October 10, 2008

Cascading Catastrophes

[Update, Wed., Oct. 15: My deep thanks to those of you who have been very kind and generous. I'm afraid my gratitude must remain very general for now; it takes a series of miracles to get this computer to do anything. Unfortunately, I'm much more concerned about my terrible health at the moment. It's the worst it's ever been, and I'm not at all hopeful about where this is leading. Until and unless I feel at least a little bit better physically, it's not possible for me to publish anything substantive here. So computer problems and everything else will have to wait. I'll be back with further news when I'm able and when there is some. Many thanks again.]

I suppose that headline could describe the current economic situation. But I'm using it much more narrowly, to describe my own life. When you're very poor and very sick, any specific individual problem is likely to lead to a series of increasingly worse problems.

Until yesterday, the weather in Los Angeles has been very hot again this week. As I mentioned recently, hot weather wipes me out at this point. I can barely function at all. And then, a couple of weeks ago, my computer sort of blew up. I've done everything I can myself to try to fix it. It still crashes five or six times a day. Just as bad is the fact that it often takes a single page two, three, four and even five minutes to load. Since it takes all the energy I have to sit in front of the computer for a couple of hours, this is, as you might say, a problem. It makes writing essays of the kind I tend to write impossible.

I can't do anything about any of it. So I don't know why I'm telling you this. Yes, I do: some of you were very generous over the last few weeks, helping me to pay rent for another month, buy food, and take care of some basic bills. Many thanks to all of you who have been so kind. I'm terribly sorry I can't write anything more than this for the moment. And even this is causing me a lot of anxiety; I keep expecting the computer to crash again at any moment. And most days now, I feel worse than shit physically. I don't even know if this ridiculously simple post is coherent.

So I have no plans at the moment, not about any of this. I'll see if any brilliant ideas occur to me in the next week or so. If they don't, well, they don't.

Very sorry again for another interruption. Now I'll see if this crappy computer manages to actually publish this...

October 05, 2008

Perverse Priorities in a World of Lies

In many essays, I've talked about the immense difficulty of trying to discuss any issue of genuine importance in today's cultural atmosphere. Among the primary reasons for the near impossibility of talking about any subject that actually matters is the fact that the overwhelming majority of people are entirely comfortable existing on a steady diet of lies -- lies about the genuine nature of the U.S. government's actions, lies about "the good guy" American, lies about the ruling class, lies about racism as a core element in America's history...the lies are endless, and most people swallow all of them.

Almost no one in national political life, and almost no writer of prominence, will acknowledge the full meaning of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq: because Iraq never constituted a serious threat to the U.S., and because that fact was readily apparent in the winter and spring of 2002-2003 (even to an honest citizen with no "expert" specialized knowledge), the U.S. invasion was a criminal act of aggression, identical in principle to Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland. This foundational fact has many further implications, and one of them is critical in evaluating the two major presidential candidates: since the invasion was a criminal act of aggression, the U.S. occupation of Iraq is similarly an ongoing series of monstrous war crimes. To vote to fund the continuing occupation is to be an accomplice to genocide and to the destruction of an entire nation and its peoples, and thus to be a war criminal.

Most Americans who vote this November, and probably many of you reading this, will vote for one of these war criminals. I no longer care what rationalizations people use to justify such a detestable choice -- that one war criminal is not quite as bad as the other for some unspecified reason, that one of these bastards speechifies more prettily than the other and touches some inchoate, indefinable emotional chord in your stunted soul, that (as a friend recently observed to me privately, in condemning this version of the excuse) we've had white assholes governing this country for so long that it's only "fair" to have a black asshole in charge for a change. I don't give a damn what reason you give yourself for your embrace of evil, for only one fact matters:

If you vote for McCain or Obama, you're voting for a war criminal.

If you still persist in your determination to vote for the "lesser evil" at this late date (and there isn't a "lesser evil" now), you should read this essay again or for the first time. See where that approach has led others. And if the horrors begin to mount in the next four years, I don't want to hear any of your pathetic whining. Without the support offered by you and many others who are similarly impaired morally and cognitively, those horrors would not be realized. And that is what you offer with your vote: support.

Given this background, the nature of many of the attacks on Sarah Palin continues to shock and astound me. Bad enough that much of the hatred for Palin proceeds directly from the loathing of women as such that is one of the pillars supporting Western "civilization" and thought. Bad enough that a great deal of the contempt directed at Palin stems from a thoroughly odious sense of class superiority: "She's awful, my dear. She's just not like us. And you know, she's really -- oh, dear, can I say this? But I must! -- she's just trash." (I see that Walsh is incapable of giving up this line of attack, and her writing about Palin should disgust any decent human being.) It is a measure of how deeply stupid our discourse is that so many people still fall back on the "experience" argument: poor silly Sarah doesn't have enough of it, don't you know. Such people never identify exactly what the nature of such "experience" is, given our system of murderously violent militarist corporatism.

It is certainly true that Palin doesn't speak in the comfortable circumlocutions and deliberately evasive phrases so beloved by Washington pols, and by most writers and far too many bloggers. To me, that is an enormous plus: more than any of the other three major candidates, Palin still appears somewhat recognizable as an actual human being. But for a decadent, murderous Empire entering what is likely to be an especially violent phase (both abroad and at home) as the fabric of day-to-day life shreds and tears apart, actual human beings are a hindrance to be avoided. Now we depend on form without meaning, symbolism drained of all content, vacant gestures designed to assure us that our world is not descending into bloody insanity.

Just for the hell of it, let's compare two passages from the vice presidential debate. Here is Palin:
Oh, yeah, it's so obvious I'm a Washington outsider. And someone just not used to the way you guys operate. Because here you voted for the war and now you oppose the war. You're one who says, as so many politicians do, I was for it before I was against it or vice- versa. Americans are craving that straight talk and just want to know, hey, if you voted for it, tell us why you voted for it and it was a war resolution.

And you had supported John McCain's military strategies pretty adamantly until this race and you had opposed very adamantly Barack Obama's military strategy, including cutting off funding for the troops that attempt all through the primary.

And I watched those debates, so I remember what those were all about.

But as for as Darfur, we can agree on that also, the supported of the no-fly zone, making sure that all options are on the table there also.

America is in a position to help. What I've done in my position to help, as the governor of a state that's pretty rich in natural resources, we have a $40 billion investment fund, a savings fund called the Alaska Permanent Fund.

When I and others in the legislature found out we had some millions of dollars in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars to make sure we weren't doing anything that would be seen as condoning the activities there in Darfur. That legislation hasn't passed yet but it needs to because all of us, as individuals, and as humanitarians and as elected officials should do all we can to end those atrocities in that region of the world.
Palin offers some telling criticisms of Biden's record in the first two paragraphs, and then provides details concerning her own views and her actions as Governor of Alaska regarding Darfur. I absolutely disagree with both Palin and Biden on Darfur insofar as military action by the U.S. is concerned, and I'll return to that shortly.

Palin speaks comparatively plainly, using straightforward, everyday expressions. But her views are clear, and there is nothing notably "stupid" about what she says or how she says it -- unless, that is, you have become so accustomed to Washington-speak that you have rendered yourself incapable of recognizing more normal human expression. Yet it is altogether remarkable how much time and concentration so many people devote to demonstrating how much smarter they are than Sarah Palin. Obviously, Palin is not any kind of "intellectual" (also an unqualifiedly admirable attribute in my view), and she is not an Einstein. So let me rephrase the point more colloquially: if you have to devote so much time and energy to proving you're smarter than Sarah Palin, how pathetic are you? Here's your answer: very pathetic. Most of those who repeatedly engage in this kind of Palin-bashing are nothing more than bullies. They're the kind of people who, given half a chance, might torture small animals or pull the wings off flies. Our culture values bullying of this kind more highly than almost any other quality, and most people have learned the lesson very well.

But you want to be comforted by the soothing syllables of the voice of "experience." Biden has a plentiful supply of what you want:
IFILL: Senator, you have quite a record, this is the next question here, of being an interventionist. You argued for intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo, initially in Iraq and Pakistan and now in Darfur, putting U.S. troops on the ground. Boots on the ground. Is this something the American public has the stomach for?

BIDEN: I think the American public has the stomach for success. My recommendations on Bosnia. I admit I was the first one to recommend it. They saved tens of thousands of lives. And initially John McCain opposed it along with a lot of other people. But the end result was it worked. Look what we did in Bosnia. We took Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks, being told by everyone, I was told by everyone that this would mean that they had been killing each other for a thousand years, it would never work.

There's a relatively stable government there now as in Kosovo.
Biden's first sentence is unquestionably true: so steeped are Americans in the myth of "American exceptionalism," that they don't care at all whether we engage in war crimes, whether we unleash a genocide, whether we murder millions of innocent human beings -- so long as we "win." Biden is correct on that point, and this particular truth is unutterably disgusting.

But every word that Biden says about Bosnia and Kosovo is a lie. Every word is a lie. These are the lies of liberal "humanitarianism," which is imperialism under a different but equally bloody flag. I can only deconstruct these particular lies so many times. For a great deal of background on Bosnia and Kosovo, read, "The Truth Shall Drive You Mad: The Wise Men and Women of the Empire of Death." Here's a very brief excerpt:
I've written about the Clinton administration's Balkans policy, in the second half of "Iraq Is the Democrats' War, Too," and in "Liberal Hypocrisy in the Name of 'Humanitarianism'."

I suppose it might be advisable to remind you that the major excuse employed to this day by many liberals to "justify" the bombing campaign -- "But a genocide was going on!" -- was a lie. Yes, it was a lie. Read Diana Johnstone's book, Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions, and read her article from February of this year, "NATO's Kosovo Colony."
Get Johnstone's book, and follow the links, if the truth matters to you in any significant degree.

It is depressing in the extreme to see how crucial these particular lies are to many liberals and progressives, who repeat them even now. And so we see commentators who are otherwise often unusually perceptive continue to fall for this propaganda:
Now Biden is explaining about how we succeeded in Bosnia ...

And Biden is good on Darfur.
"How we succeeded in Bosnia..." These are some of the fruits of being drowned in "American exceptionalism": lies go down like sugar, so intent are people on believing that the U.S. acts, at least some of the time, for the "right" reasons, and that it acts on behalf of poor, benighted people and only "for their own good." In practice, what this means is that people are fully prepared to believe the lies if they are offered by those supposedly on "their" side, while they will repeatedly denounce lies that are indistinguishable when the "other" side offers them.

[I must add that I might even overlook the multitude of lies about the U.S. Balkans policy, and credit, in just a very small degree, the paeans to the wisdom and nobility of our government's actions there, were it not for the fact that almost everyone at every point on the political spectrum ignores entirely the reign of terror and death in Somalia that began and continues with full bipartisan support. Chris Floyd may be the only person who regularly reports on this unfolding nightmare: start here, and more importantly, here:
In the recent presidential "debate," both candidates expressed their eager, unstinting, even feverish support for the so-called "War on Terror" being waged by Washington and its proxies around the world.

Indeed, throughout the entire campaign, Barack Obama and John McCain have repeatedly pledged their fealty to the Terror War, and all that it entails: an even larger war machine (with even more public boodle for war profiteers); a continued military presence in Iraq (under one guise or another); a substantial expansion of the hate-fomenting war in Afghanistan (with a concomitant raise in "collateral damage"); an extension of that war into Pakistan (destabilizing and radicalizing a fractious state with a nuclear arsenal); pressing ever closer to the threshold of war with Iran (with bellicose threats, blockades and demonizing propaganda); establishing even more military satrapies to exercise dominion over the regions of the earth (including new proconsular commands for Africa and the United States itself); and -- as we have noted here over and over -- the bloody rendering of Somalia into a boiling, hellish cauldron of slaughter, suffering and chaos.

Somalia is the invisible third front of the Terror War, an American-backed "regime change" operation launched by the invading army of Ethiopia and local warlords in December 2006. In addition to helping arm, fund and train the army of the Ethiopian dictatorship, the United States has intervened directly into the conflict, carrying out bombing raids on fleeing refugees and nomads, firing missiles into villages, sending in death squads to clean up after covert operations, and, as we reported here long ago, assisting in the "rendition" of refugees, including American citizens, into the hands of Ethiopia's notorious torturers. [See note below for more links.]

Together, the American Terror Warriors, the Ethiopians and the warlords (some of them directly in the pay of the CIA) have created the worst humanitarian disaster on earth. Thousands have been killed in the fighting. Hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes, many fleeing to northern Kenya, where more than 215,000 people are languishing in a single refugee camp in Dadaab; 45,000 people have poured into the camp this year alone, says the UN. In some of the camps, Somali refugees are living without any shelter at all: "The BBC's Mark Doyle, who has recently visited the camps in Kenya, says some refugees do not even have a basic plastic sheet to protect them from the sun and rain."
He's just getting started. Go read Floyd right now, and follow the links for much, much more. And other than Floyd, who is discussing this orgy of blood and death on any sort of regular basis at all? That's right: no one.]

That returns us to Darfur, and to the general question of "humanitarian" intervention. Appropriately enough, that returns us as well to another earlier essay, "The Lies in Your Head: 'We Will All Die...If We Continue to Practise War.'" There is much more that could be said about allegedly "humanitarian" intervention, but I will provide you with this excerpt from the earlier piece:
And for those people, especially those liberals, who still cling to the "necessity" of war for "humanitarian" purposes, I recommend Jean Bricmont's Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War. If I believed in such programs, I would make that small but indispensable book required reading for everyone who writes on political affairs, and for everyone who works or hopes to work in government. I would require that they read it repeatedly, until they demonstrate they have fully understood its arguments.
I then offered these passages from Bricmont, at pp. 65-67:
The basic idea of this school of thought [humanitarian intervention] is simple enough: since democracy and human rights are much more respected in the West than elsewhere, it is our right and even our duty to do whatever we can to see to it that these rights are extended to the rest of humanity. Moreover, that obligation takes priority, since human rights come first; they are even the precondition for development.

The success of that ideology in transforming the Western left has been remarkable. ... Numerous left intellectuals consider it their mission to criticize Western governments for their excessive caution and timidity. To hear their complaints, one might gather that the main problem in the world today is the failure of the West to intervene in enough places (Chechnya, Tibet, Kurdistan, Sudan) and with enough force to promote and export its genuine values, democracy and human rights.

In the moderate version of this ideology, we are only called upon to protest, by demonstrations or letter writing, against human rights violations committed in other places. The tougher versions demand economic and diplomatic sanctions or even, if necessary, that the West have recourse to military intervention.

The main thing wrong with the "tough" version, the one calling for military intervention, stems from the ambiguity of the "we" in statements such as "We should intervene in order to..." The "we" does not usually refer to a particular group to which the person making such recommendations belongs, as would have been the case, for example, with the volunteers who joined the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, but to armed forces powerful enough to intervene effectively, in particular those of the United States. During the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo, a certain number of Western intellectuals fancied themselves following in the Spanish footsteps of Malraux, Orwell, and Hemingway. But, unlike their predecessors, they largely remained at home or ensconced in the same hotel, rather than entering the fray, while the International Brigades and the Spanish Republican Army were replaced by the U.S. Air Force. Now, nothing in United States policy indicates the slightest sincere concern for human rights and democracy. Assigning it the prime task of defending these values is strange indeed. Moreover, to call on an army to wage a war for human rights implies a naive vision of what armies are and do, as well as a magical belief in the myth of short, clean, "surgical" wars. The example of Iraq shows that it is possible to know when a war starts but not when it will end, and it is totally utopian to expect an army that is under constant attack from guerrilla forces not to have recourse to torture in order to obtain information. The French used it massively in Algeria. The Americans used it in Vietnam and again in Iraq. Yet both the French and American torturers were citizens of "democratic countries, respectful of human rights" -- yes, but when they were at home, and in periods of relative social peace.
Most people, including most liberals and progressives, will fall for the lies an endless number of times, particularly when they are offered by an "experienced" member of their own political tribe. And so the murder and destruction will go on, into the bloody, mangled future.

For the reasons I have stated repeatedly, I refuse to vote for either McCain or Obama. McCain fully supports the U.S. drive to world hegemony, with all the death and chaos that requires. And even though Palin remains a bit more human at the moment, if she should rise to the national level in politics, her own hands will be drenched with the blood of innocents soon enough. As for Obama and Biden: they are swimming in blood, and none of their supporters seem to mind that to any noticeable extent. And they speak so well!

Never mind that almost every word they speak is a lie. Never mind the lives they so heedlessly and criminally throw away, as they eagerly pay for a military that will rip apart the bodies of more than a million innocent people.

But you can comfort yourselves with the pretty words and the empty phrases, as the flames engulf us and we drown in blood.

Lies are all most Americans know, and lies are all they will accept. Truth is the enemy, and truth must be destroyed, along with life, joy and meaning. But the devil will certainly turn a lovely phrase, as he leads you directly into hell.

October 03, 2008

A Rainbow Called Obama

[Update added at the end.]

Before this election season is concluded, I shall be driven to jamming jagged shards of glass through my ears and straight into my brain. That may be the only way to stop the blistering pain of massive stupidity on a scale I have never before witnessed.

Note this:
Democrats were stung themselves by Monday’s loss [on the bailout rescue extortion bill] and are working harder together with Barack Obama, the party’s presidential nominee, who is making calls to individual lawmakers to shore up support.

In a call to Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings on Tuesday, for example, Obama spoke of how President Obama could revisit bankruptcy laws to give judges more leeway to restructure residential mortgage payments when threatened with foreclosure.

Obama didn't need to lay out a quid pro quo because the message was clear. And Cummings, a no vote Monday, told Obama he was “open” to changing his vote but wasn’t there yet.

"I have to look beyond [the bailout] to a rainbow called Obama," he said. "When you bring in the Obama factor, that's very very important."
"President Obama" could do many things. His record of betrayal on every critical issue thus far is not precisely encouraging. I understate.

Very briefly, I will point out two critical aspects of the above report. As a preliminary matter, I emphasize that many similar reports concerning the Democrats' efforts to ensure passage of the extortion bill are now circulating.

First, Obama and the Democrats fully own the extortion bill. Obama and the Democrats, as much as the Republicans, are nothing but whores for the sickeningly corrupt financial and corporate interests that control the U.S. government. I've been pointing this out about Obama for some time. Furthermore, in their determination to make certain that the ruling class's affluence and power are maintained with the work, blood and lives of "ordinary" Americans for generations to come, both Republicans and Democrats have turned their terrorist tactics on Americans with close to full force. All that is missing are the bullets -- but they may not be long in coming as conditions deteriorate. It should be illuminating (read: nauseating) to see most of those who would condemn brutal police state actions when ordered by Republicans watch identical events in total silence -- and in this context, silence means consent -- because a Democrat orders them.

Second, and see an earlier essay for much more on this subject, Obama's election will ensure the death of significant political opposition in this country for the foreseeable future as much as any single development can. About that and related issues, see another essay, too: "Silenced: Barack Obama and the End of Struggle Toward Truth and Freedom."

To sum up: the triumph of the ruling class, again, the destruction of the present and future for all other Americans, and the annihilation of political opposition, all within a matter of months.

Some fucking rainbow you got there, you son of a bitch.

THE RULING CLASS ALWAYS WINS: Extortion bill passes the House, 263-171. And note the profiles in "progressive" non-courage:
Democrats including Reps. Lynn Woolsey (Calif.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Elijah Cummings (Md.), John Lewis (Ga.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), John Yarmuth (Ky.) and Betty Sutton (Ohio) were among those switching their votes to yes.
The power of that goddamn rainbow...

October 02, 2008

Dear America

Why do almost all of your political leaders hate fags and dykes so much? Why do they absolutely refuse to grant fags and dykes equal treatment under law?

What the hell is wrong with you moral cretins?

All best wishes, mixed with considerable sympathy for your colossal stupidity,

Some Queer

I'll publish the relevant excerpts from the vice presidential debate later this evening or tomorrow, when the transcript is available. Meanwhile, a brief excerpt from an essay written over four and a half years ago by "Some Queer":
Make no mistake about this: even if one believes that the state has no business in marriage to begin with (which is my view), the fact is that in this country, and in this world at this time, the state is involved in marriage in countless ways. And it is nothing less than the most revolting form of discrimination for the state to provide benefits to one group (heterosexuals) while denying those same benefits to another group (homosexuals). And to do this solely because one particularly powerful pressure group, the Religious Right, has a visceral dislike for gays and lesbians is beneath contempt. And to enshrine such irrationality and discrimination in the Constitution itself earns the proponents of such a loathsome idea an eternal date with the devil.
I like the way that Queer writes.

I republished that essay from long ago in October 2006 (it had gone offline with much other writing when the archives were corrupted). I added some prefatory notes to the earlier piece, including these thoughts about my evolving political views:
Given my support of state-sanctioned gay marriage, I should perhaps mention the following. In terms of popular labels, it would probably be closest to the truth to describe my overall political position as being leftist-anarchist-libertarian. Theoretically, I unquestionably find anarchism to be the preferable alternative. History demonstrates over and over again that once any state is granted power, it will always seek to expand that power, until it finally tramples all traces of liberty underfoot, if it does not destroy them altogether. But as I indicate, that is only theory. For this historical moment, and certainly for another several hundred years at least, states as organizing political entities are here to stay. We shall see if the human race manages to survive them. With regard to the gay marriage issue, my argument is informed by an approach I have referred to as "contextual libertarianism" -- which I have described in some detail in this essay (which discusses general considerations and foreign policy), and in this follow-up (which concerned whether pharmacists should be allowed to refuse to provide contraceptive devices because of their personal views; for the reasons I explained, I maintained they should not).

I will be writing more on the following point shortly, so now I only mention this glancingly: for anarchy even to be possible (and to be a positive good, rather than only immensely destructive), a profound transformation of human consciousness would be required. I don't mean that fancifully; I intend it quite literally. The disavowal of a single overriding authority -- a power that commands the obedience of all under its sway, under penalty of law -- could only rest on a radically different conception of our own nature and, of equal importance, of how we relate to one another, in contrast to the ideas almost all people accept today. In fact, I think evolution may take us to that point at some time in the future; there are small indications supporting that possibility to be found here and there. But I doubt it will occur on any significant scale when you or I will see it.
A recent essay discusses certain related concerns from another perspective: The State and Full Spectrum Dominance, Abroad and At Home. There will be much more on these themes in upcoming articles.

On general cultural issues concerning gays and lesbians, you might want to read, "We Are Not Freaks." I should mention that the TAPPED post that gave rise to that essay in large part seems to have disappeared into the ether. But if you follow the links to the earlier posts of mine on the same topic (as is suggested in the opening of the "Freaks" piece, with those links provided), you'll find the critical passages from the TAPPED post reprinted as part of my own entries.

October 01, 2008

Terrorist State, Abroad and At Home

Summarizing the foreign policy views of Barack Obama and of America's ruling class generally, I wrote the following in May of last year:
As is true with every candidate for national office, Obama regularly proclaims the seriousness and depth of his religious convictions. I had thought that one of the bedrock principles of such convictions was humility, and a recognition of the limits of human knowledge and what ought to be the limits of human action.

But there is nothing remotely humble about any of this at any point, just as there is nothing humble about the prevailing views of the foreign policy establishment. People who hold these beliefs have not one God, but two: a God in Heaven, and a God on Earth. Their God on Earth is America: it is all-powerful and should be so, it is all-knowing, its beneficence alone makes progress and civilization possible, for which mankind should be properly grateful -- and its wrath is terrible. They will construct the world in their own image, and nothing and no one will be permitted to oppose them.

The governing class, including the foreign policy establishment, have been convinced of the truth and rightness of this view for over 60 years. This view led us into Korea, into Vietnam, into Latin America, into the interventions of the 1990s, into Afghanistan, into numerous other interventions, and into Iraq. Hillary Clinton believes it, so does Obama, so does Bush. With only one or two exceptions, every national politician believes it.

America is God. God's Will be done.
My "Dominion Over the World" series analyzes the historical, political and economic roots of the U.S. government's bipartisan drive to world hegemony. In discussing this program of aggressive, neverending global interventionism, I quoted William Pfaff:
Militarized or otherwise, American policy remains under the influence of an unacknowledged and unjustified utopianism. This is the unanalyzed background to the work of all Washington's foreign policy agencies. It permeates the rhetoric and thinking of Republicans and Democrats alike. It is the reason Americans can think that history has an ultimate solution, and that the United States is meant to provide it.
It has long been apparent to an honest observer that "utopianism" of this kind is immensely and unforgivably destructive, just as it is obvious that the belief that one person or one nation has the "ultimate solution" constitutes murderous arrogance of the kind we properly associate with the greatest monsters in history. One of the most deeply pathetic aspects of the tragedy of Iraq is that not a single element of this belief system has been dislodged in even the smallest degree. Thus, we continue to hear Obama, along with every other prominent national leader, proclaim: "The American moment has not passed. The American moment is here. And like generations before us, we will seize that moment, and begin the world anew."

Where it matters, on the ground, the American drive to world hegemony translates into brute force used to make others behave in the manner the U.S. government demands. Such force will often be deployed in the form of economic assistance, but offered only on certain conditions, which therefore more accurately means economic intimidation. On other occasions, the interference becomes harsher, while it is still kept under wraps to some extent: thus, we have numerous covert operations, sometimes used to engineer the overthrow of duly constituted governments. When all else fails, military force will be employed openly and with carefully crafted righteous anger.

It would hardly do for a nation so devoted to its self-image as the noble warrior dedicated only to improving the world and the lives of all its inhabitants to embark on missions of unadorned conquest. In a meretricious, hypocritical tradition going back to a time close to our nation's origins, our rulers were careful to provoke other countries into making what appeared to be the first move, so that the United States could unapologetically announce that it acted only in self-defense. It was almost always a lie, but a lie most Americans were enthusiastically willing to swallow. Thus, we provoked Mexico into a conflict that constituted "a favor" we offered to that benighted nation -- just as the genocide unleashed by the U.S. government in Iraq constituted a benevolent, disinterested gift to more than a million slaughtered Iraqis, and to many more millions made homeless refugees. "Freedom isn't free," our viciously stupid propagandists announced to the dead, maimed and displaced Iraqis, neglecting to note that it was beneath our lofty status to inquire whether the gift was desired in the smallest degree, especially when acquired by these methods and with the associated costs. (This assumes that "freedom" was, in fact, the goal, which of course it was not. All of this is propaganda, remember.)

The fundamental lesson is unmistakable, and unmistakably evil in intent and execution (a word made horribly appropriate in more than one sense by our government's actions): you will do exactly as we say -- or else.

It is now critical to note a further implication of this murderous method of dealing with others. Just as it is not possible for an individual to restrict what constitutes a fundamental psychological methodology to only one area of his life, so a ruling class will not employ one approach in foreign policy while dealing with matters of domestic politics in a radically different manner. In any case, the U.S. ruling class never had such a desire: in one way or another, other nations would be made to submit to the demands of the U.S. government -- and the same is true for U.S. citizens. The citizens of America will do exactly as the ruling class demands -- or else. As far as the ruling class is concerned, you have as little reason to complain as the murdered Iraqis do: the ruling class only wishes to improve your life. The ruling class acts only on your behalf, and "for your own good."

You now witness these tactics of intimidation and of the most transparently, viciously manipulative fear-mongering deployed by almost every member of the ruling class in connection with the bailout bill. I will not rehearse another time all the reasons this bill will do nothing but hasten the economic destruction of the United States, or why it is supposedly designed to solve a problem that cannot be solved: begin with my most recent essay on this subject, and follow the links (or scroll through the last few weeks of posts) for much more. (In the following, I do not even mention the cruder and more obvious methods of intimidation now so beloved by our government. See an earlier essay -- "Obey or Die" --for just one kind of example of what the cruder methods entail.)

The words speak for themselves, but the purpose of these pronouncements should be emphasized: our rulers do not want to scare you to death, although your death would hardly approach a matter of any serious concern for them. While your death is not (necessarily) required, your obedience is. You will obey them -- or else.

So we have our president:
After Congress failed to pass a $700 billion financial rescue bill yesterday, President Bush made a plea to Congress Tuesday morning to act now or "the economic damage will be painful and lasting."

This is the sixth time in the past two weeks President Bush cleared his schedule to make remarks specifically on the economy.

"The reality is that we are in an urgent situation, and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act," he said.

"The dramatic drop in the stock market that we saw yesterday will have a direct impact on the retirement accounts, pension funds, and personal savings of millions of our citizens. And if our nation continues on this course, the economic damage will be painful and lasting."
We have the Democratic vice presidential candidate:
Biden took a break from debate prep Tuesday to grab lunch at Wilmington's Charcoal Pit, where he fielded two questions from voters concerned about the nation's precarious economic situation.

"It’s real trouble," Biden said of the prospect that the rescue plan might not come through. "What people are going to do if they don’t get this done, people are going to lose their jobs, their pensions."
We have Barack Obama:
RENO, Nev.—Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday called for Americans to get behind attempts to salvage a $700 billion rescue plan for the financial sector, saying that if Wall Street fails ordinary people will also be hurt.

"This is no longer just a Wall Street crisis. It's an American crisis, and it's the American economy that needs this rescue plan," Obama told about 12,000 people at a rally at the University of Nevada at Reno.

Obama said Congress should put aside politics—he didn't mention GOP rival John McCain by name during his remarks—and should act quickly on the legislation.

"To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say: Step up to the plate and do what's right for this country," he said. "And to all Americans, I say this: If I am president of the United States, this rescue plan will not be the end of what we do to strengthen this economy. It will only be the beginning."


Obama said he had talked with Bush, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and other leaders Tuesday about resurrecting the recovery plan. He also sought to reassure the public, saying the plan had been "misunderstood and poorly communicated."

"This is not a plan to just hand over $700 billion of your money to a few banks on Wall Street," the Illinois senator said.
Those last comments from Obama introduce another theme of this propaganda onslaught, one that should be especially offensive to any American who remains capable of thought to any extent at all. That theme is simply this: if you don't understand why we need to add an incalculable amount to the already monumental national debt, if you fail to grasp why we have to extort money from you to maintain the ruling class in its comfort and affluence, if you don't see why we need to embark on a plan that cannot possibly do what we are told it's intended to do, while it will cause untold damage in numerous other ways -- well, you're just stupid.

This is a theme that Hillary Clinton is happy to pick up:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. Senate may have to lead the way in passing a $700 billion Wall Street bailout package, now that the House has rejected the measure.
"I certainly would support the Senate going first, so long as we have the votes ... as early as tomorrow if that's what would make this process successful," Clinton told reporters by phone Tuesday.

The New York Democrat, who nearly won her party's presidential nomination, said she believes public opposition to the bailout deal may be weakening after the market reacted badly to the failed House vote Monday and more businesses express worries about the future.

"It sounds dire but there is a risk that commerce could grind to a halt," she said.


Voters furious over the proposal to have taxpayers foot the bill should understand that it's not just a problem facing bankers, Clinton said.

"They have to recognize that we are facing a very serious economic slowdown, a recession that could be of long-lasting and deep impact," she said.
If you don't "recognize" what Clinton demands you recognize -- whether it's true or not, whether the "solution" she proposes is a solution or more of the poison that is killing us -- you're just stupid.

I have several other news articles offering comments from other members of the ruling class, and I could easily find many, many more, all to the same general effect: be terrified and do what they say. Or else. If you don't understand the urgency and necessity of doing exactly what they say, you're just stupid. In that case, you should obviously turn your life and your money over to your betters. Let them dispose of all of it as they see fit. That's why they're your rulers, isn't it? They know what's best for you.

Do what they demand -- or else.

This is your government -- a terrorist state, abroad and at home. Now they've added you to their list of current targets. How does it feel? (At least, they're not shooting at you. Not just yet, anyway.)

I fully expect that this bailout/rescue/extortion scheme will be passed in some form close to the original version in its essentials, probably in the next several days, almost certainly in the coming week. The system is now set up so that when the ruling class is particularly intent upon a certain objective, even your obedience isn't required any longer. After all, what are you going to do? Move to another country? Not vote for any of these bastards in November?

Most Americans won't do that. They protest now; once the deed is done, they'll go back to their lives, such as they will be at that point, and devote themselves to making the ruling class more wealthy and more powerful.

To a terrorist government, you're irrelevant, as irrelevant as a slaughtered five-year-old Iraqi girl. But they'll continue to try to scare you to death. You're easier to rule that way.

I suggest you get used to it. This is your future.

At this moment, you might want to reconsider a question I have asked before: Why do you continue to support this kind of system? To the degree you comply with the ruling class's demands for obedience, you are not merely obeying: you are supporting.

Is that your choice?