The cold facts, as I see them

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I don’t know about any of you, but once again, my outrage meter broke over stories brought to us here by:

Valtin on U.S. Secret Prison Ships Hold Untold Number of Detainees

GreyHawk on With Liberty And Justice For All: US Secret Prisons, Then and Now: 2001-2005, 2008

LithiumCola on Coming in July: Bush and Maliki’s Tag-Team Swindle

tahoebasha3 on Come to the Iraq Energy Expo and Conference!

And the question always comes…what can I do about it?

My tendency is to want to examine the bigger picture in order to get a sense of the lay of the land and my particular place in it all. So here’s what I see.

The reality is that what Bush and Cheney are doing is not necessarily cut out of whole new cloth. Any reading of folks like Chomsky and Zinn will tell you that this country has been up to these kinds of things for a very long time. What’s different about this crowd is that they have taken the rotten apple to a whole new level and have done so in an “in your face” kind of way.

None of this is to excuse Bush and Cheney – just to point out that the problem is MUCH bigger than them. Getting them out of office and tried and convicted for what they’ve done would be a step in the right direction, but I want to remember that we’ve also got bigger fish to fry if we are going to stop these kinds of outrages.

Certainly electing more and “better” Democrats will be an improvement. But as we all know from the 2006 elections, that’s not a panacea either. In my mind, it is triage, but not a cure.

In a way, I’m a bit grateful to Cheney for this:

In a moment of total candor, he just told us that the American people do NOT “set the course” in this democracy – at least not in his mind. So, who steers Cheney’s ship? I keep going back to an amazingly powerful essay written by OPOL a few months ago that he titled Dispatches From the Land of Lying Bastards.

We’re up against something even more evil and insidious than the Bush administration. We’re up against the Military Industrial Congressional Media Complex, the outfit that pulls Bushco’s chain, and it’s a much more serious matter than the freak show they’ve turned our politics into.  It’s not a joke, it’s not a conspiracy theory, and it’s not a crackpot proposition.  It’s the gut-wrenching truth of our present circumstances.

The question then becomes, if we want these kinds of outrages stopped, what do we do? I, for one, don’t think the MICMC will stop what they’re doing if lots of us scream at them and tell them to stop, or if we elect the right people. And we have to remember that they have the money, media and weapons to take on any challenge that comes their way. I have often said that I don’t think we’ve really challenged them in a long time. Because if we had, they’d bring those forces to bear the minute we hit the “sweet spot” that threatened them.

Contrary to how this might sound, it doesn’t leave me hopeless. What leaves me hopeless is trying to do something over and over again that doesn’t work. When I look at things in this perspective, I see why they’re not working and it gives me the opportunity to consider alternatives.

I don’t have any quick answers at this point. But what I do believe is that it is our culture of greed and fear upon which the MICMC stands. And that if I can do my part to change and affect that culture, that’s my best bet for now.  

106 comments

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  1. holding up today?

  2. On the practical level, we need a way in…a lever to open a crack….and then just keep prying. I am working on some ideas/concepts of how to get started, hopefully I will publish them soon.  

  3. It makes me feel that people are becoming less deluded about what needs to be done to create real change. Maybe people are waking up after all.

  4. The first step is getting REAL information out there before a larger and larger audience as is possible — the knowledge has to be there — as much as is possible — before you can start to work on the next tier, such as that may be.  

    Most Americans haven’t a clue to so much of the realities as have been pointed out here on this blog.  How do we get the information disseminated to a large audience — outside the blogosphere?  

    In Valtin’s essay, pfiore8 questioned this in her comment.

    Strangely, I had been contemplating her thought over the last couple of days.

    All of these essays are too long for LTE’s, but maybe submitting them to the Editors of various newspapers and asking them to editorialize the articles (with our blessings) might work a little.  Most would not do it, but there may be one or two that would.  Or radio stations, etc., etc.  

    • geomoo on June 2, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    (which I reference ad nauseum, I know, I know).

    It strongly supports your thesis that our challenges are much deeper than this momentary flicker on the political meter.  She brilliantly describes the history of neoconservatism (called neoliberalism in South and Central America) and what’s more important, she explains the way economic thought underlies the worst human rights abuses we have seen these last decades.  I would believe the book should be required reading for every American, but that would make me a fascist, wouldn’t it?

    This depressing book ends with a very promising chapter detailing the growing global resistance to the machinations of the IMF and the World Bank.  Throughout the book I was struck by the central role played by financial institutions in stripping countries of their assets and their autonomy.  Debt has been an especially powerful tool in manipulating people when they are in dire circumstances.  Recently, the Lebanese people, in the face of massive debt and desperate need for reconstruction after the war, just said no to the international “aid” which would have empoverished them while enriching an elite.  It took a national strike and wide-spread demonstrations to stop their government from working against their best interests, but they prevailed.  Such resistance has sprung up in Thailand and South America, resistance informed by a firsthand understanding of the ways of the international money lenders.

    In all the cases of resistance, people took matters into their own hands.  They turned down promises of desperately needed funds.  They took responsibility for finding their own solutions.  They literally stood their ground after the tsunami in Thailand, walking past armed guards to occupy their ancestral beach lands.

    I celebrate these victories, even though they make me sad because they represent a decline for our own country.  It is a decline that is much deserved and needed, but it saddens me that we have not been the beacon of democracy and human rights we should have been.

    So, here are some initial thoughts on your challenge.  We need the education here that pfiore8 has been arguing for.  We need to understand the nature of the tools used by neocons to rob us of our democratic economy and government.  And we need to choose a difficult path.  Our new president will face a huge burden of debt, and I have no doubt that this debt will be used as a bludgeon to blunt attempts at real reform.  We will need to make frightening decisions which force us into finding a new way to cope with huge debt and a collapsing economy.  And a lot of us will need to take personal responsibility in finding solutions.  This means neighborhood organizations, volunteering time and labor, de-centralized organizations committed to stepping into the vacuum left by unresponsive government.  And that’s just for starters.

    Perhaps it will be enough to make our war criminals irrelevant, but I tend to think some form of justice will be needed if we are to cut out the cancer in our core.

  5. So, yeah, people aren’t out revolting in the streets, that’s for sure. But I think there’s plenty of potential. I mean, the environmental movement is big, and remember, it’s a movement of the Seventies, not the Sixties. The Third World solidarity movements are movements of the Eighties. The anti-nuclear movement is a movement of the Eighties. The feminist movement is Seventies and Eighties. And it’s way beyond movements – there are all kinds of people who are just cynical: they don’t have any faith in institutions, they don’t trust anybody, they hate the government, they assume they’re being manipulated and controlled and that something’s going on which they don’t know about. Now, that’s not necessarily a move to the left: that could be the basis for fascism too – it’s just a question of what people do with it. I mean, this kind of depoliticized, cynical population could easily be mobilized by Jimmy Swaggart, or it could be organized by environmentalists. Mostly it just depends on who’s willing to do the work.

    Q:  But do you actually believe that these positive changes will come?

    I don’t know, I really haven’t the slightest idea. But nobody could ever have predicted any revolutionary struggle – they’re just not predictable. I mean, you couldn’t have predicted in 1775 that there was going to be an American Revolution, it would have been impossible to have predicted it. But there was. You couldn’t have predicted in 1954 that there was going to be a Civil Rights Movement. You couldn’t have predicted in 1987 that there was going to be an uprising on the West Bank. I don’t think at any stage in history it has ever been possible to decide whether to be optimistic or pessimistic, you just don’t know – nobody understands how change happens, so how can you guess?

    Let me just take a concrete case. In 1968, M.I.T. was the deadest place in the world – there was no anti-war activity, nothing was going on. And this was after the Tet offensive: Wall Street had turned against the war, M.I.T. still hadn’t heard about it. Well, a small group of students who were in a little collective on campus decided they would set up a sanctuary for a soldier who deserted; that was the kind of thing activists were doing back then. There was this working-class Marine kid who wanted to desert as an anti-war gesture, so the idea was, people would stay with him until the cops came, then they’d try to make a public issue out of it. There was a discussion about this among ten or fifteen students and two or three faculty members – and I came out against it, because I was totally pessimistic; I thought that it couldn’t possibly work, I thought that it would be a complete fiasco. But they went ahead with it.

    Well, it turned out to be an incredible success. I mean, within about two days, the whole of M.I.T. was totally shut down – there weren’t any classes, nothing was going on, the whole student body was over in the Student Center. It turned into a 24-hour mixture of seminars, and you know, this horrible music that people listen to, all that kind of stuff – it was very exciting. And it just changed the whole character of the place; ever since then, M.I.T. has not been the same. I mean, it’s not that it turned into Utopia or anything, but a lot of concern developed and a lot of activity started up, which still continues, on issues which people didn’t even consider before. Well, could you have guessed? I mean, I guessed wrong, they guessed right. But as far as I can see, it was basically like flipping a coin.

    • brobin on June 3, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Everyone, come join us in the Political Cocktail Party movement and lets continue to brainstorm how to make the most of OUR intellect to reverse the damage that has been done.

    Just ask masslass or brobin if you want to help make a difference.  We ARE going to make a difference, and we have already gotten started….

  6. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

    Voter turnout in our country is atrocious.  I’m trying to persuade two people I know very well, who seldom if ever vote, that it’s crucial for them to vote this year.  I know it’s only two people (and  I haven’t succeeded yet) but small victories lead to larger ones.  

  7. This has been going on for a century or more, although Cheney-Bush, the neocons and the neoliberals have now taken it to a new level. No one has stopped it yet and I don’t see anyone stopping it any time soon.

    That’s not to say “give up”. We can “resist” in small ways that are available to us. However, it should be obvious now, to anyone paying attention, that we do not live in a democracy and simply electing more democrats is not going to change much.

    Until the people wake up and realize what is happening to them and take action this will continue until the empire falls in on itself. If we look at history of other empires we can see that this could easily be another one hundred or two hundred years, or longer.

  8. a story like this, of a destructive nature to the reputation of the United States has magically surfaced.  What “our” ever expanding list of highly covert, top secret, you don’t have even the need to think you might possibly know agencies further enhanced by the super surveillance tactics of DARPA Cray computers with artificial intelligence mind reading implanted microchip Manchurian candidate matrix like Agent Smith type people assisted by their super intelligent advanced alien races?

    All of this can’t keep a secret?

    Methinks of Cheney as an ant in the heirarchy of real control of what used to be the illusion of this nation.

    Nice Apocalyptic horsie, good boy.  Aw shit, that is my last beer.

  9. The Problem is not the Republicans or the Democrats….it’s THE AMERICAN PEOPLE….they are the DUMBEST FORM OF LIFE ON EARTH…..

    The problem with liberals is “they” think it’s “them”….it’s not “them” it’s “us”…

    We are all to blame for this nation’s situation….the people who pay taxes…I suppose some are not to blame..people who don’t pay taxes for ethical reasons…

    Americans are stupid.

    How stupid do you have to be?

    All the candidates who are running are PRO WAR….

    C’mon!

    People think “better” democrats will help….?

    Bullshit!

    They are all the same. Politicians in this country are just ass kissers. They are the WEAK people who sucuumb to the imagination of wealth and power….and they only exhibit impotence like our national ….american elected …two times president George Bush.

    The truth is…you have to STOP PAYING ATTENTION to the polticians….if you want to change things

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