Thursday, February 12, 2015

Paranoia, Inc.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. There is danger lurking in every corner of every home in every neighborhood in every town in every one of the 50 states.

But take heart, patriots. Besides life, liberty, and the Second Amendment, each and every one of us has a unique biological weapon with which to protect ourselves and our loved ones. And that is our follicles. Whenever those little hairs stand at attention on the back of our necks, we can rest assured that terrorists cannot be far away.

To hammer that message home, FBI Director James Comey traveled to the great freedom state of Mississippi in order to deputize every man, woman, and child in Real America:
Mississippi is a great state, but like all 50 states it has troubled souls that might look to find meaning in this sick, misguided way. The challenge that we face in law enforcement is that they may be getting exposed to that poison and that training in their basement," Comey said. "They're sitting there consuming and may emerge from the basement to kill people of any sort, which is the call of ISIL, just kill somebody."
So let's just outlaw basements. They're hotbeds of intrigue, blogging, Cheeto-eating and porn-watching. No terrorist worth his salt would ever devise an evil plot on the front porch or, God forbid, while sitting on the crapper in an upstairs bathroom. 
So he stressed that the threat is very real, not just for military or law enforcement or the media, all of whom have been warned by the FBI that ISIS could be gunning for them, but for ordinary citizens as well.
"If you can video tape it all the better, if it's law enforcement all the better, if you can cut somebody's head off and get it on tape, what a wonderful thing in their view of the world," he continued. "That's the challenge we face everywhere."
And while crazy people are rampaging throughout the countryside, sabers and axes in hand, the Homeland Police State is being thwarted in its noble efforts to unconstitutionally gather information on every man, woman and child in America:
Comey expressed particular fear that restrictions on information gathering could give terrorists more leeway because they are harder to track.
"I'm very worried about where we're drifting as a country in respect to law enforcement's ability to, with lawful process, intercept communications. I'm not talking about sneaky stuff. I'm talking about situations where we have probable cause to believe that somebody is communicating with a terrorist group," he said. "... We're drifting into a place where there are going to be large swaths of this country beyond the reach of the law."
Somebody is in a basement right now, installing encryption software on a computer in order to prevent Big Brother from watching them. Somebody in a dark, spider-infested basement has deliberately taken himself off the grid in a craven attempt to subvert surveillance. In every neighborhood in every town in every state, there are evil Swath People lurking just beyond our sight.
Because of that, Comey said, citizens need to be constantly on the watch. The current climate of the world does not make it acceptable to see something and not report it.
"Ordinary folks should listen to the hair on the back of their neck," he said. "We've gone back through every homegrown violent extremist case in the United States and studied it. In every single case, someone saw something online, at a religious institution, in a family setting, at a school, that was weird, that was out of place, this person was acting in a way that didn't make sense."
I know exactly what Comey is talking about. Because just yesterday afternoon, in what I'd thought was the safe haven of my living room, I switched on my TV. And what jumped out at me,  what I saw and heard, not only caused the neck hairs  to practically jump out of their follicles, it made my stomach lurch with a sense of impending doom. Some crazy men had taken over the public airwaves to demand billions of dollars and carte blanche to kill people, whenever and wherever they please, with no end in sight to their rampage of terror:

Bully! Neocon Rough Riders to the Rescue

 I saw something, so I'm going to say something:

The cynical campaign of the troubled soulless souls posing as our leaders to grind us into a state of abject fear and submission is hazardous to our social, economic, physical and mental health. 

We are simultaneously being cast as the hunters and the hunted. We are asked to become vigilantes on behalf of the very police state that considers all of us incipient criminals lurking in basements. We live not in the land of the free, but in the United States of Stasiland.

Comey is only the latest designated spokesman of what Alan Feldman has called securocratic warfare: free-floating, open-ended borderless conflicts. Battlefields are replaced with battle spaces. There is a permanent state of emergency, necessitating the suspension of basic human rights. The enemy exists not only over there, but over here. In parks, in schools, in shopping malls, in churches, in airports, in basements... even in an apartment complex in the same scenic North Carolina college town that hosted the last Democratic Party convention.

To be acceptable to the populace, capitalistic wars for profit must be waged in the name of human safety rather than for crass territorial or monetary conquest. These wars can never end, because capitalism and growth must never end.

"The figure of the terrorist looms large here," writes Stephen Graham in Cities Under Siege, "because terrorists are seen to breed improper circulation of bodies, money and drugs. State discourses ensure the vague fusion of these malign presences and mobilities, and political opportunism ensures that counterterror legislation is applied to all manner of putative threats. At the same time, the global logistics, the tourism, the migration, the continual flow of commodities and currencies that sustain neoliberal capitalism are rendered invisible, normal."

So while Obama pushes for fast-track congressional authority to ram through the invisible corporate coup called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he tries to distract us (and Congress) by cynically pretending to ask for permission to fast-track blasting unknown and unknowable enemies into oblivion. 

As Bruce Ackerman writes in a New York Times op-ed published today, Obama's putative request for war authority is vague enough to ensure that regardless of what Congress does, he and all future presidents will continue to call the shots.
Nevertheless, both the Bush and Obama administrations have used the wiggle word “associated” to transform the (War Powers) resolution’s limited grant into the wide-ranging war-making authority that Congress explicitly denied the president in 2001. White House lawyers have accomplished this power grab by claiming that a host of groups are somehow “associated” with Al Qaeda by virtue of increasingly distant connections to the surviving remnants of Osama bin Laden’s organization.
Despite this unhappy history, Mr. Obama’s current proposal explicitly endorses this power-grabbing formula. Not only does his proposal fail to limit the battlefield to Iraq and Syria, but it also authorizes him to take the fight beyond the Islamic State to battle any “associated persons or forces,” including “any closely related successor entity.”
Look over there at ISIS. Look over here, peer in your neighbor's basement window to detect those lurking, closely related successor entities and their associates. Look anywhere, as long as you don't look at the real terrorists: Citigroup and HSBC and Goldman Sachs and Exxon-Mobil and Northrup Grummon and G.E. and General Dynamics and Booz Allen and Stratfor.

Think with your hair follicles and your limbic systems, and for the sake of the plutonomy, please give those cerebral cortices a rest. It's the patriotic thing to do.


Denis Neville said...

The late British Labor MP Tony Benn once said that there are two ways in which people are controlled. First, frighten them. Second, demoralize them.

“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.” - Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era

"Technology has become ‘the tool of choice’ for terrorists and other dangerous criminals [including your own surveillance government]…"

“The increasing adoption of encryption technologies could leave law enforcement agents “in the dark” and unable to collect evidence against [terrorists, violent criminals, child predators, nasty people, and ordinary people like you].”

“Encryption threatens to lead us all to a very dark place."

"Let us spy on you!" "It's for your own good!!" - FBI Director James Comey

Who will explain to the people how many possibilities there are to make things better?

This is what truly frightens the global elite and the multi-billion dollar corporations and their minions -politicians, lobbyists and other fellow travelers. They are terrified of the global awakening that is occurring across the world.

An educated nation would be harder to govern. So the ruling oligarchy doesn't want people to be educated because they would get out of control.

So many people feel victimized these days. Why they put up with this shit? Many are poor, demoralized, and frightened. They think the safest thing to do is take orders and hope for the best. It doesn’t have to be this way!

“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.” - Emma Goldman

voice-in-wilderness said...

Comey sees zombies everywhere. I bet he watches episodes of "The Walking Dead" and thinks they are real.

Denis Neville said...

First, frighten them. Second, demoralize them.

The disabled have been profoundly demoralized in recent years and are often treated with contempt by politicians. There has been a lot of reckless rhetoric in Washington and the lame stream media.

Michael Hiltzik, on the Senate Budget Committee room killing floor, “GOP shows it doesn't understand Social Security disability--and doesn't care,”

"Not one dime should be lost to fraud, waste, or abuse." - Sam Johnson (R-TX), Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman, Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014

Fox News also advocates for those who want to cut Social security (don't Veterans use Social Security?) Fox News advocates for cutting unemployment benefits (don't Vets ever get laid off from jobs?) Fox News advocates for cutting food stamps (don't Veterans ever fall on hard times?)

Republicans would rather harm the disabled rather than tax the wealthy.

Republicans want 75 Years of funding for Social Security. Recall the manufactured “crisis" with U.S. Postal workers:

“The Republicans (and their media outlets and "think tanks", backed by their large corporate sponsors) will both cause, then exploit, ignorance --- manipulating the less informed and less educated --- and they will also use lies and fear to convince people to vote for their pro-wealthy and pro-corporate political party, even if it means getting these people (including Vets) to vote against their own best interests; because the GOP has no shame, they will use Veterans to obtain and hold power just like they would any other group. And wasn't it the GOP who sent the most recent Vets to Iraq based on lies that primarily benefited their corporate war profiteers? 4,489 Americans dead and another 32,021 wounded for corporate profits to protect "freedom" (an often misused word).” – Bud Meyers, Blogster-at-Large

“The #RepublicanClassWar's New Front: Social Security for the Disabled,”

First they came … But not once did I ever speak out, and now they are coming for me.

Karen Garcia said...


The Republicans are playing bad cop again, just as they did with the food stamp cuts the past couple of years. It allows the Democrats to posture and claim that they're fighting for the little guy, but then some threatened shut-down looms and before you know it they're all in a back room again, making another deal off the backs of the poor.

Obama has already said he's open to "reforming" Social Security disability. Such liberal outlets as NPR and 60 Minutes have already run lengthy propaganda pieces on disability fraud, as though it were an epidemic.

I myself depend on widow's social security disability benefits to get by. I will be getting 75% of my late husband's benefit for the rest of my life because I claimed early. So even "small tweaks" in already meager (averaging $1100 or $1200 monthly) would be devastating to disabled people. And mind you, these payments are based on what workers and spouses paid into the system -- an insurance pool, in effect -- through payroll taxes. It's not a welfare program. (SSI, the program for the poor, would not be affected, at least not right away since funding comes from a different source.)

Denis Neville said...


That's the beauty of good cop/bad cop.

For good cop/bad cop to work, the good cop needs the bad cop. And vice versa.

Keep the party faithful loyal enraged and outraged and too confused, bewildered and befuddled to figure out the game both sides are playing.

The targets of their routine are getting played as the good cops’/bad cops’ agenda whittles away at the living standards of working people and people like yourself, who depend on widow's social security disability benefits to get by.