Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Homegrown Hate, Global Chaos

Although the official narrative has Omar Mateen, the Orlando mass shooter, acting out of Isis-instigated terrorism, there's mounting evidence that religious extremism was more of an excuse for him than an inspiration. This guy wanted to create as much mayhem as inhumanly possible, and one way to ensure that he got the undivided attention he craved was to calmly call 911 to tell the media-political complex exactly what it wanted to hear.

The hawkish neocon players of the ruling establishment don't want a homegrown hate crime on steroids. They want a terrorist attack from afar, the better to give them an excuse to drop more bombs, wage more wars, spy on more innocent citizens, manufacture even more of the weapons that the liberals among them claim to abhor every time there's another "tragedy."

The neoliberal players of the ruling establishment forge ahead with their manufactured identitarian presidential campaign in the Age of the Tweeted Insult. They want to pit gays against Muslims against Mexicans against Republicans against Democrats against Trump against Obama and Clinton. They want us to forget all about the lousy economy and the class war of the feral rich against the 99%, the crumbling roads and schools and bridges, the wage stagnation, the rising death rate from suicides and drugs and untreated diseases, the child poverty, the hunger, the despair.

They don't seem to want to talk much about reports of Mateen being a closeted gay or bisexual man. They don't discuss the reality that right-wing religious fundamentalism abides within more than one belief system. Had Mateen tried all his life to "pray away the gay," to no avail? Did he try to overcome his sexual identity by donning a macho uniform and wearing NYPD regalia during his selfie poses? When nothing worked to change who he was, did he instead decide to shoot away the gay? 

  No matter. Fifty people, including Mateen, are dead and several more are maimed for life. But let's not waste any more time -- there's a nonstop presidential campaign on! So let's turn on the TV and vicariously revel in a bunch of millionaires (and an alleged billionaire) hurling invective at one another.

Trump: (breathing heavily and stumbling over someone else's TelePromptered words and sounding more like a cartoon villain every day) Since Obama won't use the words "radical Islam," then it just naturally follows that he supports terrorism. I know stuff. It's all part of a plot. America is so weak. We have to keep Muslims from other countries out. But nobody is more solid with the gays than I am. And Obama hates me more bigly than he hates the terrorists. I scare him more than Isis. Wahhhh.

Obama: (the centerpiece of a Deep State tableau vivant of the financialized plutonomy, the surveillance state, the trillion-dollar war machine and justice-for-some, he is showing some rare anger at Trump's ad hominem attacks against his own personal patriotism.) Let's not get bogged down in the semantics of dangerous cartoon characters. His words don't matter as much as my deeds. Hundreds of bombings and drones and and unlimited wars against global terror matter. America is not only strong, it is exceptional. We protect our people. Rah, rah. Oh, and we love everybody. We don't spy on Muslims unless we're caught spying on Muslims like that time in New York City a few short years ago. But look over there, it's Trump!

Hillary: (reading off a TelePrompter and nodding with grim disgusted satisfaction at frequent applause-ready intervals) Yeah! I'll go Obama one better, though. With me, it's words and deeds. I'm not afraid to say Radical Islam. I'm both a neocon and a neoliberal. So don't ever forget that you're not only electing a Pragmatic Progressive who can get 'things' done, you're also electing a Commander in Chief. Military Maxi-Me. Only I can bring America back to the good old days of Nine-Twelve, that great shining disaster-capitalism moment when we used the deaths of 3,000 people as an excuse to kill millions more and make defense contractors and oil companies and bankers and consolidated media propagandists richer beyond their wildest dreams. But let's 'do' gun control as a wedge issue anyway. Oh, and we love the gays more than Trump pretends to love the gays. And we welcome Muslims and war refugees, too: the rare few who can survive our sadistic, draconian, two-year-long vetting process, that is.  

Since one of this week's favorite parlor games is comparing Omar Mateen to other Great Monsters in American history, my own nomination for his pathological twin would be George Zimmerman. Both, wannabe cops and gun fetishists from the Sunshine State. Both racists. Both perpetrators of domestic violence. Both also probably victims of parental and peer abuse. Both with huge boulders on their shoulders.

Mateen is dead. Zimmerman is still alive, still armed, still causing trouble, still abusive, and as far as I know, he graces no FBI terrorism watch list. He should.

  Because he is still one scary sociopath, who only has to snap his trigger-happy fingers to get all the media attention he wants. He's achieved minor celebrity status. Every time he's beaten up or threatened a woman or, most recently, auctioned off the same gun he used to murder Trayvon Martin, he gets headlines.

He's not done yet.

Both Zimmerman and Mateen likely got their initial investigatory passes because they were both quasi-law enforcement types; they knew the cop lingo, the cop culture. They were deemed harmless, nasty, good ole redneck boys.

Guns are biological appendages to these types of men. Therefore, they're in dire need of emergency therapeutic amputations. Perhaps Congress could appropriate a ton of money to pay huge cash premiums or guaranteed incomes to people who voluntarily turn in their weapons of mass destruction. The relinquishers would then be placed on a list preventing them from using their bounty to purchase more weaponry. Such a program would save lives and might even stimulate the moribund economy at the same time.

Just one day before the Orlando massacre, a disturbed man walked into a ShopRite close to where I live and calmly slashed the throat of a complete stranger as he browsed in the produce section. He then blended right in with the other Saturday morning shoppers. The store was placed on lockdown while police hunted for the killer, who not having an assault rifle, was unable to cause any further human damage before he was arrested.

People with assault rifles can kill a whole bunch of human beings all at the same time. People armed with box-cutters are a lot more limited when acting out their deranged fantasies.

The failure of American politicians to ban assault weapons is tied directly to the fact that the United States is the largest arms manufacturer and dealer and exporter on the face of the earth. The same politicians who cry that the "wrong people" are getting hold of weapons don't bat an eye when it comes to selling billions of dollars' worth directly to such brutal, terrorist-enabling governments as Saudi Arabia.  

As Patrick Cockburn writes in The Independent, the fact that the Orlando shooting is raising the global profile of Isis plays right into its propaganda script.  Neither the Democratic nor Republican Party is willing to directly confront the underlying ideology of the group. Our leaders aren't willing to admit that Saudi Arabia is the funder and enabler of Islamic State extremism. To do so would be to cut off billions in profits for themselves. To do so would force them to plead guilty to their own complicit role and gruesome partnership with the very enemies they are creating.

Yes, Trump is a dangerous demagogue. But where were Obama and Clinton, asks Cockburn, when their good xenophobic pal David Cameron hurled similar treacherous anti-immigrant invective against the leftist Jeremy Corbyn?

Gun control talk is cheap, given how regularly it gets squelched by the symphony of big money and the chorus of pathocratic greed.


Jamie said...

"The players of the ruling establishment doesn't want a homegrown hate crime on steroids. They want a terrorist attack from afar."

I beg to disagree. The PTB are in ecstasy now. The right can obsess on the 'terrorist attack from afar' and the left can bemoan fundamentalist religion, lack of gun control, and persecution of gays.

This leaves the ruling class in the catbird seat. They can mobilize the fears of both groups to pass laws that benefit them ... and more importantly these divisions keep the charade of the two-party system alive, vital for the 'divide-and-conquer' control of the American public.

Since the right claims to be against Jihadist terror and the left claims to be against hate crimes, in a sane society the right and left would find common cause after this tragedy. Yet the ruling class would never want that. It is far better for them if the peasantry is divided in two, so as to channel their hate towards each other and not their real (bipartisan) oppressors.

Anonymous said...

TiredBarGirl here, just tired-et (it's my Friday):

Karen, I must have been channeling you this week because I texted my cousin that Mateen reminded me of Zimmerman, everything from the cop fetish to the, well, almost everything. Except, weirdly, Mateen's claim of not wanting to harm black people.

And Jamie's comment above makes a hell of a lot of sense.

As for the earlier discussion about Bernie, all I can say is the old man must have terrified the DNC, because as much as it looks like (to us) he's in the process of folding, they CONTINUE to lambaste him in the NYTimes, check this out:

Jay–Ottawa said...

Great essay on an old story that just keeps ballooning.

Maybe the government, when next headed by honest people, could make some headway by focussing on the easy availability of ammunition, controlling it like Schedule III drugs, rationing ammo and making it more expensive even than cigarettes, the heavy taxes set aside to help victims or fund third parties.

Is there no limit on how much ammunition a person can buy within a given time period? Isn't it obvious by now that ammo is subject to abuse just like Schedule III drugs, and no less dangerous? Ah, but who would write the prescriptions? Maybe after buying ammo beyond a certain limit, hoarders would simply be classified as persons of interest, to be scrutinized more closely by the local police department.

If only Scalia were still with us. An originalist could surely confirm that our founding fathers and all the other colonials and mountain men of the Second Amendment did not have boxes of ammo stacked to the ceiling. One had to make the stuff oneself by candle light, like the beer hobby brewers of today. Scalia's razor-sharp mind could draw a fine legal line between gun rights and ammo rights.

After all, guns don't kill people; ammo does.

annenigma said...

I like your idea, Jay.

Of course if they restrict ammo, people will still know where to get as much as they want - pilfer it from their Government employer and sell it on the black market, keep it for themselves, pass it on to family and friends, or use it to buy favors. No matter what laws they pass, people will find a way to get it because the government is the biggest supplier and stockpiler.

Nearly every government department and agency, however obscure, has been stockpiling ammunition by the ton for several years now. This has been revealed by published bids and include agencies you'd never dream would need ammunition. They even caused an artificial shortage a few years ago because of the huge supply being requisitioned.

Does anyone know how much they have or where it went? No. The government is notorious for being unable to track or account for supplies or equipment and that's actually the way they like it. They can requisition more before the end of the fiscal year and eat up their budget so they can get a bigger budget next year. It's worse if DoD is involved. Much goes home with employees, just as many weapons came home with veterans. Weapons and ammunition are particularly valuable in the hinterland, better than money which is now tracked by banks.

Anyway, there's also another more legitimate way to acquire weapons and ammunition - the Government's 1033 program. It promotes the use of military tactics and military surplus by law enforcement to 'fight crime' while 'saving' tax payer dollars. They offer free military weapons and supplies, from grenade launchers to MRAPS and everything in between. In 2011 a half billion worth of military supplies went out to communities yearly, and it's probably closer to a billion a year by now. Yet Obama proclaims that "Military weapons do not belong on our streets!" Those munitions don't stay locked up in a warehouse and they don't even stay with the law enforcement agency either.

That 1033 program is actually one of the many defense contractor corporate welfare schemes. It keeps the war machinery lubed and militarizes law enforcement, mini units of quick-strike forces on the local level. What it also does is create local stockpiles that cannot be tracked and can be siphoned off and given to friends and family. Indeed, an Arizona sheriff was caught giving out part of his $7 million stash of free stuff to non-law enforcement agencies (including one militia) to win political favors in preparation for his planned run for Congress. No 'free stuff' for students but plenty for law enforcement and their cronies! It was Bill Clinton who got that ball rolling in the 1990's as part of the War on Drugs.

After the sheriff was outed, the Gov't finally created an inventory control system to placate somebody's concerns, since no one really wants to put too tight a leash on that happy puppy, it probably doesn't work.

The NRA isn't even a player in this deadly game. The Government is though. The biggest corporate conglomerate on earth is, as we know, the Military-Industrial Complex. The President as Commander-in-Chief automatically becomes the CEO, and the U.S. Gov't has a 2/3 controlling interest through the senior partners, the Pentagon and Congress. Taxpayers are the deep pocketed bankers, and Corporate junior partners get all the profits. While fraud is the business model of Wall St., the business model of Superpower, Inc. is unique and untouchable - organized violence and mass murder for profit, falsely advertised as promoting, protecting, and defending democracy and freedom.

Obama is preaching temperance from a bar stool again.

Anonymous said...

TBG again -

It was a nail-biter, but on my night off in a coffee shop in San Francisco, I heard the words I needed to hear from Bernie Sanders.

Despite the onerous pressure applied to a septuagenarian by the hands of one Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the old man ain't quitting.

And the 20-something baristas were fist-pumping. And so were their much older customers.

Somewhere the Warriors were in the NBA finals, but the real excitement was watching a 74-y.o. show us how it's done.

Whatever is said about him, he's true to his word.

None of the major media is giving it much coverage, but the bernie hashtag (#our revolution) is trending very high.

If it's not a victory, at least it's a relief. On my ride home, I pass├ęd by the abandoned, decaying, but still-for-sale $17 million mansion in Pacific Heights that has, as its adjoining structure, an also-abandoned replica of Marie Antoinette's "Le Petit Trianon". Usually, on my way home, I make a habit of riding past it, with its yellow "Caution Do Not Enter" tape across the balustrade. I always get a kick out of seeing it, its demise put into motion when two filthy rich white people couldn't achieve a divorce settlement, but this evening, after listening to Bernie, it felt especially poignant. The seller was a microsoft or a viacom honcho? I've forgotten.

(In case you think I'm kidding about the mansion, it really is there, and was the subject of yet another odd scandal, although this one committed by a non-white-collar criminal, as the link below explains:)