by The Other Katherine Harris
The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
Feb. 26, 2008
“It is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary.”
~ Franz Kafka, The Trial
“My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.”
~ Franz Kafka, In the Penal Colony
As if conjured from pages almost a century old, the dystopian world of Franz Kafka has actualized around us. Remember Joseph K., whom shadowy Authorities ordered roused from his bed and arrested, then tried and ultimately executed, all without explaining why? The official retort to his declaration of innocence was, “Innocent of what?”
It puts one in mind of Guantanamo, doesn’t it — not to mention some 25,000 prisoners now held in U.S. detention centers in Iraq and untold numbers confined elsewhere?
And then there’s Don Seigelman. But before touching further on that foul matter, let’s recall Georgia Thompson, the Wisconsin state contracting gal who spent the winter of 2006-07 behind bars for purely political reasons. Ms. Thompson also lost her home and life savings, trying to defend herself against a trumped-up case meant to reflect badly on Democratic Governor Jim Doyle. She won handily on appeal, but an earlier Republican judge had denied her freedom in the interim (a period during which two of her most ardent attackers — the former chairman and executive director of Wisconsin’s Republican Party — moved on to greater things, the former becoming our ambassador to Czechoslovakia, while the latter joined Giuliani’s presidential campaign.)
Like former Alabama Governor Seigelman, Ms. Thompson was prosecuted by a “loyal Bushie” U.S. Attorney left in place after the Honest Eight were fired. And the one who targeted Mr. Seigelman (repeatedly, until she found the right set of lies and the right courtroom) chanced to be the wife of a Republican operative closely tied to the campaign of his rival, who most likely won via last-minute election rigging. Mr. Seigelman’s is a long and complex story, fairly well encapsulated by a 60 Minutes segment that aired Sunday evening (except in the cities of northern Alabama, where the station owner — a member of the ultra-wealthy Bass family and Bush “Pioneer” — evidently preferred dead air). That video can be viewed HERE, among other places. For details, see the excellent series of articles at Raw Story: PART I, PART II and PART III..
My point is that all of us could face precisely the same nightmare: being thrown into jail on any pretext, besides the other threats that exist against our livelihoods and liberties.
Let’s face it, “justice” has become another empty word in America, along with “democracy” and “freedom.” Those elected to serve us scorn both our legal heritage and the popular will. Overwhelmingly, we crave peace, but they keep bullying whomever they choose (and making us pay for it). Overwhelmingly, we want our rights back, but they keep spitting on the Constitution and increasing police state powers. Overwhelmingly, we want transparency and accountability, but they keep veiling themselves in secrecy and routinely telling us lies (upwards of a thousand from the White House, alone, and still counting). Overwhelmingly, we want the return of economic equity, but they keep endorsing a tax structure that has steadily widened the gap between plutocrats and the rest of us for 30 years. Overwhelmingly, we want affordable healthcare, but they keep letting insurance companies stand between us and our doctors, thus throwing away billions of dollars every year to reward executives and administrators who add nothing of value. Overwhelmingly, we want media responsive to our need for accurate information, but they keep permitting tycoons to buy ever more outlets and use them to pervert the national discourse, with no regard for objectivity. Overwhelmingly, we want sane energy and environmental policies, but they keep forcing us to subsidize big oil, plus the new agrofuels boondoggle and a fresh wave of nuclear lunacy and other energy developments designed to sustain dependence on the grid, defeating the original purpose of solar and wind power. Overwhelmingly, we want regulatory agencies to regulate, but they keep appointing regulators who do nothing to ensure that even food, toys, bridges and inherently dangerous mines are safe — and have given free reign to a predatory financial system that sucked trillions out of the economy in just the past few years (not even counting the raiders who’ve been allowed to acquire companies by stealing employees’ pension funds). Overwhelmingly, we want jobs at home and only fair trade with others, but they keep kowtowing to transnational corporations that deliberately impoverish us and people around the world. Overwhelmingly, we want our manufacturing capacity restored, both to regenerate decent employment opportunities and also for the sake of national security, but they keep increasing our reliance on distant and often unfriendly sources.
Even that lengthy rant doesn’t fully cover the bases. No doubt you can think of at least half a dozen more disconnects, without really trying. While mulling additions, you might sing along — in paraphrase of Zip-a-dee-doo-dah — “It’s a fact; it’s actual! EVERYTHING is out-of-whactual.”
Clearly, we’re ruled now by The Castle — another Kafka novel, in which unseen and unassailable figures hide, issuing diktats from On High, meant to keep villagers guessing and anxious. Unsurprisingly, the road to the Castle never leads to the Castle. We simply can’t get through to them, any more than his character K. could. And K. died trying.
Which brings me to my next point: death, more specifically suicide. Here I don’t refer to the widely publicized self-destruction of young Iraq vets who, often after multiple sojourns into that chaos, can’t cope, but rather to the prodigious number of recent suicides among Americans who should have been at the top of their game: men and women of middle age. Between 1999 and 2004, the suicide rate among 45-to-54-year-olds rose nearly 20 percent (actually 31 percent among women), and an extremely silly story about this appeared this week in The New York Times. “We’re kind of in the dark,” said Dr. Eric C. Caine, co-director at the Center for the Study of Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center, without a “psychological autopsy.” Theories concerning the cause include a drop in hormone-replacement therapy after 2002 health warnings, purported higher general rates of depression among baby boomers and a statistical fluke, but they’re calling “the prime suspect… skyrocketing use — and abuse — of prescription drugs.”
Of course they shouldn’t be flogging meds night and day on TV (thus driving the price up for people who actually need them), but this is abject bullshit. I submit — from the rather authoritative vantage of one who could easily have been among the suicides and considered it frequently — that a review of victims’ financial records would clear up the issue straightaway. In fact, the story skimmed smooth over one of the biggest problems: A woman who’d sought treatment for depression soon before she died was released in bad shape because her insurance ran out! Few insurance policies will keep anybody in a hospital for more than a week — and how about those who have none to cover mental probs, or none at all? And how about the fact that the scant jobs remaining on our shores have gone reliably to the young and cheap since the mid-90s? We who are old enough to remember that today’s $25,000 was worth $48,000 in 1985 are a positive peril to the corporations-uber-alles system. Sure, some folks are just emotionally messed up, but I for one am not a bit mystified by the larger statistics. What else is reasonable to expect from people who took pride in their work for decades, but have now lost hope of ever earning enough to live decently again and are probably also in deep debt?
For exactly the same reasons, suicide is rampant among Indian farmers. Since the late 1990s, 166,000 of them have offed themselves (in addition to which 8 million left the land) –mainly thanks to Monsanto. They were hyped on buying genetically engineered seeds and their crops failed, because they couldn’t survive without irrigation plus Monsanto’s costly fertilizers and pesticides. Then, after the first failure, the farmers couldn’t even collect seeds from their fields to try again, the damn plants being patented and often programmed to sprout only once.
The GM industry is doing the same to growers everywhere — for instance in Iraq, the ancient cradle of agriculture that made permanent settlements and civilization as we’ve known it possible. And wherever these Frankenseeds get planted, they’ll soon be cross-pollinated to corrupt other fields.
This is all, all, ALL about greed. There’s no other way to understand what’s happening to everyone, everywhere, as far as I can see. Corporations — entities initially chartered by governments strictly to serve the public good and dissolved when they didn’t — have taken control of our governments, and even of supra-national organizations like the EU and UN.
Which brings us to the week’s biggest story: the alleged independence of “Kosova”: the Kosovo province of Serbia, itself a scrap left from the destruction of Yugoslavia. We were all duped about that, as about so much else. The nation was doing very well, thank you, and didn’t care to relinquish its resources to corporate pirates, under the heel of the World Bank/IMF jackboot. Hence, the genocide libel, the bombs, the region’s resultant poverty and dependency. It’s all pure “Shock Doctrine” stuff. Over the past 9 years of NATO rule, unemployment has risen to 60 percent and now, under EU regency, citizens of the “independent” state will work for peanuts, while its puppet rulers fatten. Kosovar drug lords and prostitution profiteers, who got their start as KLA terrorists we funded to help break up Yugoslavia, will be well looked after under their lately installed Eurobremer (Pieter Feith) and a 2,000-member porta-police state, augmented by Britain’s Welsh Guards. The Dutchman Feith will complete privatization of what remains, in complicity with our largely privatized military running Camp Bondsteel — the largest U.S. base since Danang. Built and serviced by Halliburton’s KBR, of course, it’s complete with extensive detention facilities and sited to watch over the Caspian pipeline.
No need to guess who’s paying the steep tab for Camp Bondsteel and the chain of other new pipeline-nanny bases stretching eastward from Iraq into all the “stans”, is there? It doesn’t matter a lick to our “democratic” government what we think about that — unless, of course, we get too vocal in opposition, in which case they’ve got federal prosecutors to sic on us. If even state governors aren’t safe from them, who is?
Two brief notes will complete this review of the week past:
Have you noticed — in, say, a raft of editorials and a shocking e-mail from Wes Clark — how this Kosovan “independence” thingy is being extolled, alongside widespread condemnatory use of the word “nationalism”? They’re out to break down our last conceivable barriers against total depredation, or so it seems to me.
However, on the brightest note struck in a very long while, it appears from one editorial that Obama may have fallen under the salubrious influence of Ralph Gomory, which would be definitively what he needs to break the death-grip of the DLC corporatists. For news of what could conceivably morph into a genuine turnaround, please read HERE and HERE.