Sunday, January 20, 2013
The Beast Slouches; Perhaps Farts – and Gets Ready To Feed….
That groaning shriek you just heard?
It’s the Ship of State, and it’s in a bad way. See, we’re about to (re)inaugurate a war criminal; a man who by his own admission loves War by Proxy, and has a standing Monday-morning meeting during which he helps approve targets for the day.
The little-boys-playing-grownup in their Air Force uniforms who run the joysticks refer to the victims – the collateral damage of the Empire’s affinity with both toys and intervention – as ‘bugsplats’. What’s not immediately understood (at least, not by Joe and Josephine Sixpack American) is that every time Obama’s flyboys kill another child, his/her relatives are at war with America. Permanently.
This, by the way, has Sweet Fuck All to do with Al-Qaeda, the late Mr. BinLaden, or Islamic fundamentalism. It has to do with killing someone’s child half a world away. Period.
We’re getting ready to (re)inaugurate a Constitutional scholar – declared so by the academic standards of our time – who did more to dismantle the Constitution than his much-maligned predecessor. (No – I’m not justifying the misrule of Bush the Second. Get that through your head right now.) He signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law last year, complete with that nagging Section 1021, which (in case you’ve been living under the proverbial rock) allows the government to detain, without trial, permanently, any American citizen deemed an ‘enemy combatant’ by either Congress, the Justice Department, or the President, hisself.
We’re getting ready to (re)inaugurate a man who, with the stroke of a pen, could have closed that damnable Gulag at Gitmo – but instead reauthorized the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and turned a blind eye to CILA (the Civilian Inmate Labor Act).
We’re getting ready to (re)inaugurate the guy who, rather than give pause to the whole indefinite-detention thing, ordered his henchman and Justice Department head, Eric Holder, to aggressively defend it against a lawsuit brought by several American journalists. (I’ll go out on a small limb here – because it doesn’t take much to connect these dots – but I’ll bet that the only reason Obama, Holder, et. al. are defending NDAA’s Sec. 1021 so vigorously is that it’s likely already in use somewhere – we just don’t know it.)
All, dear readers, in the name of National Security.
As to those of us who Stayed Awake in Class, all we have to do is connect the dots – the MCA grants the authority to create the Gulags; we’ve conveniently created at least one on leased-land, not subject to Constitutional law or domestic legal protection; NDAA’s Section 1021 allows any of us to be declared ‘enemy combatants’ and incarcerated forever – and, if they do get around to a trial, the Civilian Inmate Labor Act allows them to turn us over to the military for use as they see fit.
The Patriot Act and recent ‘authorizations’ allow the government to use drones on American soil; to engage in warrantless wiretaps; to read our emails and to lurk on our websites – the STASI never had it so good; the KGB would’ve given their collective left-nuts to have the power and the technology accorded to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Some of you younger readers might well think, “What’s he complaining about? Only the bad guys need to worry.” I’ll forgive you. You were raised on the pablum of ‘Social Studies’ – you never had to study Civics, Geography, History, or to learn the Constitution and its amendments (as I had to do at age 13). In college, things were no better (that’s why those of you who finished college in the 80’s and beyond still can’t find the former Soviet Union on a map.)
The older readers? We know. See, we weren’t raised in this country - not as it exists today. It was spun out of whole cloth some ten years ago after 9/11. We remembered a form of government where if the depredations of the second Bush administration had been perpetrated in our youth (the ‘60’s and ‘70’s), we’d’ve taken to the streets to demand someone’s head.
You’ve also been told that ‘no one else has a chance’ except the two presidential candidates of the two major parties – no one told you that the Republican party, by example, was a ‘third party’ when Abraham Lincoln was elected; you’ve been told that voting for any other candidates is ‘throwing your vote away’, or ‘voting for the other guy’. You’ve been convinced that voting your fears is the only way to keep the other half of the country at bay; at least for a while.
No one taught you how to think. No one taught you to vote your values, no matter what. No one taught you that informed participation is the only thing which makes a republic work.
It’s small consolation, but you might as well not worry. The deck is stacked; by way of deregulating the financial system, both the government and the banks gave us a nasty little depression in 2008, and thanks to things like the Citizens United ruling, the big-money people can now buy the government outright, which they’ve done at least twice; maybe more. I’m sorry, but you haven’t a chance.
I’d apologize for being one of the guilty bystanders, but I’m not. I’ve voted for third-party candidates at both local and national levels for decades now (ironically, the only time I broke with that tradition was when I drank the Kool-Aid, ate the dog-food, and voted for Obama the first time around).
So, tomorrow, we’re going to give the keys of the Empire to the same guy for a Second Time Around. We’re all about to see how that hopey-changey thingamabob works when we double-down. I don’t imagine it’s going to be pretty, as the Guy On The Podium tomorrow is going to do what he does best – and it’s not going to be Stand Up And Lead.