With the resignation from Congress of Anthony Weiner, has our “long, national nightmare” finally ended?
Well, yes, we can expect (hope) that the corporate media overdose/distraction on this cyber-sex scandal and self-humiliation of an elected member (pardon the expression) of Congress will finally end, and, with it, the nearly daily adolescent-level front page headlines in daily scandal sheets such as the N.Y. Post, N.Y. Daily News, and Newsday, much to their self-inflicted shame and discredit, as well as the relentless routines by late-night comedians Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Jon Stewart, among so many others.
But, in that far-off land of true reality with which U.S. corporate media and D.C. politics rarely intersect, the U.S.’s true National Nightmares not only continue, but expand daily: at least six wars; a bloated imperial militarism budget which sucks life out of all other programs; crushing unemployment; increased surveillance of us all; increased powers to the imperial presidency; and, worst of all, increasing catastrophic climate chaos which threatens future generations.
While TV viewers and newspaper readers have been overwhelmed with, and encouraged to bask in, the silly, sordid, pathetic details of one Congressman’s fall from grace, a fall no worse than that of Christopher Lee’s, David Vitter’s, John Edwards’, Larry Craig’s, or John Ensign’s, our elected government has been carrying out policies which are far worse than these sexual escapades, but which are NEVER the subject of ANY scrutiny, neither serious nor comedic, by our corporate media, its pundits, and its comedians.
As I write this, our Nobel Peace Prize-winning President has now added wars on the people of Somalia and Yemen to his catalogue of horrors in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya.
It doesn’t matter that three of those illegal wars of aggression against states which never threatened the security of the world’s only military superpower were started by the Bush/Cheney War Criminal administration. Obama, our latest War Criminal posing as President (or are they synonymous?) took office promising to the end the Iraq war/occupation (he hasn’t), to close the Guantanamo torture prison (he hasn’t), and to expand the Afghan War (he has, and with a bloody vengeance). The torture prison at Bagram, Afghanistan, the many CIA “black site” prisons, kidnapping (“extraordinary rendition”), and torture by extended solitary confinement all continue (one such victim, Bradley Manning, never tried in court, has been punished for more than a year now) under our Nobel Laureate President.
Meanwhile, “our” Congress has chosen, against rising popular opposition, to continue funding these wars of aggression, and, until now, has docilely even gone along with funding the U.S./NATO war on Libyans.
As for Yemen and Somalia, there has been scarcely a peep out of “our” elected Congressional representatives about deadly U.S. militarism against the people of those countries.
As the U.S. builds and consolidates its Military Empire of bases in the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and now, prepares to place bases in Africa (Libya is not merely about oil), while maintaining its bases built in Western Europe since 1945, as well as newer ones in Eastern Europe, and continues to “patrol” the world’s oceans, seas and straits with its eleven nuclear-armed aircraft carrier task forces and city-destroying missile submarines, its citizens at home wonder why jobs programs here have not been implemented to decrease the highest unemployment level since the Great Depression.
In addition to thousands of military bases in the U.S. and its “possessions” (actually colonies such as Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico), the U.S. Empire consists of more than 800 military bases around the globe, 66 years after World War II ended, and 20 years after the USSR ended.
As if this colossal waste of money (hundreds of billions of dollars per year) and lives wasn’t bad enough, the Imperial Presidency, growing more authoritarian since at least Lyndon Johnson, now insists it can not only wage war without Congressional approval (bombing Libya is war, despite Obama’s silver-tongued euphemisms), but also insists on the “right” to murder anyone (including U.S. citizens) anywhere, without arrest or trial, if the President deems that person a “terrorist”. Extra-judicial executions are one hallmark of tyrants and dictators, and, as history teaches us relentlessly, when authoritarian/dictatorial violence is committed abroad as a matter of policy, as it now is excessively by the U.S., we citizens back here at home will also suffer. As one of the most astute social critics and political theorists of the 20th century, Hannah Arendt, a refugee from Nazi Germany, put it: “Empire abroad entails tyranny at home.”
This tyranny is not yet obvious to most USans. But we are being surveilled by many of our 16 “intelligence” agencies, notably the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA, regardless of any safeguards we thought were put in place following the 1975 Church Committee Report.
Our right to privacy has been as degraded, at least, as our Constitution, by the actions, policies, and decisions of our Presidents, Congresses, and Supreme Courts going back at least to the 1980’s. The “War on Terror” (which is actually a War OF Terror) has only made things worse for Muslims and political activists in the U.S. since the suspicious 9/11/01 terrorism, which has never been fully and objectively investigated without official interference and media (both corporate and alternative) bias.
For example, nearly ten years after 9/11, no official, scientifically sensible, peer-reviewed explanation of the collapse of the third World Trade Center skyscraper, Building 7, straight down into its own footprint at freefall speed, resembling a controlled demolition by planted explosives, has ever been offered. Yet those poorly-investigated acts of terrorism have been used by all U.S. politicians, pundits, and media news readers as justification for expanding wars on Muslims, as though weak nations such as Afghanistan could ever destroy the U.S., even if they wanted to.
Though the greatest threats to the existence of the U.S. once came from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, both of which ended by September, 1945, and the USSR’s nuclear arsenal, which still exists in the current smaller, but deadly nuclear arsenal of Russia, we are told we must fear shoe bombers, underwear bombers, and other individual terrorists when we use airports and our privacy rights are violated by TSA agents, and that we must meekly, obediently accept soldiers in camouflage uniforms and armed with submachine guns patrolling our commuter train terminals. Soon we will see them on subway stations and at bus stops. Meanwhile, our mail, email, and phone calls are all subject to surreptitious inspection.
This hyper-militarized society, this Corporate-Militarist Empire, paid for by our mandated taxes (while so many hugely profitable corporations which profit from all our wars and militarism evade their tax responsibility), is the true National Nightmare that our irresponsible, anti-democratic corporate media willfully ignores as it thrusts (pun intended) celebrity sexual and drug scandals in our faces when it is not destroying our all-too-willing brain cells with insipid laugh-tracked sitcoms, “reality” programs highlighting the worst excesses of our species, and by-the-numbers police procedurals where the bad guys and gals are usually brought to some form of justice.
Finally, while tens of millions of USans are unemployed or so under-employed that they cannot ever pay their bills, the U.S., among the worst polluting nations and contributors to global weirding (the U.S. military is the biggest institutional polluter and contributor to global weirding on earth), refuses to take any sensible steps, including a mass government program of creating jobs in alternative, clean energy and expanding our woefully insufficient public mass transit systems nationwide, to address our unemployment as well as the increasing catastrophic climate chaos .
We live in a faux republic where “our” governmental representatives ignore the will of the people in deference to the demands of their corporate patrons and overlords. Single-payer Medicare for all healthcare would not only cut our absurdly rising health care costs but insure every single USan while relieving all employers of any burdens of contributing to employees’ health care insurance. National polls consistently show that large majorities of USans support such a sensible health care system when it is explained to them, but Congress and all Presidents and presidential candidates from the two corporate parties refuse to consider it.
Likewise, close to 70% of USans want the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan, and most USans want to maintain Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and fund infrastructure repair and education while cutting military spending, but the President and Congress refuse to listen to us.
Jobs are more important to most USans right now than the deficit or the national debt, but the political class in D.C. and its propaganda arm, corporate media, ignore what the people want and harp on these other, less-pressing problems instead.
So we now live in a thoroughly corporatized and militarized surveillance state in which people’s just and sensible needs and wishes are ignored so that the Empire can continue to expand and generate profits for the Corporatist-Militarist Ruling Class, no matter how many people suffer and die at home or abroad.
The veneer of “normalcy” and “sanity” smeared across all of these anti-democracy, anti-human, anti-life, anti-sustainable policies by politicians and media alike, aided and abetted by most “educational” institutions in our society and well-funded by corporate sociopaths who stand to gain the most by these cruel policies must not distract us from what is really happening: the lives of millions of people here in the U.S. and around the globe are being devastated, if not destroyed, by an insidious ideology which puts corporate profits above all else, including morality, and which uses and abuses the very troops we all believe we should support in the effort to maximize those blood-soaked profits, regardless of the consequences to any and all species on our only planet.
This level of psychopathology is unprecedented in human history not because of the brutality and murder it spawns, which have always been consequences of power-lust and greed, but because of the immense power of the corporatist-militarist state which wields it in the 21st century, and the immense influence of its major propaganda apparatus, the corporate media, which embellishes, polishes, disguises, enhances, and enables these brutal policies to be carried out.
Our government is out of any control we might have thought we had over it, and our taxes continue to pay for wars abroad and destruction of our rights at home, with our adult children given the Hobson’s choice of flipping burgers or fighting for the Empire abroad, as our young children and grandchildren face a future of devastating environmental catastrophes, the likes of which we can only imagine, because we have never faced such events and climate.
Our media, falling far short of informing, educating, and enlightening the populace so that we can make informed decisions as required of citizens in a supposed “democratic republic”, has devolved and deteriorated into a very enthusiastic accomplice to war crimes, crimes against humanity, devastation of the planet, and extremely serious threats to the future of our children and grandchildren. The paltry excuse of “ratings” and “profit” will not excuse them from the condemnation they so richly deserve.
This is the true National Nightmare our politicians and media refuse to present to us, and keep from us by transparent, absurd distractions such as “Weinergate”, or Sarah Palin’s latest bus tour. It’s not just that we don’t need politicians and media which thrive on such foolishly dangerous distractions from our true problems; these two socio-political institutions are now a serious obstacle to any chances we may have of understanding the problems which threaten all of us so that we may have any chance of addressing, let alone starting to solve those problems; and they have demonstrated, beyond a doubt, that they cannot any longer be trusted to function as they must if we are to ever begin to evolve a real democracy here.
It is up to us to try, though I have no hope of our success, to stop all of this inanity and brutality. We must abandon the delusion that our political system, including the corrupt media, so captured by the Corporatist-Militarists now, can achieve this.
It is truly up to us to organize at every level – locally, regionally, nationally – to oppose these human monsters who imperil our future. If it takes general strikes on regional, then national levels, so be it. If it takes massive, spreading boycotts of products and services made by the corporatist-militarist monsters, so be it. If it takes disinvestment from the stocks of these rapacious murderers, so be it. Even a product sticker campaign, in which we consumers (we ceased being citizens decades ago) put stickers saying “This product kills people and the planet” on as many corporatist-militarist products as possible, can have a positive effect.
We must re-direct our view of the future to what is truly beneficial for our succeeding generations and the planet, regardless of ideology, politics, and supposed business theories. We must imagine what our great-grandchildren will face if we keep living the way we do now, still tolerating the inhumane, cruel economic/political systems we have allowed to evolve since at least 1945.
This is a National Nightmare we must awaken from, and strive to do whatever we can to change.
We can no longer rely on the two corporate parties to represent us, nor what truly, desperately now needs to be done. They are the dustbin of history and a dead end for our nation, our planet, and all species. They, and their media, are worse than useless; they are destructive and dangerous. They no longer deserve our allegiance, support, or even our attention. They care only about their own bottom lines, and in the 21st century, the century of global weirding and catastrophic climate chaos, they are worse than an anachronism; they are a menace to our future.
We must free ourselves from the delusion that this nation is “exceptional”, or that its current economic-political system offers any hope for a sustainable, democratic, humane future.
Economic systems are made to serve people, not the other way around. The only worthwhile economic ideology is one of compassion and environmental sustainability, neither of which is possible under corporatism.
The hour is very, very late.
We must start to act as though our children truly matter more than the lies and illusions spawned by the Corporatist-Militarist Ruling Class now attempting to run the world, and centered in the United States.
We owe it to ourselves.
We owe it to our descendents.
We owe it to the planet.