Friday, September 19, 2014

Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Despite the official narrative of congressional Republicans and Democrats hating each other's guts, the political Bickersons of the Senate were simply unable to resist the aphrodisiac of more military violence. They indulged themselves in a little afternoon delight on Thursday. They achieved a rare public simultaneous orgasm. Flushed and spent, (half a billion dollars' worth of high tech weapons for complete strangers while the long-term unemployed are forgotten) they left town to smoke a cigarette and search out more johns donors. And President Obama, who'd enjoyed the porn spectacle from afar via TV, also declared himself well-satisfied. Let the bombing, killing and maiming continue into perpetuity. Let the masters of war laugh maniacally all the way to the too-big-to-fail bank.

Meanwhile, the White House "sternly told the NFL that 'it's important that the league get a handle' on its own extra-judicial violence. (concussions and fractures and mayhem on the field are still fine, however, especially when they're accompanied by patriotic music and military trappings and sponsored by tax-sheltered defense and big oil contractors and other masters of war.)

 Apparently, the White House legal eagles who write their own secret extra-judicial opinions, allowing a president to maintain his own Kill List as well as to unilaterally declare war whenever he feels like it, missed the class in law school where they teach the doctrine of Clean Hands:
A senior administration official told reporters during a briefing about a new White House public awareness campaign on preventing sexual assaults on college campuses that "the most recent revelations of abuse by the NFL players is really deeply troubling."
"The NFL has an obligation not only to their fans but to the American people to properly discipline anyone involved in domestic violence or child abuse and more broadly, gain control of the situation," the official continued.
"Many of these professional athletes are marketed as role models to young people and so their behavior does have the potential to influence these young people, and it's one of the many reasons it's important that the league get a handle on this and have a zero tolerance."
Or what? President Obama won't do his Fox pre-game Superbowl interview, or have a White House Superbowl party to fete The Troops, or Michelle won't give a Pentagon-produced patriotic shout-out to the military before urging "folks" to enjoy the game? Will Obama decline to open the air space above the stadium so that a trillion dollars' worth of military aircraft can do a flyover?  Could this annual domestic display of American might, violence, and exceptionalism actually be banned?

Not likely. There is too much money at stake. Anyway, this latest presidential scolding defines violence only in the narrowest, political wedge issue sort of way:
The official's comments come as the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell are facing criticism after numerous off-field incidents involving players including Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and, most recently, Jonathan Dwyer.
After the Baltimore Ravens cut Rice earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement, "The President is the father of two daughters. And like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society. Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that's true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors. Stopping domestic violence is something that's bigger than football - and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it."
Of course, domestic violence in the military is exceptional. The Obama administration has notoriously caved to the wishes of the generals, refusing to order that prosecutions and investigations of rape and other violence against female troops be taken outside the macho chain of command.

He actually used the same limp finger-wagging language with the Pentagon as he did with the NFL:
President Obama issued a stern statement on the problem of military sexual assault on Friday, telling military leaders they have one year to "step up their game exponentially" in preventing and responding to sexual assault cases.
Congress passed a defense authorization bill on Thursday night that includes some military sexual assault reforms, but does not go so far as to take those cases out of the chain of command. Obama said the onus is now on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other military leaders to carry out those changes and produce results.
"I have also directed that they report back to me, with a full-scale review of their progress, by Dec. 1, 2014," Obama said. "If I do not see the kind of progress I expect, then we will consider additional reforms that may be required to eliminate this crime from our military ranks and protect our brave service members who stand guard for us every day at home and around the world."
So the rapes continue unabated while Obama waits for his full-scale review. Additional reforms "may" be required, but it's not a sure thing. They need to "step up their game", because war, like football, is an exceptional American sporting event. I am sure that the female victims of sex crimes are relieved to know that their plight is being framed as an athletic event by the Big Guys.

Hitting a woman or child is not something a real man does, regardless of whether it happens in the public eye (and officials have to pretend to care for awhile) or behind closed doors. A real man indulges his violent tendencies by proxy and from a safe distance... like from a Kill List. For instance, when Obama decided that a 17-year-old girl was a threat, she went right on The List.

It has never been revealed whether he did actually end up drone-punching her to death. That is because all Predator strikes are conducted behind closed doors, far away from prying elevator cameras. And anyway, Obama has been declared legally exempt from accountability, thanks to his complicit bipartisan friends in the Senate. If they can't see or refuse to acknowledge the innocent women and children getting killed because of appropriation bills they passed, then they can still pretend to care about pay parity for females, and Obamacare-covered birth control.

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

When a father and his two children testified about their own ordeal-by-drone before Congress last fall, only a few legislators even bothered showing up. Obama himself was ironically meeting with the manufacturers of the same drones that had killed the family matriarch, and obviously missed their appearance on C-Span.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Obama's drones have killed at least 2500 people. These casualties include mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers, and children. But these casualties do not officially exist.

Yemeni Drone Victims

"The idea of democracy has been stripped of its moral imperatives and come to denote hollowness and hypocrisy": so explained Paul Wellstone, one of the last great senators, before his untimely death, long before there was ever such a thing as a predator drone to add a robotic cover to the ruling class decay and state-sponsored violence against all humankind.

The time for the White House and Congress to get a handle on their own hypocrisy and to "step up their game" is indeed long past. They're moral losers who just can't stop marketing themselves as role models for the unfettered free market.


annenigma said...

Too funny, Karen!

Actually, the government can always threaten to reclassify the NFL's non-profit tax-exempt status.

The NFL pays no federal taxes even though it is the most profitable sports league in the world. It enjoys tax-exempt status because, as with $9Billion/year in profits, this 'nonprofit' is too well connected to other wealthy and powerful industries who lobby and own Congress. Think of the money made in television advertising and broadcast rights, beer sales, etc.

Isn't it odd that Congress didn't get outraged and motivated over the OJ ('The Juice') Simpson near BEHEADING of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson? Could have it been related to the fact that he was a TV broadcaster and actor?

Apparently there is some effort to revoke the NFL's tax exempt status. Here is a link to one effort to change their tax status. At the end it mentions that Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington has legislation pending. Good luck to her. It's obviously still a good old boy system in a man's world.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Anne. The tax-exempt part is of a piece with the morality-exempt part. The professional football cartel is absolutely a bona fide member of the military-industrial complex. Maybe Muckety has a map comprising all the "players" in this web of deceit -- CBS, broadcaster of NFL games, whose news division president is the brother of Obama's national security guru, whose entertainment division hired Obama's teenage daughter as a summer intern, etc, etc. What a racket.

Denis Neville said...

Reality exists in a vacuum in which facts, the reality on the ground, simply no longer matter.

Congress is pathetic and deserves our disgust. Sure of its omnipotence, impunity and invulnerability, in collective denial and utterly oblivious to its folly, these spineless hypocrites and whores for the oligarchy celebrate their magnificence in their bipartisan support of the Empire wars and its imperial ambitions.

Congress disgraced the United States when it failed to show for Alan Grayson’s drone hearing. It was shameful! Quite simply, nobody cares.

Our Empire of Chaos, which proclaims itself “the greatest nation on Earth,” has to be one the most arrogant empires in history. The elites control of the Emperor and his minions and over this country knows no limits. The democratic ideals of our founding fathers have become empty clich├ęs, used to justify acts of greater plunder, corruption and violence.

Supporting the home team and the troops:

“To stand in symbolic solidarity at a ballpark with those on whom the burden of service and sacrifice falls is about as far as they will go — just far enough, that is, to affirm that the existing relationship between the military and society, along with the distribution of privileges and responsibilities that the relationship entails, is congruent with democratic practice. The message that citizens wish to convey to their soldiers is this: although choosing not to be with you, we are still for you (so long as being for you entails nothing on our part). Cheering for the troops, in effect, provides a convenient mechanism for avoiding obligation and perhaps easing guilty consciences.” - Andrew Bacevich, Breach of Trust

The NFL is the perfect metaphor.

As Dave Zirin writes, “This is an inherently dirty game with a real body count. Its main business isn’t a race to the Super Bowl but to present raw violence in a way that’s palatable for mass consumption. The more comfortable we are with violence, the more successful the NFL becomes. The minute we squirm, they lose. Like war, as long as the reporters are embedded and no one sees the coffins, business can proceed as planned. The tragedy is that often it’s only after players retire that they see the reality of an unequal partnership where only one side really walks away from the table.”

Is there any hope that there will be change from within, when the vast majority of Americans have been brainwashed beyond repair by our corporate media? Is it at all possible to reform this system? Vote them out of office? To hold any such thoughts is, I think, the height of delusion. Few willing are willing to confront imperial power. Dissent is controlled with efficient and often ruthless means. Accommodation rather than strife is safer.

Pearl said...

The American capitalist system is no longer viable just as the Israel policies are no longer viable, but until this fact will become obvious to everyone, we have to expect to watch the dance of war and illusion continue where no one wins. Not until the financial system collapses as in l929 will America and similar systems throughout the world have to decide which path to follow. But in l929, the right people at the right time rose to leadership and began change which has been wiped out since. Watching the Roosevelt documentary, especially the one last night leading to involvement in WW 2, was very revealing.
But do we have people up to the job of changing the system when things face the undeniable facts
for the need of survival? At least FDR didn't have an environmental crisis knocking at the door.
But he did have the support and trust of the people which is missing today. I am afraid we might be embroiled in a Civil War in America before too long.
Sorry to have to add to the indigestion we all feel in our souls but at least we are less alone than one might think. Many of the comments in the NYtimes surprise me with their knowledge and the Truthout, Truthdig, Common Dreams, Counterpunch sites are filled with painful but observant articles.
I feel good (as Karen well should) when we see what we write has positive reactions. What we all have to say to each other and in other publications are appreciated by many who need to hear the truth in order to make sense of the chaos.
Just look at the reaction of large groups of women and men to the domestic abuse issue in an elevator that may well affect how sports owners will be forced to react to these problems in their ranks. Small beginnings but could encourage more of this kind of not sitting on the sidelines in other areas as well. I just wish the original negative reaction to the earlier attempts to 'walk' into Syria could be repeated this time around.

annenigma said...


Did you read this remark by Congressman Nolan of Minnesota regarding the proposed bombing of Syria?

“Launching airstrikes on another country, by any standard, by any definition, is an act of war,” said Representative Rick Nolan, Democrat of Minnesota. “Have we not had enough of imperial presidencies doing what they want in the world?”

I wonder who allowed him to actually speak the truth? I hope that doesn't cost him too much, but I expect it will. After all, AIPAC and the rest of the wealthy and powerful Military-Industrial Complex wants this war in the worst way.

Re: the Roosevelts documentary. After reading William Hartung's Prophets of War: Lockheed-Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, I was surprised that Ken Burns didn't mention their sales to both sides during WWII. I guess it's understandable considering that Lockheed-Martin is now a generous and frequent sponsor of so many PBS/Nova programs. Well, they would have a ton of money in their line of business - endless war.

Didn't it seem like Winston Churchill, spending 3 weeks at the White House, was passing the torch to a new Empire and overseeing the war industry's birth? America, Inc., aka United States of the World, was the result.

And now comes the fateful end of our Empire. Will there be anyone left to pick up the torch of war or will we all be toast? Mother Earth might effectively preempt war in her own way.

Zee said...


You speak of a coming "Civil War in America before too long," which denotes--by definition--a war between citizens of the same country, which is different from a "revolution," which would be the overthrow of a sitting government by the citizenry.

While I don't see either a civil war or revolution in the offing for America, I would consider the latter more likely if the entire current system goes to hell.

If you really mean "civil war," what factions of American citizens would be at war with each other?

Flame thrower Pearl said...

Zee: We are already in a 'civilian war" sub rosa and take your pick:
beween black,white,yellow in between and accompanying ethnic and religious differences; rich vs. poor; left wing vs. right wing and all shades in between; ad infinitum. These divisions prevent effective organizing of citizens against the government representatives who do not follow the needs and wishes of the majority population regarding war or no war, financial support or no financial support for legitimate needs of the people, etc.
If citizens begin to unite we will have large groups against large groups which will become a hopefully bloodless civil war.
Revolution can only happen when all the disparate citizen groups unite against the current administration and/or regime. Take your pick. The current chaos will continue to be dysfunctional until a choice of the above begins to happen or a political messiah appears if the country truly falls apart completely ala the Roosevelt-depression years.

Jay - Ottawa said...

I came across a sentence attributed to Solon, the ancient Athenian jurist. His line may be appropriate here –– or following just about any of Karen’s essays over recent years.

Solon, it seems was also troubled by the slumbers of the comfortable in the middle of war’s din and the cries of misery all around. The issues of disparity and civic numbness have deep roots in history and most scriptures. Solon and the Good Samaritan are not that far apart..

So, anyway, Solon’s statement:

“Justice will not come until those who are not hurt feel just as indignant as those who are hurt.”