its way through Congress right now?
I’ve had enough of Obama, though I voted for him in 2008. I won’t vote for him again. But I’m not altogether confident that any of us will be voting for anyone in the fall of 2012. Too many systems we depend on are spinning out of control. I suppose we will continue feeding ourselves a diet of lies and evasions until circumstances become so extreme that language itself loses all relevance and only real action will answer. I believe that moment is approaching in the yet-to-be-acted-out political uproars of the spring and summer. In the meantime, American leadership is bankrupt. Just accept the fact that America has no legitimate leadership. The vacuum is total and we know how nature feels about a vacuum.