One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor

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After a long day of projecting confidence, after reassuring Americans that we can deal with all of these crises, once that’s been done, once you reach the sanctuary of the White House family quarters and you’re alone, Mr. President, are you frightened?

Barack Obama Pictures, Images and Photos

You’re an intelligent man, you see what’s happening so you must be frightened.

But I don’t think you’re frightened enough.  I know what hunts you.

In their hearts, millions of Americans walked beside you down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, but one cannot simply walk into Mordor and call it change we can believe in.  Bush and Cheney have burrowed their orcs into every agency of the federal government. Their uruk-hai still infest the Pentagon and the NSA.  They have 55 million Gollums, they still have more than 200 Wormtongues in Congress and five Nazgul on the Supreme Court. They want their Precious back, their Ring of Power, if they have to destroy what’s left of America to get it back, they will.    

No.  One does not just walk into Mordor.  There is evil there that does not sleep.  The great eye is ever watchful.  

You’ve had some accomplishments, Mr. President, but this long struggle for economic and social justice has only begun. The power of Mordor has not been broken, it hasn’t even been seriously challenged.      

Moria . . .  

Wall Street Pictures, Images and Photos

You fear to go into those mines.  The Dwarves of Capitalism delved too greedily and too deep.  You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum . . . shadow and flame . . .

The Shadow and Flame of Economic Meltdown

What this crisis reveals is a broken financial system.  Normal monetary policy is not able to get money flowing. The trouble is that, even with all this intervention and protection, the market is not moving again.  Leading up to this has been leveraging in the economy beyond imagination, and nobody was saying we need to do something.

It’s now payback time, and business spending is in meltdown.  And the same is true for maxed out consumers.  Market Watch columnist Paul Farrell sees depression ahead and lists 30 reasons why.  Here’s a sampling:

America may lose its AAA credit rating; it already exists in name only; growing numbers of companies need bailouts; Treasury sneaks corporate tax credits into the bailout giveaway, shifting costs to states; sinking state revenues and rising debts signal trouble; state, municipal, and corporate pensions lost hundreds of billions on derivative swaps; consumer debt is way up, now at $2.5 trillion, it’s the next area for credit meltdowns; Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, the big banks and other companies are bleeding cash and want more taxpayer dollars; bailout costs will be in the many trillions; all asset classes are sinking and signal a global meltdown; retailers are failing, mall sales are in free fall; unemployment is skyrocketing; and government policy is dictated by 42,000 myopic, highly paid, greedy lobbyists, exceeded only by Wall Street’s level of greed and corruption.

The Shadow and Flame of Global Warming

As the Arctic’s sea-ice cover decreases, less and less sunlight will be reflected back into space. And as tundras heat up, more and more of their carbon dioxide and methane content will be released into the atmosphere. Thus each added ton of carbon will trigger greater rises in temperature as the years progress. The result will be massive ice cap melting and sea-level rises of several meters: enough to devastate most of the world’s major cities.

The Shadow and Flame of Resource Wars

As famine, disease, and weather-related disasters strike due to abrupt climate change,” a Pentagon report notes, “many countries’ needs will exceed their carrying capacity”–that is, their ability to provide the minimum requirements for human survival.  This “will create a sense of desperation, which is likely to lead to offensive aggression” against countries with a greater stock of vital resources.

Thank you, Dwarves of Capitalism.  You’ve always believed Wall Street is a source of wealth to be mined.  But it’s not a mine.  It’s a tomb.  

And this whole world is going to be a tomb unless its corporate masters stop poisoning it and start respecting the rights of workers.  Working people have always been the real source of whatever wealth and prosperity have been generated.  Help them, Mr. President, and then help them some more.  If you do that we just might get through this.      

The world’s future stands upon the edge of a knife.  It will stand upon the edge of a knife throughout your Presidency.  

Can we end this nightmare?  Can we deal with such a contagion of crises?

By rights we shouldn’t even be here.  But we are.  It’s like in the great stories.  The ones that really mattered.  Full of darkness and danger, they were.  And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.  Because how could the end be happy?  How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?

But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.  Even darkness must pass.  A new day will come.  And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.  Those were the stories that stayed with you.  That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.  But I think I understand.  I know now.  Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t.  They kept going.  Because they were holding on to something.

What are we holding onto?

That there’s some good in this world.  And it’s worth fighting for.

We The People Pictures, Images and Photos

I see people losing their jobs and their homes, while Wall Street criminals award themselves billions of dollars in bonuses.  In their eyes, in the eyes of the victims of those criminals, I see fear that would take the heart out of me.  Fear of even worse days ahead, fear that no one will care, that no one will help them.  Well a day may come when the courage of progressives fails, when we forsake those who need our help and break all bonds of fellowship with them . . .

But it’s not going to happen this day.

An hour of woes and shattered shields may come, when American democracy comes crashing down and a thug far worse than Bush takes power . . .

But it’s not going to happen this day.

This day we fight.  Tomorrow we’ll fight.  Every day, we’ll fight.

We’re in a great story, full of darkness and danger.  We are the story, we will decide how it ends, we will decide if justice and the rule of law are restored.  It’s our story, so let the truth be told, from every progressive blog, until it rings out across this land and echoes through the corridors of power.  Let the Day of Reckoning come, let the Lords of the Black Land come forth!   Let Justice Be Done Upon Them

Let it be written that they were held accountable for what they’ve done, let it be written that Mordor was consumed to ashes, so a New Age could begin . . .  

From the ashes, a fire shall be woken.

A light from the shadow shall spring.

Renewed shall be blade that was broken.

The crownless again shall be king.


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    • OPOL on January 26, 2009 at 18:42

    Simply brilliant.  Cuts right to the bone.

    • Alma on January 26, 2009 at 19:21

    Very apt for the situation.

    Sorry I missed your last essay.  I was out of town.  I’ve missed you.

  1. that BO is one with Modor.  He may give it a smiling face.  He may even try to reform it somewhat.  But he is part and parcel with it.

    • Temmoku on January 27, 2009 at 02:35

    There is only one Lord of the Ring and he does NOT share his power!

    I have often thought of the lines with the past 8 years and now, I see that they are still pertinent.

    It will take many more years, sadly, before we can move on, if ever.

  2. when we need them?  

    There is certainly much evil still to be dealt with–especially when the bush admin criminals continue to roam freely about the country; the Limbaugh-bot provocateurs continue to agitate the perpetually angry; and Repub. Congresional WATB’s continue their obstructionism–not to mention two wars, a global economic meltdown of unknown duration which continues to cost people their homes and their jobs, crises in multiple hot-spots around the world, etc, etc.  

    And there’s no way one man can fix it by himself.  There’s no way that a group of people living in a bubble can wisely advise him.  So, Rusty, I agree totally that:

    “…This day we fight.  Tomorrow we’ll fight.  Every day, we’ll fight…let the truth be told, from every progressive blog, until it rings out across this land and echoes through the corridors of power…”

    BTW, is Obama Frodo–the ringbearer who has to risk it all (while constantly fighting the lure of power) to defeat evil–or Aragorn, the long-awaited king, come to fight for his people and defeat the enemy?


  3. “That’s not the right question.”

    “What’s the right question?”

    “What does a WARRIOR do now?”

    “OK, what does a warrior do now?”

    “A warrior… pees his pants!”

    “And then what?”

    “A warrior kisses his sword… because that and his honor is all he has”

    • Valtin on January 27, 2009 at 04:39

    a brilliant essay. Enjoyed it immensely. I’m not certain that Obama is Frodo. The undoing of the harm that imperialism has wrought upon us will take many a generation, and humanity may not even make it to the day of reckoning with global warming.

    Who notices, for instance, that the only real nuke treaty the U.S. has with Russia is about to expire?

    Over a year ago, this was the situation (via Reuters):

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States plans to let a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia expire in 2009 and replace it with a less formal agreement that eliminates strict verification requirements and weapons limits, a senior U.S. official says.

    This would continue President George W. Bush’s practice of repudiating arms control as a means of curbing nuclear weapons while relying more on countermeasures like export controls, interdiction and sanctions.

    This approach makes many arms control experts uneasy, but the Democratic-led U.S. Congress has shown little interest in the START treaty’s fate. Some congressional aides say whatever Bush does, his successor — who takes office in January 2009 — could seek modifications.

    But with Bush gone, even sane Republicans are looking to find a way back to foreign relations under treaty obligations:

    At her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, [Sen. Hillary Clinton] promised what she called a “smart power” approach to foreign policy issues, with “diplomacy in the vanguard” as well as development and military power….

    Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the committee, called Clinton “a big leaguer” who has the worldwide stature needed to represent the United States and to bolster efforts to improve U.S. standing with other countries.

    Lugar added to the list of issues that he considers vital for the secretary of state. He said it is essential that the START treaty on nuclear arms reduction with Russia be approved. The treaty, which Lugar called “the conceptual underpinning of our strategic relation with Russia,” is set to expire in December.

    So things are looking better, but with the Bush/Cheney cabal still working overtime, with their buddies in the CIA and Pentagon, nothing is for certain. The very fact that a crucial nuclear arms pact is about to expire, or that the U.S. has been sabre-rattling arms and new missles and radar stations at Russia, and these are not part of the general public discourse is very frightening. Luckily, Obama is said to be very cool to the idea of expanding Nato and strategic weapons placement.

    Anyway, my point was that great disaster looms only a radar beam over the horizon, and the war party would like nothing better than see us back in a full-fledged arms race.

    • prem on January 27, 2009 at 19:56

    Further to the success of the character goblets, the shot glasses and wine glasses were introduced. The shot glasses not only can be used to serve drinks but quickly became collectors’ items as well. One of the unique features of these pieces is the interesting way the pewter has been sculpted around certain glasses. The Orc glass is a perfect example of this feature. When a drink is poured into the glass, you can see the color of the drink through the eyes and mouth – an astonishing sight for the drinker! The shot glasses, once complete in sets can even be used as chess pieces by filling one side with a dark liqueur and the other with a lightly colored liqueur.





  4. …great disaster looms only a radar beam over the horizon, and the war party would like nothing better than see us back in a full-fledged arms race.

    —–italics mine–

  5. Dude, the eagles always show up to save the day. 🙂

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