Friday, August 31, 2007

Back to the maddening crowd

I've been filled with useless information
Spewed out by papers and radio stations
-- The The
Two weeks "off the grid" impart a certain clear-eyed view of things not normally examined at larger scales. This is not a comforting realization, however, when that view results in the observation that very little actually changes on such a time scale. Rejoining the scene, all the familiar memes are seen to be operational, while various propaganda campaigns, both of commission and omission, jump at rested eyes. The bucolic laze and earnest manor of rural reaches accentuate and heighten an awareness of the dreadful nature of much of what passes for "information" in the age of corporate media, serving as it does an even worse agenda destined for an awful end. Except there is no end, only a continuation of the blight. And much of that, of course, is purposefully hidden, while we are daily inundated by rafts of utter nonsense and noise. Extracting oneself from this shit stream is not only refreshing but should be seen as mandatory. Once accomplished, the daily scandals and puerile behaviour of the political class take on the appearance of soap bubbles; ephemeral blips of scum that rise from the frothy surface of a deeply polluted body politic. We see these bubbles, of course, but not the gross and fetid waters below.

The beast does not sleep nor does it loll in its daily toil to service the imperial mission. Hence, the ongoing though stepped-up agitprop regarding Iran and that country's now presumed WMD and the continuing news that the Cheney branch of American government has, once again, engaged the war crime of planning an aggressive war, something that has been in the works for literally years. As well, the public is now nearly constantly informed that the "surge" in Iraq is going well despite obvious evidence and even the authoritative admonitions of soldiers on the ground. Afghanistan is failing, at least in the nominal sense of the word, but that is a near ignorable frisson in the larger sphere of globalized conflict. After all, the drug lords are making out rather well, which only fuels another of America's wars: the "war on drugs." Both for the drug lords and those supposedly tasked with fighting them, by an unrepentant and cynical calculus, this is undoubtedly a win-win situation, as more and more money is poured into both ends of that particular pipeline.

The wars must be kept alight. As the world's only arbiter of "freedom and democracy," proudly, America must hold firm. Given the debilitated state of US troops, a state we are surely not allowed to imagine of the world's preeminent military, increasing reliance on pure and indiscriminate air power is bound to further populate the world with more "terrorist" foes bent on stopping, or at least increasing the price of, a now decades-long imperialism. This battle has been wisely branded as the "war on terror" so that it appears to be something other than what it actually is. For select segments of the "economy," the profits from this war have been enormous, which further conflict will only enhance. On top of the marginally indirect profiteering, others slurp up large sums of unaccounted taxpayer funds through all manor of hook and crook. And all of this continues apace, with nary peep nor protest by the corporations that supposedly bring us "the news." Profits without conscience are good for the American economy.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, the president continues to rely on his religion. God tells him to make war and the corporate media lavish him with praise for his "faith." The imperial mission is portrayed as a divine good. To that end, potentially high profile speakers who utter even a scrap of the truth of these things must be marginalized, ostracized or, preferably, ignored outright. Which, of course, render such people low profile, made purposefully so, and therefore not representative of the American public. This is a lie. Most Americans want universal health care, an end to the wars, a preemption of an attack on Iran, and New Orleans properly and honestly rebuilt. None of this is happening nor will it be allowed to happen on the current watch. Despite electoral demand, the wars continue, universal health care is "controversial" and New Orleans slowly morphs into an adult Disneyland, the poor and disposed now efficiently cordoned, under armed guard and subject to arrest by mercenaries should they try to return home.

Furtherance of this ultimately doomed agenda is aided and abetted by the corporate media with a constant ringing that America is ruled by free and fair elections. Purposefully ignoring the vast "irregularities" of recent elections, throat-wobblers appear on television and decry the investigation of the US attorney firings as a "witch hunt." Representative of the corporate punditocracy, David Brooks, resplendent in pasty complexion and purple necktie, declaims on public television that the investigation of the firings was unnecessary, the Attorney General "incompetent," and there was no underlying conspiracy when clearly there was. Though the corporate media remain unable to state the purpose of the politically motivated dismissals, the strategic firing of US attorneys obviously indicated yet another facet of an election rigging apparatus designed to deliver the Rovian wet dream of a permanent Republican majority. Despite these efforts, the public will was strong enough to thwart the game and put an end to GOP majorities. Not that that has seemed to matter. For, far from reigning in White House overbearing and illegality, the now Democratic majority appears entirely incapable of even of pouring piss out of a boot. Despite the blessed departure from the Justice Department of the universally despised White House toady, Democrats have promised to keep up the investigation and will likely face further media wrath should they try to keep that promise. Considering Democratic cringing in the face of previous threats of name-calling, this promise will likely go unfulfilled.

While administration supporters see nothing wrong with any of this -- in fact, argue for more of it -- critics lambaste this particular government as amazingly incompetent. Americans are constantly told that all these debacles are the result of ineptitude, as though one "mistake" after another after another, all of which obviously derive from a uniform and tightly controlled agenda, are nothing but signs of "failure." While it may appear to be that way to anyone with a sense of nominal governance, if one thing has been made clear by the Bush administration, it is surely that this is no nominal government. Claims that the Bush administration is both incompetent and ruthlessly capable of rigging government agency to service a self-interested agenda induces a certain dissonance. Clearly, both cannot be right. Clearly, both are not right. If the behaviours of the Bush administration demonstrate one thing, it is that they are not incompetent. They have done exactly as they have intended while the rest of the country has paid a very dear price for those intentions.

Two weeks away and none of this changed. Not that this should be expected. The Iraq war is promised to continue by both Democrats and Republicans. Darfur will simmer and boil. Iran will be a threat until they do what they are told. Pakistan and India will roil for years yet. American administrations will continue to supply arms to practically everyone. Forget New Orleans as it once was. The granularity of world events is far larger than any of what most Americans are often distracted by. This is important for the continuance of any imperial mission. For when the public looses sight of the imperial forest for the trees of daily strife, as they do and will, the engine of empire is allowed to rumble in the distance, and the larger narratives and sickly agendas will continue to run roughshod over the land. Until the whole sordid, violent mess collapses.

This is entirely preventable. But such an effort, like those of the imperial engine, will have to be sustained and long term. Seeds of such an effort are being sown even today. If the Bush administration has demonstrated ineptitude in one thing, it is their own misunderstanding of the sentiments of American citizens, who clearly want something far better than what they are being dealt right now. Resistance is not futile and this country's leadership has stirred the public from a purposefully induced torpor. Now is the time to wake up. Stop listening to the lies and look at the world. It can be far, far better than the way it has been made.


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