Bageant: America’s totalitarian democracy and the politics of plunder

My real job has been a pain in the ass lately.  More so than even usual.  I’ll try to produce an original piece by tomorrow, but in the meantime, Joe Bageant just published another terrific essay that I think everybody needs to read.


Live from Planet Norte
America’s totalitarian democracy and the politics of plunder, or, life is a titty tuck and a Dodge truck

By Joe Bageant

Winchester, Virginia

Starting with the Homeland Security probe at Washington’s Reagan Airport, arrival back in the United States resembles an alien abduction to a planet of bright lights, strange beings and incomprehensible behavior. The featureless mysophobic landscape of DC’s Virginia suburbs seems to indicate that homogeneity and sterility are the native religions. Especially after spending eight months in Mexico’s pungent atmosphere of funky, sensual open air markets, rotting vegetation, smoking street food grills, sweat, agave nectar and ghost orchids.

The uniformity on Planet Norte is striking. Each person is a unit, installed in life support boxes in the suburbs and cities; all are fed, clothed by the same closed-loop corporate industrial system. Everywhere you look, inhabitants are plugged in at the brainstem to screens downloading their state approved daily consciousness updates. iPods, Blackberries, notebook computers, monitors in cubicles, and the ubiquitous TV screens in lobbies, bars, waiting rooms, even in taxicabs, mentally knead the public brain and condition its reactions to non-Americaness. Which may be defined as anything that does not come from of Washington, DC, Microsoft or Wal-Mart.

For such a big country, the “American experience” is extremely narrow and provincial, leaving its people with approximately the same comprehension of the outside world as an oyster bed. Yet there is that relentless busyness of Nortenians. That sort of constant movement that indicates all parties are busy-busy-busy, but offers no clue as to just what they are busy at.

We can be sure however, that it has to do with consuming. Everything in America has to do with consuming. So much so that we find not the slightest embarrassment in calling ourselves “the consumer society.” Which is probably just as well, since calling ourselves something such as “the just society” might have been aiming a bit too high? Especially for a nation that never did find enough popular support to pass any of the 200 anti-lynching bills brought before its Congress (even Franklin Roosevelt refused to back them).

On the other hand, there is no disputing that we do reduce all things to consumption. Or acquiring money for consumption. Or paying on the debt for past consumption. It keeps things simple, and stamps them as authentically American.

For example, now faced with what may be the biggest ecological disaster in human history, I’m hearing average Americans up here talk of the Gulf oil “spill” (when they speak of it at all — TV gives the illusion those outside the Gulf region give a shit), in terms of its effect on: (A) the price of seafood; and (B) jobs in tourism and fishing. Only trolls stunted by generations of inbred American style capitalism could do such a thing: reduce a massive ocean dead zone to the cost of a shrimp cocktail or a car payment.

Meanwhile, even as capitalism shows every sign of collapsing upon them under the weight of its sheer non-sustainability, Norteamericanos wait like patient, not-too-bright children for its “recovery.” Recovery, of course, is that time when they can once again run through the malls and outlet stores, the car lots and the fried chicken palaces eating, grabbing and consuming. No doubt, something resembling a recovery will be staged for their benefit, thereby goosing their pocketbooks at least one more time before the rest of the world forecloses on the country.

Let ‘er rip! There’s plenty more where that came from

On Planet Norte nothing is finite. Not even money, which, under the flag of the consumer society, you can keep borrowing forever. Equally limitless is oil, infinite quantities of which are being hidden from us by a consortium of energy companies. Several people here in the States have told me that the size of the Gulf oil spill is proof that there is plenty of oil in still in the ground, and that this “peak oil stuff” is a scare tactic, an excuse to keep the price up. They were dead serious.

Considering the inexhaustibility of Planet Norte, it’s no surprise its inhabitants have never doubted the “American Dream,” the promise that every generation of Americans can be fatter, richer and burn up more resources than the previous one, ad infinitum.

All of which makes folks like me, and probably you too, want to run pulling out our hair and screaming, “What the fuck has happened to these people? From the start, it was clear that Americans were never going to win any prizes for insight. But this is ridiculous. Is it the hormones in the meat? Pollution? A brain eating fungus? How on God’s (once) green earth can a nation so frigging ‘out of it’ manage to survive each day — much less constitute an ongoing threat to the rest of the world?”

However, you must hand it to us that, so far, we have managed to sustain this culture of “I want it all, everything, the whole shebang, and I want it right now!” Except for the liberal and leftie websites and organizations, few seriously question it. When your designated role as a citizen is to live out a round-the-clock materialistic wet dream, why would anybody want to question it? Besides, seeing is believing. So reality is a titty tuck or a Dodge truck, and Ruby Tuesday delivering “falling off the bone tender” manna 24/7. Thank God It’s Friday and go ahead, do it, put another trip to Cancun on the plastic. It’s a limitless world, baby!

In my little casita back in Mexico, limits are very real. Because price per unit escalates with increased usage, we have to pay serious attention to electricity. So does government. Our municipality is so conscious of every kilowatt that traffic lights have no green or orange phase — which saves on expensive bulbs too — and it seems to work out just fine. You get one streetlight per block. Water is available to our village’s neighborhoods only every other day, so it has to be stored in rooftop tanks. Once in the tank, gravity eliminates the need for further electric pumps. Every single plastic bag, large or small, is used for household trash, then hung on the front gate to be collected. You accept limits every day in Mexico and live within them.

But for that twenty percent or so of the planet living in the (over) developed western nations — thanks to colonial plundering for resources, and later, world banking scams — the limits of the natural world have never sunk in. Not really. Oh, ecological limits can be intellectually real to us, and we can have discussions about them. And being comparatively rich, we can build wind turbines and solar panels, and tell ourselves smug lies about “sustainable energy” and “green solutions.” However, in our daily world, the affective one that governs our behavior, the one that tells us what we honestly need to deal with and what we do not, there are no apparent limits or potential end of anything. For example, if you wanted a glass of ice water right now, you could walk over to a refrigerator and get it. Most of the world cannot.

We assume much. We assume that when we get up every morning the coffee maker will come on and the car will start. We assume that everything imaginable is available for a price, even if we cannot come up with that price. But we never really worry about having food or clothing, other than its style and type. Our biggest concerns turn on such things as who will win the World Cup or be eliminated from American Idol. The social and political environment assures us to believe we can afford to be consumed by these trivialities. The world of Americans has been like that for generations. So how could it possibly come to an end? Lest one have doubts, every voice of authority tells us that no matter how bad things may seem at times, they always “return to normal.”

This theme of engorgement and spectacle endures, thrives really, year after year, despite even the slowly unfolding world economic collapse. But it is Americans in particular who become stupider by any historical measure of intelligence. Millions pay money to visit Branson, Missouri. Or Holy Land Christian Theme Park, in Orlando, where you can have the improbable experience of “fun with the world’s most popular Biblical characters” (Hmmmm, maybe Mary Magdalene) and watch Jesus get crucified daily. And just when you think you’ve seen every possible insult to the democratic process a degraded society can vomit up, some new one comes hurtling in your direction. Like those fat women in pink sweatpants leering from our TV screens, dangling teabags and vowing revenge for they know not what.

For a thinking person, a low-grade depression settles in, alongside an unspoken fatalism about the future of the human race, particularly the American portion. That’s the point I reached a year or so ago. I would probably be ashamed to admit it, if I did not receive hundreds of emails from readers who feel the same way.

If nothing else though, in the process of building our own gilded rat cage, we have proven that old saw about democracy eventually leading to mediocrity to be true. Especially if you keep dumbing down all the rats. After all, Dan Quayle, Donald Trump and George W. Bush hold advanced degrees from top universities in law, finance and business. The head rats, our “leaders,” (if it is even possible to lead anybody anywhere inside a cage), have proven to be as mediocre and clueless as anyone else. Which is sort of proof we are a democracy, if we want to look at it that way. While it is a myth that virtually anybody can grow up to be president, we have demonstrated that nitwits have more than a fighting chance. During my 40 years writing media ass-wipe for the public, I have interviewed many of “The best of my generation”, and believe me; most of them were not much.

Naturally, they believe they are far superior by virtue of having made it to an elevated point in the gilded cage, closer to the feed, water and sex. Because they believe it, and the media echoes their belief, hovering and quoting them, discussing their every brain fart, we tend to believe it too. Nothing shakes our belief, not even staring directly into the face of a congenital liar and nitwit like Sarah Palin, or a careening set of brainless balls like Donald Trump or a retarded jackal like George W. Bush. Americans are unable to explain why such people “rise to the top” in our country. We just accept that they do, and assume that America’s process of natural selection — survival of the wealthiest — is at work. These people are rich; therefore, they should run the country. God said so. It’s a uniquely American principal of governance, which in itself, makes the case for our stupidity.

If it’s control you want

Yet, despite such intellectual and moral torpor, some of the numbest bozos are beginning to suspect that the wheels are coming off their “have everything” society. One clue is that every time they check, they have less than before. “There’s other signs too,” concludes our bozo. “You gotcher radical Muslims blowing shit up, or plotting to. China holds the mortgage on our asses. Who wuudda ever thunk it? The bodies of our fallen heroes are being tossed out of the revered Arlington Cemetery into the landfill. You got yer freshwater fish with three eyes, obese high school kids droppin dead of heart attacks, meth epidemics out in the boondocks and wild coyotes moving into big cities. It’s all just too godamned much!” And so, right in the middle of the morning commute, our bozo pulls over onto the roadside berm, puts his hands up against the windshield and screams. “AAAAAAAGH! Is anybody in control here, for Christ sake?”

Control huh? Nothing could be easier to obtain. Just sit back allow those who want total control of the government to have it. The GOP is sure to come up a candidate willing to pistol whip this country into shape. And that solution looks more attractive by the day. As violent competition for survival increases and resources diminish, the public demands more government control. Control of borders, drug lords with entire armies of their own, pillaging by banks. Who else but the government is capable of beating all those sociopathic freaks out there into submission?

No less a personage than Thomas Jefferson pointed out that, whether for good or evil, controlling the people is the main thing all governments do best. Both Jefferson and Stalin understood this. They also understood that government control is a one-way street — it never voluntarily contracts, never shrinks. Government grows incrementally in the best of times, and balloons exponentially during the worst. When the people are anxious or fearful, when the have-nots are coming out of the woodwork for their share and there is genuine risk of losing something, the citizens always demand more government control. Given enough time, all government control, regardless of type or stripe, metastasizes — whether it be into the religious control of a theocratic state, or the democratic totalitarianism of the United States.

Although totalitarian democracy is well solidified in the U.S., it is difficult, if not impossible, for its citizens or the outside world to name the beast, due to the outward appearance of freedom. Petty liberties are left intact. The process of orderly elections is maintained, thus retaining the world’s general respect as a free country. After all, the people do “exercise their will” by voting.

Beyond that, the people have no further participation in, or effect upon the government’s decision-making process regarding the public’s will. From that point onward, an economic, political, and military élite interpret the general will as what best fits their own interests. A media elite then sells their decisions, such as war or destruction of the social safety net as the people’s choice. Wars are packaged and marketed as “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” fought by “our heroes.” Policies kicking the slats from under the old, the poor and the weak are sold as “eliminating wasteful, unfair entitlements,” such as elder care and child nutrition. Everybody knows that words such as entitlements, elder care and child nutrition are code words in capitalism speak. Elder care wastes money on worn-out old fuckers who can no longer work and pay their own way. Child nutrition is just a nigger/wetback feeding program that causes them to multiply even more, draining off valuable funds the already rich could have put to better use.

Liberty nonetheless abounds in a totalitarian democracy. Open elections verify majority rule. The slaves are free to elect their masters, and that is enough to satisfy most folks in the land of the free. That, along with 100-plus cable channels to keep us entertained inside the cage. We know we are powerless, but better the devil you know than evil socialism, where you are not allowed to take out a second mortgage on your cage.

What’s a little totalitarian oppression, anyway?

In the big picture however, the hardening of our totalitarian state is a piffle, compared to what drives the people to accept such a state. That driver is the escalating social pressures of six billion humans, and the ecocide caused by our disastrous hydrocarbon culture. Would that the state and its media allow the public enough information to make the connection between things like global warming, peak oil, desertification and the state’s wars we pay for and die in.

From the dawn of agriculture, human civilization has been a net subtraction from the environment on which we depend for life. Consider what once existed, and what little of it is left. Consider the burgeoning hordes everywhere burning, smelting, polluting, and generally devouring what remains. Where is that leading us?

You don’t need to call the Harvard’s environmental science department for the answer (even though the profs and scientists there maintain the charade that we do, to protect their rackets). Despite the rule of scientism and the fashionable modern disdain for human intuition, common sense is still a viable option. Does common sense and experience tell you that all six billion of us are suddenly going to come to Jesus and save the planet? Suddenly be seized by the spirit of universal cooperation and pagan love for Gaia? Are those billions going to quit doing what our species has done for 15,000 years — attacking nature first with the stone axe, then the plow, and later with atomic energy?

Call me a grim old fatalist, but I just do not see the human race turning things around. Not because humans are inherently evil (although pimping Gaia to death comes close), but because we are what we are. In any case, we are not going to stop eating, shitting, burning up stuff to stay warm, or following the genetic imperative to breed. How can we solve the problem when we are the problem, other than by self-extinction?

So here it is, top of the ninth round, and Gaia is on the ropes with cuts over both eyes, and no referee on the mat. Homo sapiens are moving in for the killer punch. It’s been an ugly fight. But the truth is that there will be no winner. Certainly not man, considering that his triumph results in the specter of human self-extinction, dieback or die-off, or at least by massive die-back.

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream

Informed and globally conscious people are sickened, heartbroken by the spectral truth. But to use the same Neal Cassady quote for the second time this year: “To have seen a specter is not everything.”

In fact, it even has a good side. Transformation. Once you honestly accept what you have seen, you are changed, released from the previous stress and fear. Like so many feared experiences, it is its own psychodynamic, and is about “coming out the other side” of the experience. Accepting such a truth — especially for pathologically optimistic, cheer stressed Americans — shatters many painfully held illusions. The chief one is that we are the animating force behind all significant change, and that the massive damage we do is “progress”). In their place grows a new inner awareness. Although it does not conform to any popular definition as such, the easiest way to describe it is “spiritual,” Who in these times, you may ask, believes in the spirit as an animating force of mankind? My answer is: Those who can be still enough to see that spirit moving.

With it comes the awareness and acceptance of forces far more powerful than our puny anthropocentric illusions of planetary authority. We can arrive at this understanding by way of thinking, logic and reason. The mind is a cumbersome and inefficient way to go about escaping traps you build with your mind, but yes, it can be done. Most educated people in this science worshipping age prefer the convoluted path of logic and rational exercise, over calmly opening one’s eyes and heart to the world before us, as wiser men have done for thousands of years.

I can see why. Pay the money and put in enough university time, and it’s relatively easy to end up certified, acceptable, and equipped with the professional jargon necessary to impress yourself and others that you are an expert of some sort. One of society’s answer guys, the kind universities and corporations pay good money to own. But it’s downright hard to be calm, to maintain inner stillness. Beyond that, inner stillness does not much impress or frighten others in the rat fight for a good spot at the feeder. Worse yet, it’s free. No money it.

But stillness of mind opens onto the fathomless void, where we are dwarfed into utter insignificance. It makes clear how little we comprehend — how much we do not know and never will, and that the greater the fire we build, the more darkness is revealed.

Edwin Arnold reminds us that when it comes to sinking the string of thought into that fathomless void, “Who asks doth err, Who answers, errs more,” because, as any searcher by way of mortal mind discovers:

Veil after veil will lift — but there must be
Veil upon veil behind.

Either way, there never was any guarantee that we would like the universal truth. And the truth is that the universe is busy enough hurling toward its destiny, and does not give a rat’s ass what we do or do not like. Or whether a smear of biology on a speck of cosmic dust manages to poison itself to death.

So stay strong. Transcend. Find reasons to love.

Nobody ever gets out of this world alive, anyway.

—————

Joe Bageant is the author of Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War. His newest book, Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir, deals with America’s permanent white underclass, and how it was intentionally created. To be released in September in Australia and October in the United Kingdom. Rainbow Pie is available for preorder from Amazon-UK and Amazon-Canada. In Australia, the book may be pre-ordered at Scribe Publications.

Morgellons and the CIA’s MK/NAOMI Project

“I regard Morgellons disorder as a hybrid bio-nano-machine terror weapon. Establishment medicine and the government, which is now a fraudulent foreign-owned corporation, go to great lengths to protect Morgellons from investigation of any sort. Morgellons is not one thing but is actually a system of multiple attack vectors that damage the body in numerous ways and carry various DNA and RNA strands. It is made in laboratories by talented men and women who have lost their souls and adhere to satanic principles.”

~ Dr. Edward Spencer

This is a really long article (over 11,000 words), so I’m only going to post links to it, but I highly recommend reading the whole thing.  One of the authors, H.P. Albarelli, recently wrote a terrific book called A Terrible Mistake, which shined a light on the CIA’s cold war era mind control and biological weapons programs.  I highly recommend that as well.

In this most recent piece, Albarelli and Zoe Martell look into the extremely controversial topic of Morgellons disease, the very existence of which is steadfastly denied by the mainstream medical community.

The completely bizarre collection of symptoms that fall under the umbrella of Morgellons include the sensation of insects crawling on and biting the skin, joint and muscle pain, crippling fatigue, and persistent skin lesions containing multi-colored strands of fibrous material that react to attempts at removal by withdrawing into the body!

Albarelli and Martell’s search for the possible origin of Morgellons led them down several deep state back alleys, including bio weapons, genetics, nanotechnology, and the CIA’s infamous MK/Naomi project.

WARNING: The article is graphics heavy, and lots of them are truly creepy!

Part 1: Morgellons Victims Across the US and Europe
by Hank P. Albarelli Jr., Zoe Martell

Part 2: Morgellons and the CIA’s MK/NAOMI Project

Senate says no to unemployment extension, but HELLS YEAH! to war and corporate wellfare

Yesterday, the United States Senate failed to pass an extension of unemployment benefits.

A spokesperson for the Senate did NOT say the following:

“Fuck all of you lazy, shiftless, crybaby losers without jobs.  If all of you just tried harder, you’d be able to take advantage of the American dream, because let’s face facts, assholes, hard work is always rewarded here in the greatest country on earth.  We’re sincerely sorry that you lack the proper work ethic to succeed.  I mean, granted, we did start the unemployment-a-thon rolling when we passed NAFTA way back in 1994, pretending that it wasn’t perfectly fucking obvious to anyone with half a goddamn brain that it would incentivize the corporate oligarchs to offshore millions of jobs to countries with no environmental controls that pay their workers 27 cents per week.

And yes, it’s also true that we repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000, and then generally relaxed many more financial regulations, all of which paved the way for commercial banks to act like casinos, which, in turn, led to the recent global economic collapse, and that certainly hasn’t helped you sorry sacks of shit to find jobs that no longer exist, and most likely never will, ever again, but hey, you really should have adapted to the new economic playing field by getting Harvard business degrees, and learning how to capitalize on the demise of America’s working and middle classes, while making yourselves too big to fail™.

Look on the bright side, though.  You could always enlist in the United States Corporate Resource Procurement Agency.  They’re always looking for a few good men/women, and we’ve somehow found it in our hearts to allocate 720 billion dollars towards that endeavor for 2011.  Of course, those resources will mostly go to international corporations that will funnel their profits either directly to their executives, or towards building infrastructure in other countries where the workers are far less finicky than you ungrateful fucks, but at least you’ll be able to feel like part of the team.

Buck up, buttercup, and stop blaming everybody else for your failures.”

McChrystal out; Petraeus once again skipper of the Good Ship Slaughter

Have you heard all about the Stanley McChrystal hoo ha?

As per MSNBC:

President Barack Obama sacked his loose-lipped Afghanistan commander Wednesday…

and

Obama said bluntly that “Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s scornful remarks about administration officials represent conduct that “undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.”

Obama went on to assure the Military Industrial Complex, ooops, I mean the American people, that “This is a change in personnel but it is not a change in policy.”

Well shit.  THAT’s a relief.

For a second there I was afraid that a new skipper for the Good Ship Slaughter might mean that we were going to take a completely different approach to our women and children eviscerating corporate empire expansion, but nope, we’re just going to hand the keys back over to the ever loyal David Petraeus, who’s reappointment immediately comforted Lockheed Martin, Boeing, DynCorp, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Blackwater, or Xe, or whatever the fuck that particular CIA cutout happens to be calling itself this week.

Do you remember a few months ago when McChrystal said this?

“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.”

McChrystal uttered those words just this past March when one of the few reporters who pay attention to such trivia informed him that “American and NATO troops firing from passing convoys and military checkpoints have killed 30 Afghans and wounded 80 others since last summer, but in no instance did the victims prove to be a danger to troops.”

Nothing wrong with that, I suppose.  It was simply a statement of fact made by the man Obama had hand-picked to be the commander of the American killing machine in Afghanistan.  And hell, Obama himself has claimed the right to murder anyone, at any time, anywhere on the planet, with no trial, or any other of those troublesome trappings of civilization, so why on earth should we have expected him to have a problem with his commander’s public admittance that his killing machine had shot an amazing number of people who have never proven to be a threat?

But holy smokes!  Do not, under any circumstances, ever question the boss.  That’s insubordination and will not be tolerated.  Do not ever say that “Obama didn’t seem very engaged,” or refer to Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, as a “clown” who remains “stuck in 1985,” because that, sports fans, will get you fired quicker than screwing your boss’s wife with his high school football trophy.

Meet the new boss, same as the blah, blah, blah…

UPDATE

The great Arthur Silber has written an epic essay on the same subject, and it’s a must read.

Murder with Malice Aforethought, or: Screw You — My Dick Is the Biggest!

So McChrystal is out.

As the murderous destructiveness of the Death State increases in every direction, nauseating charades of this kind will no doubt also occur with increasing frequency. I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in analyzing what so many others consider to be questions of significance: whether McChrystal violated the sacraments of the civilian-military command structure, what Obama had to do to maintain his authority as Commander-in-Chief, and so on. I would further suggest that, if you remain a civilized human being to any measurable degree, such questions should be of no concern to you. That these and similar issues of allegedly vital interest have dominated the national debate about McChrystal’s “insubordination” tells you everything you need to know about how disgustingly uncivilized the United States government and its ancillary media culture are today.

Here, we will be astonishingly, unforgivably rude, and we will mention those issues which ought to be the focus of debate — but again, this assumes that civilization and its foundational requirement, recognition of the sacred and irreplaceable value of a single human life, remain operative to a significant degree.

I don’t give a glimmer of a shadow of the faintest damn about the outcome of incidents of this kind, because the major participants are all war criminals. I have been planning for some time an explanation of an especially unforgivable aspect of the entirely phony moral posturing engaged in by virtually all those who take part in our national discussion. The particular aspect to which I refer is this: almost no one takes the concepts of war crimes and war criminals seriously at all.

I’ve set out certain key provisions of the Nuremberg Principles before. Read the following again (or for the first time), and as you read it, think about the plain meaning of these words, especially the passages that I’ve highlighted:

Principle VI

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

1. Crimes against peace:
1. Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
2. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

2. War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

3. Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law.

Yes, I’ve highlighted all of it, because all of it is directly relevant to the war criminals now occupying the highest levels of the Obama administration, as it was directly relevant to the war criminals in the Bush administration.

Item: Obama and his administration claim the “right” to murder anyone in the world, wherever he or she may be, for whatever reason they choose — or for no reason at all. Obama and his administration recognize no upper limit to the number of people they can murder in this manner: they can murder as many people as they wish. And they claim there is nothing at all that may impede their exercise of this “right.”

This is the game entire. Understand this: once Obama and his administration have claimed this, there is nothing left to argue about. They can murder you — and they can murder anyone else at all. What in the name of anything you hold holy remains to be “debated” once a vile, damnable “right” of this kind has been claimed?

This is a war crime: “murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory…”

It is also a crime against humanity: “Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population…”

Under Principle VII, all those who are complicit in these crimes are also guilty.

Item: Ongoing drone attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, which regularly and systematically kill large numbers of civilians. These murders, too, are war crimes and crimes against humanity; all those who are complicit in the crimes are also guilty.

Item: Obama has not “ended torture,” and he never did. See here, here and here. Torture is a war crime and a crime against humanity. All those who are complicit in the crimes are also guilty.

There are many other specifics that could be added to these three items. But — if you are honest about the plain meaning of these provisions of the Nuremberg Principles — any one of the three items alone is sufficient to make the judgment. Put all three of them together, and add in just some of the further specifics that could be mentioned, and the conclusion is unavoidable.

Yet most people continue to avoid it. If you avoid it, do not expect to be viewed with any degree of seriousness or with even a minimal degree of respect by anyone who is genuinely civilized and who gives a damn.

In my earlier article discussing application of the Nuremberg Principles, I wrote:

So which individuals are guilty of the commission of crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity? Certainly all the major officials of the Bush administration during the period of the planning and implementation of the invasion of Iraq and during the subsequent occupation. [Al] Gore refers to “they,” dishonestly attempting to place all responsibility with the Republicans. The facts and the historical record will not support flimsy strategems of this kind. So add to the list of criminals all those in Congress who voted for the Iraq AUMF, as well as all those who voted to fund the war and the continuing occupation. With regard to the Bush administration and Congress during the relevant time period, I think the list of those who are not guilty would be very short, indeed. To my knowledge, that list would include only Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. (If there are one or two others, my apologies. But there are certainly not more than a few others.)

And who is one of the people who has repeatedly voted to fund the occupation of Iraq? That’s right: Barack Obama. Obama, the Democratic nominee for President, is guilty of crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

You can apply the Nuremberg Principles in the same manner to the Obama administration and the current Congress. The specifics include the items listed above, and the ongoing criminal occupation of Iraq, together with the continuing criminal acts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Once again, the list of those who are not guilty would name, at most, four or five people (and probably less).

Given these facts and the indisputable meaning of the Nuremberg Principles, who gives a goddamn whether McChrystal remained in his job or not? His departure will not alter or even slow down the actions of the U.S. government in even one of the ways that matter.

But this kind of public performance is a testament to the deeply nauseating, destructive “games” that bullies play — those bullies at the highest levels of government who claim for themselves the “right” to remake the world as they choose, and now the “right” to murder anyone they choose, simply because that is what they choose to do.

In an article about the disturbing frequency of bullying among children and young adults, I wrote, in “Bullied, Terrorized and Targeted for Destruction: Our Children Have Learned Well

“:

Our children are taught that we equate “manliness” and “strength” with close to complete disregard for other people, with emotional repression and insensitivity to the point of catatonia, and with a willingness to resort to physical violence at the slightest provocation, and even in the complete absence of any provocation at all. We tell those people who suffer great emotional pain and even agony, often when they contemplate the terrible suffering of others, to “suck it up” and to have “thicker skins.” The greatest virtue is to feel nothing, or as close to nothing as possible. There is one exception: you can feel unreasoning, unfocused rage, and you are free to act on it. You may lash out in any direction you choose. The innocence of your victim is irrelevant.

Our government acts in this manner repeatedly. Our political leaders all applaud it, and offer a lengthy series of “justifications” for our unending national cruelty.

[These children] learned that cruelty and violence are not to be condemned, but constitute the coin of the nightmare realm of our culture: cruelty and violence are enacted many times every day in films, on television, in our personal lives, and by our government on a national and international scale. You will be rewarded for cruelty: the crueler you are, the greater the reward.

Our children learn all this, and many more lessons of the same kind. Of course, they are often vicious bullies. Our government is a murderous bully on a scale that beggars description; most politicians are bullies; the majority of adults are bullies to varying degrees. Why wouldn’t these children be bullies? It’s what they’ve been taught. In the most crucial ways, it’s all they’ve been taught.

These children are the perfect embodiments of the central values of our culture. They have learned well.

So Obama is the biggest bully of all. Who knows, he might even have the biggest dick. He certainly is the cruelest of these murderous bullies and, as I noted in the earlier essay, his reward is therefore the greatest. He is, after all, the Commander-in-Chief of the Death State.

Let me offer a few concluding thoughts (for the moment) concerning how astonishingly unserious almost all commentators are in their discussion of war crimes.

In certain quarters, it remains fashionable to insist on the absolute necessity of prosecuting the leading war criminals of the Bush administration for their actions while in office. I have written extensively about why, in the context of the present political system, I would view all such prosecutions as the worst kind of show trials, the effect of which would be precisely the opposite of that which the advocates of such prosecutions claim to desire. You can consult “Obama and the Triumph of the American Myth” (and the two related essays linked at the beginning of that article) for the details. The briefest statement of my theme is this:

By seeking to localize the evil in only one aspect of the much broader and more fundamental evil involved and within a falsely delimited period of time, the torture obsessives would thus whitewash the American project as a whole.

The additional discussion above about the meaning and application of the Nuremberg Principles underscores my overall concern.

I obviously do not disagree with the proposition that Bush, Cheney and others committed abominable war crimes and crimes against humanity, and that they deserve the harshest of judgments and punishments. However, and it is a “however” of the most profound consequence, it is far, far more important to stop those who are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity today. Yes, we should punish those have committed unjustified murders in the past — but how much more important and urgent is it to stop the known murderer who continues to commit his crimes in the present, especially when the murderer has made unmistakably clear that he will continue to commit similar crimes tomorrow and in the days to come?

If a person is at all serious about stopping crimes of this kind, he must be demanding impeachment and/or prosecution of Obama and the other war criminals in his administration today, without a moment’s delay. I understand very well indeed that impeachment or prosecution of these individuals will not happen, but if you are genuinely committed to the moral principles involved and if you seek to vindicate them, you must make the demand. If you do not, your understanding of the Principles and their application is essentially amoral and unprincipled. You wish to apply the Principles only to those individuals you view with special disfavor, while you exempt from the Principles’ operation those individuals you personally happen to view less negatively, or even positively. That is, you have transformed principles of profound, universal moral significance into tools of the most disgusting and most superficial politics.

We might adapt a statement from Lewis Carroll to make the point: “The rule is, war criminals tomorrow and war criminals yesterday, but never war criminals today.”

If that is your stance, even if you do not have the honesty to admit it, then damn you to hell.

Monsanto EVP and Nalco (Corexit) Director are the same person

The evil that is Monsanto has been pretty well documented at this point.  For those of you who are late to the game, however, I offer you The World According to Monsanto.

Watch the other seven parts here.

If you don’t have time for the movie at the moment, the quick version is that Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds are ruining farmers, making you sick or dead, and making them kajillions of dollars.

Nalco may or may not ring a bell for you, as they keep a relatively low profile, but if you’ve been paying even passing attention to BP’s apocalypse in the Gulf of Mexico, then you’ve probably heard of their product, Corexit.  In this piece, I pointed out that:

…in 2003, none other than Goldman Sachs was part of a three-pronged group that purchased Nalco, so Goldman not only was a key player in destroying the world’s economy, and facilitating the greatest wealth transfer in, well, all of recorded history, but they can now take pride in the knowledge that they’ve had a small hand in bringing about the 7th sign of the Hopi Indian end times prophecy.

Corexit is more toxic, and less effective than most of the other dispersants BP could be using.   In fact, BP continues to use it weeks after the EPA demanded that they stop using it. As of May 22, 670,000 gallons of Corexit had been sloshed into the Gulf of Mexico, which, contrary to BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward’s completely reprehensible understatement of the century, is an absolute crap load of extremely toxic sludge.  In addition to the Goldman connection, the investment firms Apollo Management and the Blackstone Group are also making money on every drop of Corexit that gets dumped into the Gulf.  And hey, this is probably just crazy ass blind luck, but Lord Jacob Rothschild happens to be a Member of Blackstone’s International Advisory Board.  Funny how those pesky Rothschilds always manage to be right in the center of the action, right?

Now let’s bring Monsanto back into the story.

It just came to my attention that Carl M. Casale is Monsanto’s Executive Vice President as well as Nalco’s Director.

How nice for him, right?

Well, here’s hoping that there is a hell, and that there’s a special spot reserved there especially for this despicable destroyer of worlds, and all of the other disaster capitalists who provide such lucrative incentive for so many people to do the wrong thing every chance they get.

Gasland: They’ve got us fracked coming and going

Well, they’ve got us fracked coming and going.

War, rumors of war, pestilence, black oceans, and now, for something completely different, flaming kitchen sink spigots!

I’m just glad that multinational corporations have figured out so many ways to profit from our demise.

Here’s the latest.

GASLAND – (2010) Directed by Josh Fox. Winner of Special Jury Prize – Best US Documentary Feature – Sundance 2010. Screening at Cannes 2010.

It is happening all across America and now in Europe and Africa as well – rural landowners wake up one day to find a lucrative offer from a multinational energy conglomerate wanting to lease their property. The Reason? In America, the company hopes to tap into a huge natural gas reservoir dubbed the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Halliburton developed a way to get the gas out of the ground—a hydraulic drilling process called fracking—and suddenly America finds itself on the precipice of becoming an energy superpower.

But what comes out of the ground with that natural gas? How does it affect our air and drinking water? GASLAND is a powerful personal documentary that confronts these questions with spirit, strength, and a sense of humor. When filmmaker Josh Fox receives his cash offer in the mail, he travels across 32 states to meet other rural residents on the front lines of fracking. He discovers toxic streams, ruined aquifers, dying livestock, brutal illnesses, and kitchen sinks that burst into flame. He learns that all water is connected and perhaps some things are more valuable than money.

AZ. high school student is last REAL journalist on earth

Last Tuesday, the great Glenn Greenwald wrote a terrific piece titled “The Media’s Understanding of its Role.”  The story was based on CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry’s idiotic defense of the White House Press Corps’ cozy relationship with the very people they are (in theory) paid to hold accountable.  Greenwald was commenting on Henry’s interview with NPR’s Brooke Gladstone, on her media watchdog program called On the Media.  In the interview, Gladstone made the (excruciatingly obvious) point that one would have to be either brain dead, or a lying sack of shit (my characterization) to defend the notion that Joe Biden invited the Press Corps to his backyard beach party, to have super-soaker battles with Rahm Emanuel, for any reason other than to curry favor with the “journalists.”

Here’s one vital exchange from the interview:

BROOKE GLADSTONE: “If these events don’t influence coverage, why do you think the White House throws them? Do they just want to shoot you with a super-soaker?”

ED HENRY: “Maybe they wanna actually get to know us as people sometimes.”

And Henry was serious.

BWAAAHAAAAHAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

Earlier in the interview, Gladstone made this very important point:

“I worked there (Washington) for 13 years, and it’s all about access. It’s not so much about digging, especially within the actual White House press corps itself. It’s about returned calls. And that’s a transaction.”

Gladstone was clearly implying (based on her own experience) that in Henry’s line of work, access is granted at a price, and that in this particular instance, the beach party was a bribe with expectations attached.  As a former insider, Gladstone seems to know what she’s talking about, and as I said above, only a liar or an idiot would pretend that it was anything else.

And speaking of the White House press corp, I’m reminded of a story that broke last year regarding former White House Press Corps lackey and current softball pitcher for Meet the Press, David Gregory, who never asked a tough, pointed question in his entire life.  Do you remember the Mark Sanford scandal?  The one where the South Carolina Governor claimed that he was “hiking in the Appalachians” for four days while he was really gallivanting around Argentina with a woman other than his wife?  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting all holier than thou about his extramarital indiscretion.   In fact, I don’t care if Sanford was greasing his head with lard and inserting it into a horse’s ass.  My point here is the email that Sanford received from the great David Gregory, in which Gregory virtually guaranteed a soft, controlled interview:

“Left you a message. Wanted you to hear directly from me that I want to have the Gov on Sunday on Meet The Press. I think it’s exactly the right forum to answer the questions about his trip as well as giving him a platform to discuss the economy/stimulus and the future of the party. You know he will get a fair shake from me and coming on MTP puts all of this to rest.

So coming on Meet The Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to…and then move on. You can see (sic) you have done your interview and then move on. Consider it.”

And there you have it.  Our credible, adversarial, watchdog press.

Which brings me to the real reason for this post, which is this completely awesome student Journalist from Tempe Arizona’s Corona del Sol High School.  And I capitalized the word “Journalist” on purpose, because this kid just might be the last of a dying breed.  I have the distinct feeling that he’d make Greenwald proud.  This video made my week!