Monday, October 26, 2009

The Chicken Little Scenario

Not so much along the lines of "The sky is falling" but more along the lines of "OMG the country is falling apart!"

I mean, first off, in the beginning of the year as Obama took his oath of office, we had the Drudge Report and the Wall Street Journal pick up on some obscure Russian professor predicting for the last 10 years that the United States will break apart Balkans-style by 2010. Complete with color-coded map showing just how ridiculous the idea is (Texas will join other states in seceding? HA! South Carolina in the same economic dominion as New England where there are few economic reasons and absolutely NO social and political reasons to do so? Headthump).

Then we got that jackass from NewsMax yapping about the Obama Problem and how a nice clean non-violent military coup would solve everything.

This morning I get on to view The Moderate Voice blog and the top article for the hour was this piece of hysteria titled "Could the U.S. See a Military Coup?":

...Are the nation’s fiscal, economic, military, political and social challenges
setting us up for a Military Coup? Will the U.S. Military Industrial Complex,
acting through our Joint Chiefs of Staff or some other high-level corps of U.S.
Military officers, and supported by a variety of angry business leaders and
extreme conservatives be so resentful of any changes to our national priorities
that they would encourage a complete removal of our elected civilian federal
government, save the Department of Defense?
If the President and Congress decided to actually reduce or freeze Military spending over the next 4 years in real dollars, eliminate some programs to build or acquire various types of military hardware, close more domestic and foreign bases and remove troops from Europe and Asia, and veto any escalation of and start deep reductions in our military presences in Afghanistan and Iraq, will the conservatives in our Military be outraged enough to take action? This consideration might make
President Obama a bit skittish about not following his generals’ current
recommendations to escalate our national and NATO presence in Afghanistan. His
decision on this matter and other domestic issues might be viewed as the
precipitating events for actions that could significantly alter the U.S. and
global history.
If a direct physical removal of civilian government by military force is not in the cards, perhaps some generals and strong military supporters could defeat President Obama and the Democrats in 2010 and 2012. This peaceful mechanism is constitutionally-protected and these political campaigns could be well-financed by the many large international arms manufacturers and other parts of President Eisenhower’s vast military-industrial complex...


Nearly everything in those first three paragraphs drip with paranoid freak-out crazy juice. The writer skittishly terrified that if Obama dares jump one way or another on military budget issues (that btw has already happened, anyone notice the outrage over the F-22? *cricket chirp* Thought so...) that the Far Right Wingnuts and their DoD cronies will stage a Seven Days In May takeover, or perform some underhanded vote stealing during the upcoming midterms...

Okay. Everyone take a chill pill and SETTLE. Except, I suppose, from the wingnuts who'll worry said pill is poison. Sigh.

I suppose an effort needs to be made about why there's this anxiety among the Villagers.

The most likely explanation is that all this sound and fury over possible coup attempts is that the Village (no, not THAT one) made up of the DC Beltway elites is feeling, well, unhappy and out of sorts. The Villagers - the ones who keep making all these pronouncements about this scandal and that outrage, and almost always proven wrong or uninformed about how the rest of the nation is really acting - have been spending the last nine months trying to fit the new White House regime into their perfectly easy-to-label ideological plot points, only to keep having said attempts fail. Sometimes with hilarious results. The Villagers in the media circles are watching their newspaper revenues drop to dangerous, might-be-out-of-jobs levels, all the while FOX Not-News' rating go up because they gleefully sell their Obama-Hate to those who scarf it up like candy... even as FOX Not-News gets absolutely EVERYTHING wrong to the point where any day now someone, FINALLY, will sue them for libel/defamation in an airtight case.

That link to the Digby article about Beltway elites itself links to earlier articles written back in the day when Clinton was caught in an affair with Lewinsky. And where the most outrage about it came from that Beltway circle who felt absolutely "betrayed" by a man who turned out to be doing exactly what every other guy in DC was doing (hi, Newt!). It was truly that incident where the Beltway found itself isolated from the rest of the nation: where the Villagers saw criminal action that had to be punished by their own 'righteous' anger, the rest of the country was more willing to forgive, and was actually taking the Villagers themselves to task for overhyping matters to where BLOWJOBS were impeachable offenses (forget the whole 'lying to the public' and 'lying to the civil court' issue. People in the real world know people lie about affairs, and more Americans realized the whole Paula Jones case was an excuse for a 'fishing expedition' than the Villagers did). The Villagers, for what I see, still haven't forgotten or forgiven about the Lewinsky scandal, and still can't understand why A) Clinton survived the impeachment with decent public polling, B) the nation's voters threw out more Republicans during the 1998 midterms when the Villagers believed the GOP would have gained more seats due to the scandal, and C) why people outside of their circles started tuning them out.

So you get this disconnect between the Real World and the Villager World. And inside the Villager World there's apparently truckloads of paranoia about what's going on: what they see as a massive Hate-Obama Fest when in fact it's overhyped staged events led by FOX and mere handfuls of teabaggers; military leaders that live within said Village expressing their 'disgruntled' disagreements with the White House over how to handle Afghanistan, when in fact a majority of actual troops and officers are serious about their oaths of office, will follow orders regarding Afghan/Iraq deployments, and will never engage in a coup; fears that Obama's 'socialist' agenda will anger enough rednecks to have them rioting in the streets, when in fact said rednecks are really few, not fully organized, and under better surveillance by law enforcement than the Villagers expect.

Here's the truth: Obama's polling relatively as well as any other President under these circumstances. If Obama's failing at anything it's failing to make job-creation a higher priority. The majority of Americans WANT health care reform, and there's not going to be rioting in the streets because of it (even if it fails). Our military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan currently are wobbly, at best, but everyone (even the Generals who AREN'T griping to their fellow Villagers) involved know it's not going to be solved by overreaction, flooding the war zone with more troops we barely have on hand, and prolonging quagmires that can only truly be solved by calmer, more diplomatic efforts.

We're not facing any coups. And if we were, they would be most likely carried out by fanatical misfits so completely out of tune with reality that the reaction against them would be swift, merciless, and painful for all involved.

As for the other thing, this whole 'OMG states are seceding' thing. For starters, that Russian Expert has the worst idea of how America's regions truly operate. Lemme see if I can get that map pasted here:

Like I mentioned earlier, anyone notice anything wrong with how that Russian professor thinks America will break apart?
  • For starters, he has Texas going along with other states under a 'Texas Republic' banner. Bull. Texas is large enough population-wise and economically to completely break away as its own nation-state, and in fact that's how Texas started. It didn't become a state until annexed by John Tyler (yes, that jerkoff), and that's one of the reasons why Texas has a noticeably large secession movement. And the other thing? None of those other states - I can guarantee you Florida for certain - would want to join those damn arrogant Texans in ANYTHING.
  • He's got an Atlantic-Coast merger that has South Carolina joining the New England states, mostly by his arguments for economic reasons. Um, no: there are very few economic reasons for SC to hang around with the Northeastern states (seaports/trading is the only thing I can think of). And there is no way, given South Carolina's history, that they would even consider being allied with those damn Yankees.
  • Even if we do consider that the United States could break apart due to massive economic collapse (which seems to be how he's dividing this map), the paradox is that the states right now are facing bankruptcy and near-financial collapse themselves and can't even think about removing themselves from a more solvent Federal government. Just look at California! Without that stimulus package from the Federal government earlier this year, half of the states would be completely failed right now. They'd be in no condition to attempt secessions in the first place.

The more likely scenario for secession right now is mostly social-political: if enough wingnut crazies took over any state/local governments to force the issue. If that does happen, the more likely scenarios are that:
  • The largest states - Texas obviously, California, New York and Florida next possibles - will break off to form their own nation-states. But given the current economic crisis in California, expect that state to balkanize even further into metro regions (San Francisco and the Northern Cali, Los Angeles, Orange County/San Diego, all other points in-between) due to that state's inability to resolve their tax code issues and the near-certain strife that will erupt between the DFHs and the Prop-13 worshipers.
  • The states that made up the sides of the Civil War to basically divide along the same lines, but with variations. Because New York will divide the NE corridor, the New England states will form their own coalition and forced to cater to Massachussetts' power structure. The MidAtlantic states from Pennsylvania to Virginia, or maybe even North Carolina (which may finally shake of the old political dominance of South Carolina due to their growing and more diversified population) would forge their own power structure.
  • South Carolina would probably WANT to form their own, but won't have the economic or political strength to pull it off, and will merge with George, Alabama, Mississippi and possibly Tennessee into their own group. It could well include Louisiana and Arkansas (making it, sans Florida, the SEC made political). North Carolina could join if it can't fit into the MidAtlantic structure.
  • Kentucky would most likely go with the Great Lakes states, throwing in with Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. West Virginia could go in if it feels more in common with Ohio than Pennsylvania/Maryland/Virginia, but unlikely.
  • The Midwest would comprise of Oklahoma up to the Dakotas, with Missouri added to the mix. Arkansas and Louisiana could go along with this powerset, mostly if to keep control of the Mississippi River as a trading route/source of income. This is why Arkansas and Louisiana are true wild cards in this: the Grain States and the SEC States will vie for those two unlike any other states in the potential breakup.
  • The mountain states will revolve mostly around Colorado as Denver is the most dominant metro in the region. They can pull to them Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Utah and Idaho, both dominated by Mormons socially and/or politically, could be part of this group but could also separate and form their own Mormon nation-state (very unlikely though). Arizona could become part of this faction, but it all depends on how Nevada reacts to California.
  • Nevada will be in a huge pickle. Their largest metro, Las Vegas, is tied to Cali as a major tourist attraction (remember all the wingnut complaints about high-speed rail between LA and Vegas?). Given the otherwise sparse nature of their state, they may be compeled to join in with California... depending on if Cali can solve their tax issues and don't fall into their own civil war. If Nevada falls in with California, so too would Arizona.
  • That leaves the Northwest. Washington and Oregon would have little choice anyway but to merge forces. Odds are very good, however, that they could pull Northern Cali to them especially if that state falls into chaos. They could also include Alaska, but don't be surprised if Alaska and Hawaii - physically separated from the continental states - go their own ways (probably the only thing that professor gets right, although Alaska would make serious efforts to come under Canada's sphere of influence to prevent the Russians from gaining influence).

Now. Take a long good look at everything I just wrote. See how I've divided things up? See how *wrong* I can be on absolutely nearly every point? And yet my reasonings/explanations/theories on secession could be just as valid as that Russian professor's... and given how Texas and South Carolina would act/react, I'm probably more accurate.

And here's the thing: I'm STILL WRONG. Secession in the United States won't happen, certainly not now: too much pride regarding the matter, for one. The historical resolution of the matter back in the 1860s, for another.

So will EVERYONE calm down? We are NOT dying as a nation. We are NOT at each others' throats no matter how much the wingnuts WANT us to be. EVERYONE CHILL!

...Yeah, I thought so...


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