The Good News: It's Not About Race


“You know what I like here? There’s a bunch of black guys waiting in cars to shoot it up with a bunch of white guys, and it’s not about race.”

Leave it to Spenser, the irrepressibly sarcastic Private Eye from Robert Parker’s durable series of detective novels, to find the ironic humor in a potentially lethal situation.

“Be about power and money, mostly,” agreed Spenser’s fearsome ally, Hawk, employing the economical street patois he employed while on the job (and abandoned, when it suited him, when he found himself in refined company).

In this instance, as described near the climax of the 2005 novel Cold Service, the duo was quietly preparing for the first volley in a multi-ethnic gang war in a Massachusetts village called Marshport, the government of which was run by a Ukrainian crime ring controlled by the Mayor-cum-mob capo Boots Podolak.

Hawk’s motive was revenge: He had nearly been killed in the ambush arranged by Podolak’s men, an attack that claimed the life of a man Hawk was supposed to protect. Spenser’s motive was primarily loyalty to his friend and comrade from many previous campaigns.

Some of those who assembled for battle did it for purely mercenary reasons, working as subcontractors for Spenser. Others were simply in pursuit of what most people in such conflicts seek: Control over turf, and the apparatus necessary to exploit it through the creative use of duress. To obtain it, Podolak and his clique had to be removed.

In all of this, as Hawk pointed out, power and money played a much greater role than any atavistic attachment to ethnic or tribal loyalties.

As the USA careens toward bankruptcy and, perhaps — hopefully — some variety of schism, I find myself taking ironic consolation in the fact that the conflict won’t be defined by racial or ethnic divisions, despite the best efforts of our rulers to cattle-pen us into such categories.

Granted, this could change very easily. Madame Obama could change her name to Winnie and start hanging around with a murderous “football club.” The Holy One Himself (peace be upon him) comes under armed attack by some disposable dimwit with a conveniently conspicuous paper trail through Klan and neo-Nazi groups and a jones for The Catcher in the Rye.

But there’s ample reason to believe that the Obamas — despite their successful shared career in racial shakedown politics and their cynical use of race to make themselves a marketable brand — aren’t interested in pursuing identity politics.

To judge from the composition of the Obama transition team, the Exalted Apostle of Change (we pause to tug on our forelock) is interested in little more than the standard politics of corporatist plunder. Obama’s signature touch is to transpose that agenda into the key of cultural Marxism, as opposed to the pious militarism that remains in favor with what remains of the Republican Party.

For Obama, the collapse of our financial system was a politically fortuitous event. For reasons that defy rational understanding, the public perceives Obama as a transcendent figure who can cast his gaze upon the turbid markets and command them, “Peace — be still.”

The fact that the markets have reacted to Obama’s election with something less than confident relief has yet to register with the True Believers, who likewise remain untroubled by the fact that those whom The One has gathered as his inner circle of disciples include many of the architects of our ever-deepening financial catastrophe.

Rahm Emmanuel, the issue of terrorist loins and one-time servant of an obnoxious foreign power chosen to be Obama’s Chief of Staff, made a cool $200 K in 2001 through a sinecure at Freddie Mac; this happened at a time when that government-sponsored entity (GSE) was one of the chief engines inflating the Housing Bubble. Three of Obama’s key economic advisers — Anne Mulcahy, Richard Parsons, and William Daley — enjoyed similar posts at Fannie Mae.

Clinton-era Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, another prominent figure in the Obama transition team, was a master chef at cooking the books on behalf of Citigroup and a consulting gourmet for Enron when that company’s degenerate corporate elite was looking for just the right recipe to use in swindling its shareholders. And more than a third of the spots on Obama’s transition team — which is a farm club for both ambassadorships and more consequential executive branch posts — are the most successful “bundlers” of corporate donations to His Holiness’s campaign.

Already assuming the mien of a dictator before formally inheriting the mantle of dictatorship, Obama, asserting the suppositious authority of the non-existent “office” of president-elect (a status he won’t actually enjoy until after the Electoral College meets next month), Obama “is pushing Congress this year to approve as much as $50 billion to save cash starved U.S. automakers and appoint a czar or board to oversee the companies,” according to a Bloomberg report.

This proposed nationalization of the auto industry, which has the support of the Wee Emperor, has been urged upon Obama by two of his key advisers, former Federal Reserve commissar Paul Volcker and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers — two veterans of the entrenched Establishment Obama supposedly seeks to de-throne.

In defining how Obama will rule, his practical connections to the entrenched corporate socialist oligarchy are much more important than his cultural Marxist background. There is little danger of Obama instigating a proletarian revolution; as John Derbyshire wryly pointed out, Obama can’t incite a worker revolt to seize control over the means of production, since all of our factories have already moved to China.

Besides, what’s the point of staging a revolution from below to consolidate power in the state, when the Bush administration has already done all of the heavy lifting? The most tangible accomplishment of a generation of Republican rule is the creation of an apparatus of regimentation and wealth redistribution that Lenin would have coveted.

There is not a particle of hyperbole in that statement. Witness the observation offered by Jeb Mason, the Treasury Department’s liaison to corporate lobbyists seeking a portion of the $700 billion in “bailout” boodle. Under siege by supplicants, Mason, a 32-year-old GOP apparatchik who served under the feculent Karl Rove, commented to a friend: “This must have been how the Politburo felt.”

As I’ve noted before, the mechanism of wealth redistribution from the middle and working classes into the hands of corporate parasites is now fully autonomous: With the Treasury Secretary and the Fed Chairman able to create “money” in any volume they please, and disburse it as they see fit, with no oversight or accountability, Congress really doesn’t have a role — other than that of misdirecting the public.

Those actually in charge of looting the country before its collapse — whether in the commanding heights, like Comrade Bernanke and Herr Paulson, or in the trenches, like K-Street Pimp Jeb Mason or the Wall Street bagman bearing the deliciously Dickensian name Neel Kashkari — are entirely unaccountable. From their perspective, the uninitiated have no right so much as to know how much is being spent, let alone for what, and for whose benefit, the sums are being spent.

The $700 billion that raised the public’s ire and attracted the attention of corporate lobbyists is merely a small bucket drawn from the immense pool of “liquidity” flowing from the Fed. The ruling economic Triumvirate has actually taken on $5 trillion in liabilities since the financial collapse began last March, and I would be surprised if that figure didn’t at least double before Obama, sitting astride his magic unicorn, stages his triumphal entry into the Imperial Capital next January.

Once again, as Hawk might put it, all of this “be about power and money, mostly,” even though the racial aspect of Obama’s impending advent is quite useful to the Power Elite that created his campaign, and are eager to exploit him as a human shield.

When The One acts as a conduit for policies created by the same gang of parasites that have ruled our nation for decades, every criticism will be cynically supplied with a spurious racial subtext. This tactic will inspire critics on the left to stifle themselves. It could eventually be used to imprison critics on the right.