November 09, 2012

Seriously, America? It's Never the Sex, Revisited

I hardly know where to begin on this one. If I hadn't had a couple of drinks, I wouldn't even try. It has long been established as axiomatic that if a person writes about American politics with any frequency, and if he brings even the smallest degree of serious thought to his subject, he must regularly partake of licit and illicit substances, in amounts that significantly alter his perceptions and thoughts. That is to say, if we may speak somewhat informally, he must be high for much of the time he is conscious, at least while he is writing or thinking about writing (which for a writer means all the time he is conscious, and some of the time he's asleep as well). And I most emphatically do not mean "high on life," for any Disneyfied "philosophers" who might wander by. (In which case: go the fuck away. You will not like it here.)

I speak of the demigod who vanquishes foes in the manner of figures from ancient mythology, the paragon who exceeds all expectations of even the most heroic of men, the model of manliness and courage, the man who is, alas and alack, "forced" to resign -- because of an affair:
David H. Petraeus, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and one of America’s most decorated four-star generals, resigned on Friday after an F.B.I. investigation uncovered evidence that he had been involved in an extramarital affair.

Mr. Petraeus issued a statement acknowledging the affair after President Obama accepted his resignation and it was announced by the C.I.A. The disclosure ended a triumphant re-election week for the president with an unfolding scandal.

Government officials said that the F.B.I. began an investigation into a “potential criminal matter” several months ago that was not focused on Mr. Petraeus. In the course of their inquiry into whether a computer used by Mr. Petraeus had been compromised, agents discovered evidence of the relationship as well as other security concerns.
It is at this point that a question occurs to a human being with a minimum of two functioning brain cells: Does anyone -- anyone over the age of three who has a smattering of knowledge concerning America and its ruling class in the 21st century -- believe this colossal load of horseshit?

No one can seriously believe that Petraeus -- the man who "saved" Iraq and transformed it into the "extraordinary achievement" heralded by one Barack Obama (primarily by ensuring that Iraq would not be remotely close to a functioning country for the foreseeable future, and making certain that a catastrophic state of affairs would continue uninterrupted), the man who is so indispensable to so many for so many reasons -- has to resign because of an affair. I find it simultaneously ludicrous, contemptible, and all too believable that the administration would trot out the absolute terror of "marital infidelity" as the purported explanation for this resignation. They do so for one reason, and one reason only: Americans have a puerile, ridiculously immature, prudish and puritanical attitude toward anything having to do with sex; they believe sex, sex of any kind and in any form, to be inherently disgusting, and even evil, and they cannot get enough of it. The paradigmatic example remains the nation's collective breakdown over Janet Jackson's exposure of a nipple -- a nipple! the ungraspable horror! -- for a mere two or three seconds on national television. Millions of Americans repeatedly professed their shock and dismay in screams of denunciation, and they watched it over and over and over. And over again.

This is the polar opposite of a healthy, affirming attitude toward sex: this is severe mental derangement. If you have any doubt that Americans, and Western culture generally, believe sex to be evil, I refer you to: "Of Abortion, and Women as the Ultimate Source of Evil." That essay describes how this profoundly sex-negative system of beliefs took hold, tracing some of the crucial roots back to Augustine. And as my title indicated, since men run the world and set the rules, the evil is located in woman. Men are forever pure and well-meaning. If they sin, they sin because of woman. This is the story now being peddled by the administration, and eagerly gobbled up by the idiotic scribblers and yappers in the media: the noble general, brought low by a rotten slut.

What is far worse than the vicious lie to be found at the heart of this concocted story is this: it will work. Our culture's derangement has proceeded far past the point where we retain any awareness of how deeply sick we are. (See this, too, which is hardly unrelated.)

I read the following with mouth agape:
“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair,” Mr. Petraeus said in his statement, expressing regret for his abrupt departure. “Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation."
"Poor judgment" of this particular kind is as common as dirt. If infidelity were a crime subject to prosecution and conviction, most of the country would be in jail. And would an adult please explain to me -- an adult, mind you -- just how in the world "such behavior" is relevant in any conceivable manner to performance as "the leader of an organization such as ours"? These are fables for children, and not very bright, already badly damaged children.

Late in the story, the New York Times offers this with its straightest of faces:
By acknowledging an extramarital affair, Mr. Petraeus, 60, was confronting a sensitive issue for a spy chief. Intelligence agencies are often concerned about the possibility that agents who engage in such behavior could be blackmailed for information.
Dear God! They "could be blackmailed for information"! As regular readers are well aware, I bow to no one in my deep, unchanging and eternal contempt for this government and those who run it. It nonetheless pains me deeply that the administration (and our nation's scribblers and yappers) now model their discourse after the scripts of lousy Hollywood movies that were shitty when first filmed in the goddamned 1930s.

Seriously, America? Seriously?

To help us cut through the weeds of this business -- weeds, I emphasize, that are deliberately cultivated by the ruling class and its willing enablers in the media -- I am very pleased to direct you to an essay of mine from close to four years ago. It is among my personal favorites. The title tells you how well-suited the article is to this moment: "It's not the sex. It's never the sex." At the outset of that post, I described a scene from the BBC series, Cambridge Spies. The scene concerns Guy Burgess, who has been discovered having sex with another man, who is a waiter at the university. [ADDED FOR CLARITY: Burgess has engineered a waiters' strike because he is outraged about certain of the waiters' working conditions. The university administrators arranged in advance to have Burgess discovered having sex with the waiter, so that they could fire the waiter and end the strike. See the earlier post for further details.]

Of course, since Burgess is one of "the right people," he is not sent down for the indiscretion, but summoned to a meeting with some university officials:
At the outset of this scene, Burgess thinks that the immediate problem is about what it appears to be about: that he was having sex with another man (who happened to be a waiter). It is his confusion that makes it necessary for the officials to state explicitly how the ruling class operates. As a first step in stripping Burgess of his charming illusions, the elderly official declares: "It's not the sex. It's never the sex."

Understand that, and you will understand the truth of many, if not most, of the charades that make up our public life and our politics at present. In the first instance, the waiters' strike was an inconvenience for the ruling class. Inconveniences of this kind are annoyingly unpleasant. They will be eliminated. Beyond this, there is a larger concern: if the strike were to continue, and if the waiters' complaints were to be treated with any degree of seriousness -- and, may the gods forbid, if their complaints were thought to be true and others came to think that the waiters might have justice on their side -- that would call into question the legitimacy of the current arrangement. The prerogatives of the ruling class might be seriously challenged.

Such questions and such challenges to the legitimacy and prerogatives of the ruling class must never be allowed. Whenever events threaten to run out of control in this way, action will be taken to ensure that the privileges and power of the ruling class continue without interruption. Whatever else may be open to question or challenge, the power, the privileges and the prerogatives of the ruling class may never be threatened in a serious way.
Later in that essay, I wrote:
The rules promulgated by the ruling class are not intended to constrain their behavior. They're intended to constrain yours, the behavior of those they rule. The ruling class will tell you repeatedly -- and most people will believe them -- that the rules are meant to apply to everyone, that "everyone is equal under the law." But that has never been true, and it will never be true . ...

It's not the sex, or the taxes. It's not the criminal wars of aggression, or the torture. Certain of the ruling class's crimes are deeply evil, but that is of no moment or concern to the members of the elites. Other people may suffer unbearably or be murdered. The suffering and even the deaths of others barely trouble the ruling class at all. Their major concern, and very often their only concern, is that their own prerogatives, their own power, and their own lives of comfort and luxury unimaginable to most of those they rule continue without serious disruption.

It's not the sex. It's never the sex. Remember and understand that, and you will understand a great deal.
Applying these observations to the Petraeus resignation, we can state with absolute certainty that he is not resigning because of an affair. For reasons we will probably never know, he had become an inconvenience or a hindrance in some manner to the administration's plans. As a result, certain parties decided to get rid of him. Keep in mind that most of the players involved here are men, running a sprawling apparatus designed by and for men. In addition, our culture is one dominated by men (specifically privileged white men and those who mold themselves in their image, such as Barack Obama). Therefore, both those who needed an excuse and those who will be expected to believe it are all drowning in a culture dominated by male prerogatives and beliefs.

And what is the always dependable excuse that will be relied upon in such moments? Why did God -- and men -- invent cheap sluts in the first place? The indispensable utility of the lie is neverending.

I don't pretend to know the actual reasons for Petraeus's resignation. But the stories I've seen provide two clues. The less intriguing one, although it still offers much food for thought, is found here:
The resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus came less than a week before he was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

A spokesman for the committee said acting CIA Director Mike Morell would testify Thursday in place of Petraeus, who resigned Friday after admitting to an extramarital affair.
Whatever one's view of the Benghazi attack, and whether one considers it to raise serious questions about the administration's conduct of foreign affairs or not (either about Libya in particular and/or more generally), there are indisputably a great many indiscrepancies and confusions arising out of the various stories and explanations that have been offered thus far. Petraeus was in one of the most critical positions with regard to what happened. He almost certainly possesses information that no one else does.

Once again, I implore an adult to explain to me why Petraeus's resignation now apparently renders him unable or unwilling to testify. Extramarital affairs cause amnesia, at least once they're made public? Wow, they really are bad. If he has information that is critical to determining exactly what happened, he can still provide it. But he will not be asked to do so. The government is so wonderfully considerate when it chooses to be. Who knew?

But I consider the following of possibly much greater significance. From the end of the New York Times story:
Among those who might replace Mr. Petraeus permanently is John O. Brennan, the president’s adviser for domestic security and counterterrorism. Mr. Brennan was considered for C.I.A. director before Mr. Obama’s term began but withdrew among criticism from some of the president’s liberal supporters. Another possibility is Michael G. Vickers, the top Pentagon intelligence policy official and a former C.I.A. officer who is highly regarded by the White House.
John Brennan. My, my. What a conveniently small world it is.

If Brennan were to succeed Petraeus at the C.I.A., the White House would not only install Obama's first choice in that office, no small matter in itself. Of far greater importance is the fact that, aside from Obama himself -- and in certain respects, probably more than Obama -- Brennan is the single most critical person in the design and implementation of the government's Murder Program, as I recently discussed. If Brennan does finally head the C.I.A., do you think that would be a coincidence? I do not for a moment believe in coincidences of that kind, especially not with an administration as determined in its lethality as this one.

Think of it: John Brennan, who now is Obama's chief adviser on domestic security and counterterrorism goes to head the C.I.A. I'll tell you what that means to me: Obama and his fellow murderers are absolutely determined to bring the Murder Program home to America, and probably even more quickly that I had previously thought. I described the steps by which that might happen in the second half of the preceding post. The unfolding nightmare that I described might very well lie in your future, America -- and in the not too distant future at that. Do you care?

To be sure, the administration could achieve the same end with another candidate if it wished, Vickers for example. But to be able to unleash the Murder Program on an even greater scale with the man who knows everything about it, and from his lofty perch at the C.I.A. ... it's a dream come true for these bastards. And that may well be the reason they decided to get rid of Petraeus. I encourage you to read my earlier post about Brennan, to appreciate why I concluded with these words:
But that suddenly made it real to me. It made real how deeply, irreparably damaged these people are. Not just the murderers and those who directly assist them, but the reporters and editors who put together these kinds of stories. The deaths of innocent human beings aren't real to them. The deaths don't register in their minds in any meaningful way. In that sense, the story about the email is perfect. Brennan is enthusiastically willing to devote his life to the murders of innocent human beings -- and as long as all the rules are followed, provided everything is neat and tidy and procedure is respected, he is able to regard those murders of innocent human beings as entirely moral and righteous. The rules must always be obeyed -- whether it is the rules about murdering innocent human beings, or the rules about when it is appropriate to send a blind copy of an email. As long as you follow the rules, you are a good person.

It is only because fearsome weapons are at their disposal that such people are at all frightening. And that is assuredly a danger to be protected against as best one can. But in themselves, these people are lamentably, sickeningly pathetic. They are barely human at this point, for their souls have shriveled into empty husks, devoid of genuine feeling, compassion and empathy. If the truth of their actions were to make itself known to what remains of their minds and souls, it would shatter them forever beyond repair. There are certain actions for which atonement is not possible. That is certainly true of Brennan and all those who work in any part of the murder program. It is also true of many people who refuse to acknowledge the nature of the State that rules us and its murder program, and who continue to support such evils.
The nightmare draws nearer.

And remember: It's not the sex. It's never the sex.

AND: Still more about Petraeus. Now, don't be a frown-face! It's FUN!