So, the world did not end. Or at least nobody noticed if it did.
Of course, the Mayans didn’t really ‘predict’ the end of the world. The end of the long count merely marked the end of one epoch and the beginning of another, oh and a huge number of human sacrifices of course.
Interpreting “God’s” intent has always been a tricky business. The ancient Greeks were told that the Gods were offended by Socrates and his students. The Mayas and Incas were told that the celestial order could only function if lubricated by the blood of human sacrifices. And today we are told that a creator God who could imagine a universe of half a trillion galaxies is a bigot obsessed with gay sex.
According to Genesis, God created man in his own image. This gets the process back to front. Man has been busy creating gods in his own image from the start of history, and the gods man has created tell us more about the men and women who created them than of God.
We don’t know what ended the Mayan civilization, but what kept the Inca human sacrifice racket going was the fact that most of the victims came from other tribes that the Incas had conquered. Which meant that the Incas had made rather a lot of enemies when the Spanish conquistadors showed up.
Boehner and his GOP allies are not demanding actual sacrifices of humans, in return for dismantling the sequestration they insisted on as their price for passing the last increase in the debt ceiling. But the measures that Boehner proposed in his ‘Plan B’ scenario would have required huge sacrifices from the poor, moderate sacrifices by the middle class and delivered a fat bonus for the richest of the super-richy-rich. Its the same old ‘end of the world as we know it’ scam, but with updated media packaging. And the purpose is still essentially the same: To allow the super-elite to lord over the rest of us, while demanding their own sacrifices from the humans beneath them.
Boehner’s plan collapsed as it became apparent that he does not have the votes to get his own Republican caucus to pass it. According to most of the pundits this is because Plan B is not right-wing enough.
I suspect the real reason is that it would be electoral poison in the 2014 general election and the members know it. Rank and file GOP House members are in a no-win situation of their own making. If they vote for any bill that raises taxes on the super-richy-rich, plutocrats like top-Romney-supporter Sheldon Adelson are going to be dropping huge gobs of money on primary challengers who might well beat them. And if they vote for a bill that cuts Medicare or Social Security, they become vulnerable in the general election.
The GOP House members were bamboozled by Boehner and company when they passed the Ryan budget. It appears that at least some of them are learning. There is no agreement that Boehner can propose that is not electoral poison in 2014.
The best strategy for GOP House members is to refuse all deals and wait until January 1st, 2013 when the Bush tax cuts expire permanently. At that point, the roles of the GOP and Democrats will be reversed, and it will be the Democrats trying to get GOP support for a tax cut GOP constituents Adelson and Koch would rather see go to deficit reduction, but actual GOP voters will expect to see passed.
The Senate has already put a bill on the table that makes the Bush tax cuts for the middle class permanent, while allowing the rest to expire. Filibuster reform will allow the Senate to do the same with a bill to cancel the sequestration ‘austerity bomb’. With that bill in place, it is hard to see how the GOP explains to the voters that they are not responsible for the layoff notice they are getting from Boeing and Raytheon, or for the military bases being closed in the vulnerable GOP districts. The sequestration act specifies how much Obama must cut from each account, but not the order in which the cutbacks occur.
Unless Obama blinks for real, the GOP is going to walk away from the crisis they created empty-handed. But don’t imagine this was a futile exercise for them. Even though they will get nothing from the crisis, they have proved that they are so important that they could create the crisis in the first place. Like the Mayan priests and their modern day equivalents they can go back to their favorite pastime of being admired while laying waste to others.