Thursday, June 15, 2006


A nation of telemarketers and war criminals
parties on amid the stench.

At first I thought this would be a railing against the inertia of the teeming masses yearning to be oppressed.

He makes so many salient points. In the face of such overwhelminglly crushing futility, I can appreciate simply "stopping to smell the roses".

It would seem either that, or be reduced to a drooling and blabbering idiot, content to hurl feces at one's keepers.

Methinks someone has been intentionally skipping his daily Soma. Life can be so ugly without the blinders of pharmacological stupification.

By Joe Bageant: 'As America rots from the inside out'

A spring Sunday morning and I am at the politically incorrect 7-Eleven buying my cholesterol loaded half and half for my peasant slave labor grown coffee. In the parking lot car speakers blare out Bob Marley from a grungy 1987 Olds Cutlass (the last year GM made 'em), while the owner, a Haitian guy, sits on the curb eating his Smokey Big Bite hot dog, sunshine pouring over the whole world, sweet as that quart of chocolate milk he is going to wash it all down with. Bob Marley is singing "One Lov"e and that Smokey smells so damned good I order one for myself and settle in next to that Haitian dude. And I think, "Is this a great fucking country or what? Yessiree, the world's best hope."

And it is. Or was. Or something. Ask any poor suffering bastard in the garbage dumps of Mumbai or Caracas to name the best place in the world to live and most will answer "The United States."

Maybe it's for all the wrong reasons.

And surely the image is driven by the global hype and bullshit of an America that cannot get over itself . . . cannot pause from its huckstering long enough to see that the America of both John Wayne and FDR quit circling the drain thirty years ago. It has since been pulled asunder by spectacular greed and the learned helplessness of the consumer state. And denial.

The kind that allows us to sanctify the young men starring in that horrific snuff flick over In Iraq as "heroes". But we were talking about the third world weren't we?

Where if you are eating spoiled cat meat and getting raped nightly in a Bangkok slum, things like a Cutlass gunboat with busted springs and a Smokey Big Bite on a Sunday morning look good. Damned good. There is nothing that cannot be explained by population geography and proximity to basic goods and services.

This is not wasted upon the predatory few among us concerned with capturing, holding and blackmailing others for access to them under our free market system. It's a brutal process, one we can only coexist with through ironclad denial. Did free people make your clothes? Mine neither.

My Dutch friend Bram is mystified at our denial, which he says "is spooky." How can anyone sustain such a thing?" Well, it's when you are born numb. Most of us born under American extremist capitalism are inured to its sheer brutality. To Americans, it's just the way things are.

The world is a tough place. We agree that god has blessed us; we deserve what we have and let it go at that. Citizens born under the Third Reich felt the same way about their consensual reality. Not many of us can grasp the national hubris involved, thanks to the heady patrio-religious mythology of American exceptionalism in which we were spawned and educated in preparation for adulthood as citizens of the consumer state.

Collectively, we feel exempt from human folly because our particular god, the Christian God, the Jewish God, The Mormon God, the Seventh Day Adventist God, Muslim God or whatever one's cult deems divine, has chosen us. Whatever we think we are as liberals, your nation and mine, the government we are responsible for has always acted on these beliefs, destroying whole nations, peoples and the planet under that exceptionalist banner.

At some point, liberals and neocons and the apolitical alike, are going to have to own all of America's history, not just the parts we prefer. For instance, it was FDR who packed off all those decent Japanese families off to interment camps. Abraham Lincoln loved his "nigger" jokes. Bram remains mystified.

Mercifully enough, the same predatory American capitalism that generates so much of the world's misery renders its own citizens irrelevant, save for their purchasing power, to the entire process and therefore guiltless -- in their own minds at least -- of the empire's crimes.

Such is the unburdened material happiness granted us. It is not hard for Americans to conclude that we are outside of, and therefore irrelevant to global events or changes. We are waaaaay over here on this vast continent with only a vast media generated holograph to tell us who we are as a people and as individuals. And it tells us we foremost are citizens of a state that suffers no diversion from profitability.

The vast majority of Americans don't even know there is a global reality, except in the sense that the price of gasoline is affected by some swarthy peoples living in a sandy place full of terrorists somewhere else on the globe.

We know the price of gas and we know what we are are going to rent at the video store on Friday. We know what we will eat at the restaurant on Saturday and when the game is televised on Sunday. Personally, I also know that four blocks from where I sit writing this, is an old man named Virgil who pulled one of his own teeth last week because he cannot afford a dentist. Rather than kick out a little dough Virgil's way, I poured a shot of Woodford Reserve and was grateful I have dental insurance.

Being "grateful for what we have" is the time honored American mantra used to mask denial.

Thus we express gratitude for what the corpocracy bestows us, convinced that we are flourishing in those big box store isles of Kansas or in the soft leather booths of the martini bar off Central Park, depending upon one's class. It only took a couple of generations to accept and then enjoy the reduced humanity but increased flood of material stuff as a bona fide life experience. Beat off to internet porn and NFL football while the wife sleeps alone.

The state generated hologram IS reality.
Reality IS the image, not the flesh.
It's true of all of us.
I have done it and still do it.
I know.
And you more than likely do too.
Let's not kid ourselves here.
Just this once.

Even as the empire is coming down around us all very few can possibly believe it.
Why should they?
Nothing seems to have changed their particular religious or political camps.
Literate and thoughtful liberals can still watch Brit coms and send their kids to Shakespeare camp.
Less than literate Fox Network watching worker bee Republicans can still sup on the easy piety of cross and flag.
ogle Anne Coulter's boney ass.
And Joe Six-pack still scratches his belly in irrelevance as the elites of two political priesthoods struggle, one to get their mitts deeper into the national treasury, the other to convince us that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden actually have blood in their veins.

The next elections, both parties tell us, will determine the fate of our nation. Really?

Regardless of who wins, Joe Six-pack will lose.
Virgil will lose.
The rest of us will continue being carried along by the media hologram of political lies and profitable illusions that holds it all together.

Today I read a news story about how the massacre of Iraqi families in Haditha "traumatized" our heroes.
What do you call a republic that dishes up such shit up to its citizens?
What do you call the citizens who mindlessly swallow it?
What do you call people who do not march in the streets and start fires in protest of a horrific regime that guts small democracies, slaughters whole families and villages abroad and rigs the ballot boxes at home? What do you call such deniers of the obvious?

Of course we can safely call the latter modern Democrats, but that is another story.

In any case, most liberals/leftists/progressives, whatever the hell one calls such an ineffectual bunch of twits, refuse to even consider open resistance. They exist in the same prison of learned helplessness and planet devouring gluttony as conservatives, but with New Age or pseudo-leftist wallpaper.

I have an awful suspicion they will never be brave again in their lives, assuming they ever were.

There seems to be no warning people of the lie they have swallowed, the black thing they have eaten and which now devours them from within.

The "American lifestyle," the "good life," was such a comfortable lie to swallow.

And because the material world trumps the mind and therefore trumps less quantifiable stuff such as freedom and insight quite easily, the black thing is now chewing at the Constitution which, being essentially a property document, was never all that strong to begin with. But it's all we have.

As resident bully of human consciousness, the reptilian brain so easily slashes and chaws through the limbic one, announcing the supremacy of the fist and the gullet over the higher self.

"I can eat these tortilla chips (or perhaps nine dollar a pound organically pastured chicken breast, or whatever it is that socially responsible rich people eat) and watch plasma TV right now. But I would have to go to the library to get On Walden Pond, which I never heard of anyway. Take to the streets? What for? Pass me the salsa, honey." I do this myself almost nightly.

There may be no saving me the world, or mankind in the world from itself.

Learning will come the hard way, which is how humanity learns. Too late and at a terrible cost.

Meanwhile, we remain obedient, not disturbing of our comfort, save maybe once a year for a rote "demonstration" downtown for something or other, the school bond or the war in Iraq, during which we are flushed with joy at the site of so many of our own kind, but having demonstrated only that such displays are just that -- displays. Toothless displays in a predatory system that respects only the fang and the claw. The newspapers print a photo next day, we dispute their estimated number of demonstrators, and then we settle back into obedience.

Americans have always been an obedient people, proud to be answerable and obedient to the nation's law and god, with one reinforcing the other somehow in the national mind. Obedient people do not look up from their assigned cubicles; do not ask if their work is meaningful or contributory to mankind. Never question the way things are. Not in church, nor in daily life.

And if the air reeks of a republic rotting from the inside out, you just hold your nose.

Consequently, we are we forced to acknowledge the fiction of self governance, of voting power ever getting in the way of elite agendas such as tax breaks and war profits (though it may slow them down at times, giving the illusion of voting power to a nation with no memory whatsoever.)

The pretense reaches its most absurd levels during national elections, where self-governance is put to the test.

For instance, no matter who won in the 2004 presidential elections, this country would still have been lead by a member of the Skull and Bones Society.
What are the odds of that happening?
In a nation of 295 million people our choice came down to two members of one of the most exclusive and secretive clubs on the planet.
Do you really believe in coincidences like that?
I don't.
Nobody does.
But we pretend to because the truth is just too awful for anyone with more than an inch of forehead to contemplate.

Yet, unimaginable as it may seem, there are even worse things afoot to contemplate. Forces such as the emerging Christian militia, the Joshua generation, a runaway military establishment, to name a few, working fanatically to make our obedience ever more lethal.

Yesterday I saw a picture of 25,000 young fundamentalist Americans marching in Philadelphia and San Francisco in support of a theocratic state. I can honestly say I was completely unnerved by it. Those little electrical nerve waves went through my entire body. I live around fundamentalist Christians, my whole family is fundamentalist Christian and I know what they are capable of and indeed are planning to do given the chance. They are being led by the same types who formed the old white militia movements in the Seventies and Eighties before Timothy McVeigh rendered their public position untenable. I couldn't shut up about it and friends. But even the most "informed" ones looked at me like I was crazy, or at the very least, weirdly obsessive. These are not stupid people. They are simply Americans. And because we are friends, we moved on to another topic. This is the sort of strange national disconnect that has so many folks like myself silently screaming inside our heads.

And that is when we must do something utterly mundane, completely oblivious to break free of the hysterical grimness of it all. Something to stop the screaming. Like sit in the sun with a Smokey Big Bite and let Bob Marley "Stir it Up" right there in the parking lot. Grin along with some Haitian dude and watch a white trash mama in ridiculously tight shorts step around you, inches from your face on that curb by the 7-11 door, an ankle tattooed, cheap perfumed angel of god sent to remind us that, "Politics ain't everything Buster, and the world ain't all bad. Not by a long shot! Now finish that chowing down dog, get off your ass and go do the right thing."

Yo mama.

Joe Bageant is the author of a forthcoming book from Random House Crown about working class America, scheduled for Spring 2007 release. A complete archive of his online work, along with the thoughts of many working Americans on the subject of class may be found at: Feel free to contact him at:

Source: by Joe Bageant


Source June 15 2006

In yet another effort to capitalize on momentum from the death of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Republican members of the House will try to put Democrats on the defensive today with a ten hour debate about a non-binding resolution, which, if passed, would declare "the United States Will Prevail In The Global War On Terror" and pledge that the US will complete its "mission" in Iraq.

Many lawmakers have already criticized the resolution because it unabashedly connects the Iraq war to the fight against terrorism and because the terms of the debate do not allow the resolution to be amended, nor for the presentation of alternative amendments. Two Republicans and three Democrats have declared they will not participate in the "political trap," while GOP Rep. Walter B. Jones said "this is more or less nothing than really a charade." Rep. McCotter (R-Mich.), a strong supporter of the war, called the resolution "strategically nebulous and morally obtuse," while Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) expressed doubt that drawing attention to the GOP's most damaging issue is a wise political strategy.

You see, fellow bloggers, the Mainstream Media is the immune system of the status quo. The media frenzy over the Blogosphere that we just went through was actually a process of inoculation. Kos and Jerome "crashed the gate" alright -- but they were immediately absorbed by two white blood cells of the establishment: Tim Russert and Mark Warner. They have been released back into the Blogosphere. But have they been handicapped by responsibility to a real live (compromising) politician, the desire to keep appearing on major news shows, and the inevitable brain damage that happens when one's 15 minutes of fame runs a little over?

The truth is, the Establishment has been laughing at the Blogosphere this whole time. Now, in horrific disappointment, bloggers will see that the Mainstream Media was only teasing when it reported its own demise at the hands of the Blogosphere. Kos's "now anyone can have your job" to Dowd, and her honest response, was the symbolic moment of reversal, where the patronizer lets the patronized know he's been made a fool of. Actually, it was the first time the Mainstream Media has ever been honest to the Blogosphere. That signals two things: a new respect and the beginning of the permanent silent treatment.

Ava Lowery, a home-schooled teenager from Alabama, has made over 70 antiwar animations, gaining her national attention in The New York Times, on CNN and in the progressive blogosphere. See Ava’s home page. Below: Check out her response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow’s “it’s a number” comment about U.S. deaths in Iraq.


Joe Bageant: How will we know when it's too late?


Blogger sevenpointman said...

The plan I am sending you has been approved by many prominent thinkers and
activists in the field. Which includes: Benjamin Ferencz, Chief Prosecutor
at the Nuremburg Trials, Ken Livingstone-Mayor of London,
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, Tom Hayden, Matthew Rothschild, Anthony Arnove, Danny Schecter, Tony Benn- Former Member of the British parliament ,Reggie Rivers,
Robert Jensen, Andrew Bard Schmookler and others.
I formulated this plan in September 2004, based on a comprehensive
study of the issues. For my plan to be successful it must be implemented
with all seven points beginning to happen within a very short period of
I have run up against a wall of doubt about my plan due to it's
rational nature ,and due to it's adherence to placing the blame on the
invaders, and then trying to formulate a process of extrication which would
put all entities in this conflict face to face, to begin to finally solve
the dilemmas that exist.
If you read my plan you will see that it is guided by a reasonable
and practical compromise that could end this war and alleviate the
internecine civil violence that is confronting Iraq at this juncture in it's
I am making a plea for my plan to be put into action on a wide-scale.
I need you to circulate it and use all the persuasion you have to bring it
to the attention of those in power.
Just reading my plan and sending off an e-mail to me that you received
it will not be enough.

This war must end-we who oppose it can do this by using my plan.
We must fight the power and end the killing.

If you would like to view some comments and criticism about my plan
I direct you to my blog: sevenpointman

Thank you my dear friend,

Howard Roberts

A Seven-point plan for an Exit Strategy in Iraq

1) A timetable for the complete withdrawal of American and British forces
must be announced.
I envision the following procedure, but suitable fine-tuning can be
applied by all the people involved.

A) A ceasefire should be offered by the Occupying side to
representatives of both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite community. These
representatives would be guaranteed safe passage, to any meetings. The
individual insurgency groups would designate who would attend.
At this meeting a written document declaring a one-month ceasefire,
witnessed by a United Nations authority, will be fashioned and eventually
signed. This document will be released in full, to all Iraqi newspapers, the
foreign press, and the Internet.
B) US and British command will make public its withdrawal, within
sixth-months of 80 % of their troops.

C) Every month, a team of United Nations observers will verify the
effectiveness of the ceasefire.
All incidences on both sides will be reported.

D) Combined representative armed forces of both the Occupying
nations and the insurgency organizations that agreed to the cease fire will
protect the Iraqi people from actions by terrorist cells.

E) Combined representative armed forces from both the Occupying
nations and the insurgency organizations will begin creating a new military
and police force. Those who served, without extenuating circumstances, in
the previous Iraqi military or police, will be given the first option to

F) After the second month of the ceasefire, and thereafter, in
increments of 10-20% ,a total of 80% will be withdrawn, to enclaves in Qatar
and Bahrain. The governments of these countries will work out a temporary
land-lease housing arrangement for these troops. During the time the troops
will be in these countries they will not stand down, and can be re-activated
in the theater, if the chain of the command still in Iraq, the newly
formed Iraqi military, the leaders of the insurgency, and two international
ombudsman (one from the Arab League, one from the United Nations), as a
majority, deem it necessary.

G) One-half of those troops in enclaves will leave three-months after they
arrive, for the United States or other locations, not including Iraq.

H) The other half of the troops in enclaves will leave after

I) The remaining 20 % of the Occupying troops will, during this six
month interval, be used as peace-keepers, and will work with all the
designated organizations, to aid in reconstruction and nation-building.

J) After four months they will be moved to enclaves in the above
mentioned countries.
They will remain, still active, for two month, until their return to
the States, Britain and the other involved nations.

2) At the beginning of this period the United States will file a letter with
the Secretary General of the Security Council of the United Nations, making
null and void all written and proscribed orders by the CPA, under R. Paul
Bremer. This will be announced and duly noted.

3) At the beginning of this period all contracts signed by foreign countries
will be considered in abeyance until a system of fair bidding, by both
Iraqi and foreign countries, will be implemented ,by an interim Productivity
and Investment Board, chosen from pertinent sectors of the Iraqi economy.
Local representatives of the 18 provinces of Iraq will put this board
together, in local elections.

4) At the beginning of this period, the United Nations will declare that
Iraq is a sovereign state again, and will be forming a Union of 18
autonomous regions. Each region will, with the help of international
experts, and local bureaucrats, do a census as a first step toward the
creation of a municipal government for all 18 provinces. After the census, a
voting roll will be completed. Any group that gets a list of 15% of the
names on this census will be able to nominate a slate of representatives.
When all the parties have chosen their slates, a period of one-month will be
allowed for campaigning.
Then in a popular election the group with the most votes will represent that
When the voters choose a slate, they will also be asked to choose five
individual members of any of the slates.
The individuals who have the five highest vote counts will represent a
National government.
This whole process, in every province, will be watched by international
observers as well as the local bureaucrats.

During this process of local elections, a central governing board, made up
of United Nations, election governing experts, insurgency organizations, US
and British peacekeepers, and Arab league representatives, will assume the
temporary duties of administering Baghdad, and the central duties of

When the ninety representatives are elected they will assume the legislative
duties of Iraq for two years.

Within three months the parties that have at least 15% of the
representatives will nominate candidates for President and Prime Minister.

A national wide election for these offices will be held within three months
from their nomination.

The President and the Vice President and the Prime Minister will choose
their cabinet, after the election.

5) All debts accrued by Iraq will be rescheduled to begin payment, on the
principal after one year, and on the interest after two years. If Iraq is
able to handle another loan during this period she should be given a grace
period of two years, from the taking of the loan, to comply with any
structural adjustments.

6) The United States and the United Kingdom shall pay Iraq reparations for
its invasion in the total of 120 billion dollars over a period of twenty
years for damages to its infrastructure. This money can be defrayed as
investment, if the return does not exceed 6.5 %.

7) During the beginning period Saddam Hussein and any other prisoners who
are deemed by a Council of Iraqi Judges, elected by the National
representative body, as having committed crimes will be put up for trial.
The trial of Saddam Hussein will be before seven judges, chosen from this
Council of Judges.
One judge, one jury, again chosen by this Council, will try all other
All defendants will have the right to present any evidence they want, and to
choose freely their own lawyers.

1:29 PM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger Carl Sheeler For Senate said...

Ava is the furure's vision today. She is stating in an unfiltered way, where do we want our communities, country and world to be in ten years?

It's for this reason our campaign is proud to receive her US Senate endorsement and to have her produce our first campaign ad that emphasizes hope and not fear.

It may be previewed at The netroots will redefine politics in the 21st century and levels the playing field for other than just wealthy patricians and those backed by corporate and special interests.

5:00 AM, July 25, 2006  

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