Welcome to another chapter in the endless soap opera known as War/Not-War, brought to you today by yet another lonely voice in Not-Corporate Media. This edition will comprise three New York Times comments I wrote in response to Maureen Dowd, Frank Bruni and Ross Douthat. (I skipped Tom Friedman, because I just ate. And besides, Secretary of State of Rage John Kerry, during his Congressional harangue last week remarked that he agrees with almost everything Tom Friedman writes. And that is probably all you need to know.)
First Dowd, who gleefully pushes the buttons of Obamabots everywhere as she refers to angst-ridden "Barry" in almost every single paragraph in a piece about Peace Barry and War Barry battling each other inside the empty suit that they each inhabit. My response:
In all the spin on War/Not-War, we don't even know the half of it. Congressman Alan Grayson doesn't know the half of it. In this, a putative representative democracy, he is not even allowed to take notes in the top-secret briefings which appear designed to quash dissent and foment fear at the highest levels.
As Hawkette Dianne Feinstein (D-Surveillance State) chided on TV the other day, if we only knew what she knows, we'd shut up post-haste. Thank God we are not shutting up.
I am happy that for once, the Powers That Be have failed miserably to herd the rest of us into the usual partisan veal pens, pitting North Against South, Democrat vs Republican. It's 100% of the people vs. a tiny handful of elite deciders. Watching them squirm as they are forced to reveal their true allegiances in all their depravity is a sight to behold. A broad bottom-up anti-war coalition is building. It could even spell the resurgence of the Occupy movement, or something like it.
So, despite all his own failings, we do have "Barry" to thank for pulling back the curtain on the travesty of Kabuki Democracy, whether that was his original intention in punting to Congress or not.
We are sadder and wiser, having learned from Iraq and the financial collapse that swallowing all the lies told us by corrupt politicians to wage war for profit and then put profits over people has come at a terrible price.
That we are paying attention now must be shocking the hell out of all of them. Awesome.
Next up, the Pasty Little Putz (h/t Marion of Savannah over at FDL), aka Ross Douthat and his blather about Amerika losing its prestige because of Obamian dithering. My comment:
I think you're overstating the negative impact that a Congressional "no" vote on war would have on the credibility of the president. To the contrary: a resounding "Nay" would send a signal that democracy, if not exactly thriving in the USA, is not completely dead, either. I think the rest of the world would breathe a sign of relief. Even the "bad actors" might think twice before acting, once they realize the American government is not as omnipotent as it likes to pretend.
We need to end the unitary executive power of the imperial presidency that rose to truly dangerous levels during the tortured and torturing reign of President Dick Cheney. We need Congress to repeal indefinite detention by presidential fiat, the Oval Office hit list of drone strikes (yes, our drones have killed at least hundreds of children. But since drone bombs serve to either vaporize their victims or render them into bugsplat, there aren't many guilt-inducing photos of casualties in little white shrouds to embarrass our elite corps of Collateral Damagers.)
I don't want to live in a country whose highest goal is "prestige." I don't want to live in a country where whistleblowers are prosecuted and war criminals are celebrated. I definitely don't want to live in a country whose next Temp Emp (temporary emperor) might be named Chris Christie or Ted Cruz.
Forget prestige. If we're going to drop anything, let's drop gas masks, food packages and medicine. Bring on the humanity, both at home and abroad.
Finally, Frank Bruni wrote an excellent column bemoaning the shallow, personality-driven media coverage of the Syrian crisis. My response:
Frank's piece is all the more scathing, given the simultaneous offerings of Maureen Dowd (Obama Doppelgangers!) and Ross Douthat (OMG, American prestige!).
It's a testament to the profit-driven business model of journalism and the profit-driven corporate ownership of our politics that a bloody tragedy across the globe is being packaged as mass market infotainment. The death-rattle and the sabre-rattle are among the commonest sounds of any Empire in its last throes.
There's plenty of in-depth nuanced reportage on Syria. But for the most part, we're being hit with garish graphics on the "Whip Count". The numbers needed to bomb are treated like the numbers needed to win a primary.
In a sick off-year hybrid of the Olympics and the Elections, one day the Firm Noes and the Leaning Noes are yards ahead of the Yeses and the Maybes. The next day, the Firm Noes start faltering and falling behind the bellicose pack. "Politico" is especially adept at this, breathlessly gifting each new publicity-hungry Decider his/her own personality profile. Ka-ching! (another sound of Empire.)
And since the Internet has given politicians control of their own messages, the elite among them bypass journalists completely. For example, once Hillary has completed her own evolution (via a close examination of polls and the wind direction) she will no doubt make her grand War/Not-War declaration in a slickly produced webcast complete with emotive background music selected just for her special occasion.