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Monthly Archives: February, 2009

Change and transparency: CIA Signals Continuity With Bush Era

CIA Signals Continuity With Bush Era
February 26th, 2009


Via: Wall Street Journal:

The Central Intelligence Agency’s new director outlined spy policies Wednesday, including an aggressive campaign in Pakistan, that underscored considerable continuity with the Bush administration.

CIA Director Leon Panetta, in his first meeting with reporters, said the agency will continue to carry out drone attacks on militants in Pakistan. He also said that while CIA interrogations will have new limits, President Barack Obama can still use his wartime powers to authorize harsher techniques if necessary.

Among changes under way at the CIA, the agency is now assembling a daily Economic Intelligence Brief to monitor the global economic slowdown’s impact on stability. Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela are facing “serious problems” that threaten their economic stability, Mr. Panetta said.

The Obama administration has also shown a reluctance to overturn Bush administration views on certain terrorism-related legal matters. Earlier this month, it backed Bush-era positions that a case against a contractor alleged to have helped with CIA renditions shouldn’t go forward because it will reveal “state secrets,” and that detainees in Afghanistan don’t have the right to challenge their detention in a U.S. court. Coming cases that will provide additional signals include a lawsuit to force the release of Justice Department memos on anti-terrorism policies.


Finally, because we’re also suffering from a deficit of trust, I am committed to restoring a sense of honesty and accountability to our budget. That is why this budget looks ahead ten years and accounts for spending that was left out under the old rules – and for the first time, that includes the full cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. For seven years, we have been a nation at war. No longer will we hide its price.

Uh huh…

Pentagon Officials Must Sign Budget Secrecy Pledge

Department of Defense officials who are involved in preparation of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget request are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement pledging not to divulge budget-related information to unauthorized persons.

Defense Department regulations (such as DoD Directive 7045.14 [pdf], section 4.7) already prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of budget planning documents, so the policy itself is not new. But the use of non-disclosure agreements to enforce and encourage compliance with the policy appears to be without precedent.

The new non-disclosure agreement was first reported in “DoD Officials Must Vow Secrecy on Budget” by John T. Bennett, Defense News, February 19, 2009.

Speaking of cloudy things and things that SHOULD be in the open and in the public domain in a democratic society…

In His ,memo on government transparency President Obama has stated that his Admin

“will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

The Last Hero

I was a very young boy when Dwight Eisenhower ran for president. I wore an “I Like Ike” button. I liked Ike ‘cuz he had a great button. My dad voted for Adlai. Ike was my hero ’til everybody started talking about how much golf he was playing while the Russkies were kicking our ass all over the planet . . .

I was thirteen when John Kennedy came up to bat. He was just about everybody’s hero, ‘specially if you were an Irish Catholic Bostonian like I was. It was several decades before I found out the truth about his presidency and I finally threw him in the old hero hamper . . .

It will always disturb me that Ronald Reagan is a hero for so many Americans, except as a deification of American selfishness. To credit the man with “bringing down” the Soviet Union and all but destroying international communism is disingenuous at best. The USSR collapsed of its own weight of corruption and imperial overstretch, complete with its own Vietnam-like Afghanistan quagmire, just as the US and its empire are imploding now, the result of the ideology and policies of the Reagan years.

I will not take the time here to delineate those US Presidents who have been elevated to the status of hero. We all know who they are. It should be noted, however, that good historical practice can often insert critical insight and controversy into the myths upon which the stature of heroism is built. In my mind, for example, the fact that Lincoln was a racist who intended that freed African slaves be returned to Africa punctures the myth of his deification.

Presidential heroes are indeed the product of the melding of reality and mythology. In ancient Greece, the term “hero” applied to mortals who, through exceptional deeds, were elevated to the panoply of the gods as “demigods”.

Every revolution and every empire needs its gods, I suppose. It’s a great marketing technique, selling ideology to domestic citizens and foreign adversaries: Bolivar, Attaturk, Castro, Churchill, William the Conquerer. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and, of all people, Teddy Roosevelt radiate their deity from visages carved into the side of a mountain. Washington himself is memorialized by a giant phallic pyramid piercing the sky from the Potomac swamp. Man become symbol. But aren’t these myths usually made in retrospect? Aren’t demigods the embodiment, even sanctification, of ideals and actions to be emulated by the good citizens who worship them?

It seems to me that the myth of Barack Hussein Obama has already been made up. It is almost as if the man had to be made before the demigod. It certainly wasn’t difficult. George (AnybodyBut) Bush provided a ready-made foundation. Any Democratic candidate could probably have beaten whoever he endorsed (or whoever endorsed him and his policies) by just showing up, so it was just a matter of whether it would be Obama or Hillbillary who successfully wooed the King/Queenmakers (and their coffers).

The Clintons had a problem: their myth was already made and not all of it was flattering. Obama didn’t really have to run against them, because many of the Clinton courtiers defected early to Obama. All he had to do was stand still and his own myth was knitted together by his handlers and even more so by politically impoverished voter-serfs ascribing their own ideals to him, regardless of whether he really held them or not. By the time the DNC rolled around, the bronze sculpture of a new superhero had already been cast and finally the election saw z bright marble bust on an iron pedestal. Unfortunately, the bust is hollow . . .

In many ways, November 2008 may have been the peak of the Obama presidency. The myth is fairly transparent and cannot last long. The man himself probably realizes that the stovepipe crown he’s been given isn’t really big enough to hold the gigantic magic rabbit he’ll have to produce to pull off what’s in the script.

The bubble of “Hope” and “Change” is burst already. One is not possible without the other. and we are still waiting for change that will not come, unless it’s for the worse. Noam “The Gadfly” Chomsky has this to say . . .

As for current policies, I think Obama looks more aggressive and violent than Bush. The first acts under his administration were attacks on Afghanistan and in Pakistan, both of which killed many civilians, building up support for the Taliban. He wants to extend the military side of the war. There is an Afghan peace movement, which is calling for a reduction or an end of terror. President Karzai has pleaded with the United States not to carry out attacks that will hit civilians and, in fact, has demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces, American forces, but that’s just totally disregarded and the opportunities for a peaceful settlement are just ignored.

Back a year or so ago, when Obama was still truly a dark horse, many commentators, most notably Black Agenda Report (and I) warned that the man and the myth were not of the same substance. Unable to vote for a lie, I didn’t vote (in my state, my candidate, McKinney, wasn’t on the ballot). I don’t regret my abstinence. In fact, it’s already starting to look like a wise choice.

I must admit that the best candidate in the available field did win, but that doesn’t say much about the choices. The point really is whether President Obama can produce the superheroics required to pull our fat out of the fire. Demigod or demagogue, I think not. Frankly, that’s not really why he was hired. He’s being paid to keep us calm and hopeful while the fat sizzles down to crispy critter size.

The Village Voice has it right:

It’s 2009. You’re laid off, furloughed, foreclosed on, or you know someone who is. You wonder where you’ll fit into the grim new semi-socialistic post-post-industrial economy colloquially known as “this mess.”

You’re astonished and possibly ashamed that mutant financial instruments dreamed up in your great country have spawned worldwide misery. You can’t comprehend, much less trim, the amount of bailout money parachuting into the laps of incompetents, hoarders, and miscreants. It’s been a tough century so far: 9/11, Iraq, and now this. At least we have a bright new president. He’ll give you a job painting a bridge. You may need it to keep body and soul together.

The basic story line so far is that we are all to blame, including homeowners who bit off more than they could chew, lenders who wrote absurd adjustable-rate mortgages, and greedy investment bankers.

Credit derivatives also figure heavily in the plot. Apologists say that these became so complicated that even Wall Street couldn’t understand them and that they created “an unacceptable level of risk.” Then these blowhards tell us that the bailout will pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the credit arteries and save the patient, which is the world’s financial system. It will take time—maybe a year or so—but if everyone hangs in there, we’ll be all right. No structural damage has been done, and all’s well that ends well.

Sorry, but that’s drivel. In fact, what we are living through is the worst financial scandal in history. It dwarfs 1929, Ponzi’s scheme, Teapot Dome, the South Sea Bubble, tulip bulbs, you name it. Bernie Madoff? He’s peanuts . . .

The article, a six-screen in-depth economic analysis, points out that the seeds of economic self-destruction didn’t begin with Bush. It also makes clear that the new president is surrounded in his lofty, smog-stained ether with the aging lesser gods who planted the seeds of this jungle in the first place. The players and prayers are the same. Change strikes out.

Meanwhile, the gods are hedging their bets . . .

U.S. Army To Buy $6 Million Of Riot Equipment

Stokes fears that troops will be used to quell civil insurrection in wake of economic crisis

Steve Watson
Tuesday, Feb 24th, 2009

The U.S. Army is to invest $6 million in riot equipment, a fact that has furthered fears that troops will be used inside the U.S. in order to quell any civil unrest resulting from the ongoing economic crisis.

The U.S. Army Contracting Agency, based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has a post on the Federal Business Opportunities website, requesting the equipment and has received several notices of interest from potential vendors.

The request titled “84–RIOT EQUIPMENT” outlines the need for hard polyethylene Shin and Chest Guards, shock absorbing Forearm Protectors, Interior leg brace supports as well as knee and ankle protectors.

The ACA asks that the equipment be able to “safely withstand a substantial blow… from non-ballistic weapons or flying debris” . . .


I’ll be blunt: I think (and even expect) that Obama will be The Last Hero. Because myths and heroics are what’ve put us here. What we’ve got is broken and can’t be fixed. That’s a good thing, I think, because now we can build something better than we had.

So take off the cape, Mr President. We’re the heroes, not you.

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(opening image is “Pouting”, a photograph by rockingjude, who writes here and tweets here)

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI ‘Hell, There Could Be Even Riots’

Brzezinski fears class warfare. Not Mika. Zbigniew. And not Barney-Frank-on-Meet-the-Press class warfare. Real, blood-in-the-streets riots.

Jimmy Carter’s former National Security Adviser expressed his concern about the possibility of riots on Morning Joe today. To stave them off, he proposes the creation of a voluntary National Solidarity Fund, whose contributors would be those who made out very well in recent times.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You also talked about the possibility of class conflict.

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: I was worrying about it because we’re going to have millions and millions of unemployed, people really facing dire straits. And we’re going to be having that for some period of time before things hopefully improve. And at the same time there is public awareness of this extraordinary wealth that was transferred to a few individuals at levels without historical precedent in America . . . And you sort of say to yourself: what’s going to happen in this society when these people are without jobs, when their families hurt, when they lose their homes, and so forth?

We have the government trying to repair: repair the banking system, to bail the housing out. But what about the rich guys? Where is it? [What are they] doing?

Voluntary National Solidarity Fund? Zbig fears class warfare…

Also, looks like they’ve been preparing for a few months:

Unrest caused by bad economy may require military action, report says


evidently (4 or 5) congressional subpoena’s have no consequences if you fail to show….take note citizens

Iowa Guard ends urban war exercise amid outcry

he Iowa Army National Guard has dropped plans for urban warfare training in the western Iowa town of Arcadia after being deluged by nearly 100 e-mails and phone calls from gun-rights advocates nationwide.

The four-day event in April would have involved between 90 and 100 combat troops arriving in the Carroll County community in a convoy with a Blackhawk military helicopter flying overhead.

Troops would have gone door to door, asking the town’s 443 residents about a suspected arms dealer and conducting searches of homes if property owners volunteered in advance to cooperate. There was no opposition to the Guard’s plans from city leaders. But gun-rights advocates were outraged, and news about the exercise became a hot topic nationally on radio talk shows and the Internet.

Arcadia Mayor Oran Kohorst said Monday he was disappointed the exercise had been canceled. He said he had not heard of a single objection from residents, and he said the City Council supported it. At least two guardsmen live in Arcadia, and many residents either have served in the military or have family members who have served in the armed forces, he said. “This was completely blown out of proportion,” Kohorst said. “They were going to come through and meet with the townspeople and just practice going in and out of their homes. They were never, ever going to confiscate guns or anything like that.”

I’ve been wondering that myself…

Paul Krugman:

During the Bush years, it often seemed that on any given day all the leading conservative commentators were reading from the same list of talking points — because they were.

But without a conservative in the WH, who’s handing out the talking points now?

One thing’s for sure: someone is.

Republican party is playing kabuki like they have no real leadership right now, but they are remarkably on message. One of the reasons, I felt, that McCain did so poorly in the election was that, by and large, it seemed he wasn’t in charge of his candidacy. Comparatively, Obama did seem to be in charge not only of his campaign but also of his party.

The Republican party (really, a consortium of Republican representatives, media pundits and Wall Street traders) is still being run from the shadows. Who’s pulling the strings?

Iran: The Friendliest People in the World

Please don’t bomb them.

Are Iranian women the most beautiful in the world? Possible Onion headline: In Attempt to Stop Bombings from US and Israel, Iran Changes Name Back to Persia – “What? There’s no Iran here. Look buddy, this is Persia, we can’t accept no bombs for Iran, two separate places, last time I’m tellin’ ya!”

Newly Poor Swell Lines at Food Banks Nationwide

Once a crutch for the most needy, food pantries have responded to the deepening recession by opening their doors to what Rosemary Gilmartin, who runs the Interfaith Food Pantry here, described as “the next layer of people” — a rapidly expanding roster of child-care workers, nurse’s aides, real estate agents and secretaries facing a financial crisis for the first time.

Demand at food banks across the country increased by 30 percent in 2008 from the previous year, according to a survey by Feeding America, which distributes more than two billion pounds of food every year. And instead of their usual drop in customers after the holidays, many pantries in upscale suburbs this year are seeing the opposite.

Good thing they have Jesus and Obama on their side eh?

Volcker: Economy falling faster than in Depression

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – A top adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday the global economy may be deteriorating even faster than during the Great Depression, grim euro zone services and manufacturing data hit a record low, and Japan warned economic conditions were also worsening.

Welcome to the theater, please take your seats, the show will begin momentarily…

"Posthuman Resources": Why Do We Hate Humans So Much?

There is no phrase in biz lingo more insidious, odious, and degrading than “human resources”. Every company has a department with that title (or outsources its functions). Such departments used to be called “Personnel” or “Employment”. Pretty neutral and innocuous, I think. Then, I guess, somebody came up with the bright idea that putting “human” in the title modernized the concept and/or made it more, well . . . “humane”. Just the opposite, I’m afraid. It’s that concept of “resource” that really singes my socks . . .

I was born in California in the late 40s. Pretty early on it was just my dad (a school teacher) and myself. We lived and I grew up in a series of communities, some of them in the northern rural part of the state and others that were in Sacramento, Stockton, San Francisco, and Eureka. These communities were called “neighborhoods” and our friends were, well, “friends”.

I left California in 1960 and returned to the Bay Area as a 40-something. I found out that “friends” were now “networks” and neighborhoods had turned into “bases”. I was a “human resources and organizational developer”. I lasted two and a half years.

I think of a resource as “something that is used”. If I can’t use it, it has no value to me. It is, therefore, very difficult for me to think of a human as a resource, because I don’t “use” him or her. S/he has value, whether I need her or him for something specific or not. From time to time, there might be things that a person might give me or do for or with me that may benefit me, but that, as they say, is icing on the cake. I understand that not everyone feels that way, but that makes me sad.

Corporations, with their nasty tentacles wrapped around the very genitals of “democratic capitalist” government have the legal status of “persons.” But they’re not human. To corporations, then, we humans are their resources, like oil and sand and meat-cattle. We’re stuff. A corporation uses stuff it needs to make other stuff and/or money. Don’t need it, no value.

We humans can be bothersome stuff, however. We can be pretty high maintenance. We have the aggravating habit of reminding corporations that we have some basic rights and basic needs. We can make things messy, especially since we gave some of us stuff to the grinding wheels of the corporation and didn’t get much of a return from it. The folks who manage and own corporations took us stuff and kept a lot of it. And now, they say, a lot of us stuff they took just kinda disappeared. So now . . . We. Are. Less. Stuff. Messy, as I said.

Something pretty serious has happened as the capitalist monster has gone around devouring stuff in its slash and burn and gobble juggernaut. You see, for awhile now it’s been depending on “play money” to fund its gluttony: I guess we usually call that “credit” – you know, fly now, pay later. The fantasy was that later would never come. But it did, because people started playing too hard with play money and the game collapsed. So now, none of the corporations can afford stuff and we stuff can’t afford ourselves. Oops. We end up being not such hot stuff, after all.

The question of whether we can “recover” and put everyone back to work is hereby moot. As a writer calling himself “edutrain” writes at Socyberty,
in “Can Capitalism Survive?” . . .

Collapse 2008

Western capitalism collapsed in 2008. It is still with us, a very lame duck, because governments, mainly in the USA and Europe, bailed it out – by pouring £ Billions into bankrupt banks.

Why did they do this? Their answer is that, without government support, banks and the economy would have collapsed.

But there is no evidence that anybody, except the bankers (who continue to pay £&$ Billions in bonuses), have benefited. Companies collapse, and people lose their homes – because they are refused the loans which the banks, when they received government funds, agreed (we are told) to arrange.

It is obvious that capitalism, which we are told, consistently, is a model for us all to follow, cannot “stand on its own two feet”. Despite the £&$ (and Euro) Billions already provided, the banking system is still extremely shaky . . .

The author goes on to suggest that state socialism is the next step, while at Global Research, Professor Michael Hudson explains:

In periods of looming collapse, wealthy elites protect their funds like rats fleeing a sinking ship. In times past they bought gold when currencies started to weaken. (Patriotism never has been a characteristic of cosmopolitan finance capital.) Since the 1950s the International Monetary Fund has made loans to support Third World exchange rates long enough to subsidize capital flight. In the United States over the past half-year, bankers and Wall Street investors have tapped the Treasury and Federal Reserve to support prices of their bad loans and financial gambles, buying out or guaranteeing $12 trillion of these junk debts. Protection for the U.S. financial elite thus takes the form of domestic public debt, not foreign currency.
It is all in vain as far as the real economy is concerned. When the Treasury gives banks newly printed government bonds in “cash for trash” swaps, it leaves today’s unpayably high private-sector debt in place. All that happens is that this debt is now owed to (or guaranteed by) the government, which will have to impose taxes to pay the interest charges.
The new twist is a variant on the IMF “stabilization” plans that lend money to central banks to support their currencies – for long enough to enable local oligarchs and foreign investors to move their savings and investments offshore at a good exchange rate. The currency then is permitted to collapse, enabling currency speculators to rake in enough gains to empty out the central bank’s reserves. Speculators view these central bank holdings as a target to be raided – the larger the better. The IMF will lend a central bank, say, $10 billion to “support the currency.” Domestic holders will flee the currency at a high exchange rate. Then, when the loan proceeds are depleted, the currency plunges. Wages are squeezed in the usual IMF austerity program, and the economy is forced to earn enough foreign exchange to pay back the IMF . . .

Today it is easier to see that the Western economies cannot go on the way they have been. They have reached the point where the debts exceed the ability to pay. Instead of recognizing this fact and scaling debts back into line with the ability to pay, the Obama-Geithner plan is to bail out the big banks and hedge funds, keeping the volume of debt in place and indeed, growing once again through the “magic of compound interest.” The result can only be an increasingly extractive economy, until households, real estate and industrial companies, states and cities, and the national government itself is driven into debt peonage . . .

I’m no economist, believe me. So I’ve got some questions . . .

Socialized or not, if there’s no money around, what becomes of us stuff and our stuff? Do we just do away with money and give everybody the stuff they need? Capitalism has been based on the right of every individual to choose what “need” means. Will humans be able to accept what we “need” instead of what we “want”?

From the point of view of the corporatist, the relationship of the “human resource” to the corporation is that the corporation provides money for the human resource’s work so that the human resource can keep its stuff together well enough to continue being a resource.

But this relationship is broken, it appears. So if state socialism is the answer, the state is now burdened with keeping stuff going to maintain and produce stuff and around and round, and round. Dizzy? I certainly am.

The vertigo gets critical when the technology of The Computational Singularity and Trans- and Post-Humanism are added to the mix. Again, from the point of view of the corporatist, these just may lead to a situation where, well, they don’t need us stuff so much anymore. We have no value – at least as we’re presently constituted. Or, at the very worst, our value is only to be enslaved to the ruling class in order to pay their debt.

One conclusion to all this is simple: the rulers don’t really need us. We’re just useless at best, a drag and hindrance to total control at worst. Is there not a direct correlation between the amount of money one has and the number of people one needs?

Still the most popularly unexamined interrelated phenomena on the planet are eugenics, robotics, and trans/posthumanism. In our present circumstances, they are inseparable. The new eugenics movement calls for population reduction through decreasing birth rates in general and especially in “defective” humans (read “the poor” and the genetically “at risk”). Poor and “sick” humans, as far as eugenicists are concerned, are the most useless stuff, and even redirect resources to keeping that stuff around.

In addition to supporting population reduction, the most quickly developing trend is the integration of eugenics with robotics in population control. I do not use “control” as a synonym for “stabilization” or “reduction” here. I mean it as a mechanism for keeping stuff (read “angry, unruly mass mobs of ‘left out’ humans threatening ruler’s wealth and power).

In collusion with both academic and applied science, DARPA and other government-ensured entities have become very advanced in developing crowd control and battlefield weapons systems that increase the power of the owners and users while reducing risk to the same. Witness . . .

DARPA, AI and Super Tanks

The U.S. Super Research arm of the Department of Defense is at it again with another psychotic addition to its maniacal wish list of super deadly and undefeatable weapons, namely the self-aware AI robot mega-tank.

Pentagon chiefs have announced that they would like some self-aware computer systems capable of “meta-reasoning” and “introspection”. The plan is to place these machine intelligences in command of heavily armed, well-nigh invulnerable robotic tanks.

This latest plan for humanity’s subjugation comes, of course, from DARPA – the agency believed to harbour the largest known group of lifelike people-simulant robots piloted from within by tiny, malevolent space lizard infiltrators in the entire US federal government.

The plan is called Self-Explanation Learning Framework (SELF). It is being handled by Dr Mike Cox of DARPA’s renowned Information Processing Technology Office . . .

And we all know about Predators and other aerial drones, used by the Obama administration for surveillance, as well as for unmanned missile strikes in Pakistan.

Furthermore, at the point that artificial intelligence meets and exceeds human intelligence (the “computational singularity”) robots will have the capability of sentience, learning, and self replicating. The US Navy has already spoken of the need for codes and systems which protect against robots actually turning on their human creators.

Finally, although it is the therapeutic value of nano/bio-tech advances which get all the PR these days, the implications of the potential for body/mind invasion of molecular enemies are frightening. Imagine mandated vaccine programs secretly designed to also inject genetically-spiked molecular substances which radically influence brain neurochemistry or which are deadly viruses.

Carolyn Harris, writing at War is Crime in January (“Genetic Engineering: Turning Humanity into Slaves“) has more details on all of these themes, and I strongly recommend her piece.

In short, the great danger is that “posthuman resources” is quickly becoming more valuable, and perhaps controllable stuff than human resources. If I were you, I’d be very suspicious of that cute nannybot cyborg you want to watch your kids while you’re out shopping . . .

Be at and about peace.

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Originally posted at P!

The Story of Skin

Body Parts Made Of Bread

Chocolate Covered Cotton

That’s some catch, that Catch 22.

The other relevant scene from the novel is when the old Italian man (108 years old) tells the 21-year old Lt. that the secret to a long and happy life is to surrender, not fight.

To bend.

To not get in uniform, not get in line, not march with the masses, not stand in the ranks, not espouse the public goal.

To live instead like a knife cutting through water, leaving no trace of yourself while simply being yourself. The young Lt. may not see the next sunset, while the old man has lived the one day given to him, day by day, for 108 years.

Most people can’t do it. Human beings live in stories, in myths about nationhood, heritage, generational accomplishments, ethnicity, in sports teams if nothing else. Most of us are eager to stand up and be a part of history, to fight for truth, justice, and a sacred cause larger than our life, to make our mark in this world, to make a difference, to be somebody, to do some thing.

When the only thing you can ever possibly have any control over is yourself, inside your own skin.

Ozymandias in the end was just a man. Though he reportedly shook the heavens and the earth, no trace of it remains. What he took to eternity was who he was, not what he did. Not the slightest speck of any mountain he moved, not the smallest coin nor thread of cloth went along with him to wherever he went.

None of those things were taken. None of those things remain.

It’s hard to leave off the story, the country, the cause that appeals to you, and to care nothing about all that.

In the eight years of daily heartbreak of the Bush years now past, I went from grieving for my lost America, to a white hot rage to rescue it, to a determination to change it, to a cold examination of its core deceits.

And there has been a divorce. I’ve no respect or regard remaining for America’s story, for its birth or history, for its government, its leaders, its various wars, or for its aims around the world today. It is not my story or my country even though I live here.

Like the majority of Americans, much has been taken from me in these eight years, and as I watch the fledgling Obama Administration service the robber barons assiduously instead of the people I perceive that even more will be taken.

But I also perceive that these taken things are just things. Job, career, savings, property, pride, prospects, patriotism, optimism, health care, community, anger, shame, love of country. These things that I once thought moved heaven and Earth are gone now.

Like so many Americans, I am standing here in my skin, with no particular loyalty to the nation that robs me, that abuses me, that uses me and then sends along a bill for its services. I won’t be paying that bill, and they cannot collect it without taking my very skin, which I aim to keep.

Like so many Americans, I am ‘paddling to Sweden’ as Orr did in the novel — I am getting up every morning and doing what is sane and effective to escape a mad and maddening situation, to escape with my skin. My bank is a mattress, my income is barter and black market, my taxes are nought. My interest in the blogs, news, and headlines is to dodge what’s coming next, not to fight it, espouse it, worry about it, or live in it.

The oligarchs atop our nation do not grasp how very many Americans don’t live in America any longer even though we live right here. How very many of us see that the Dream was only ever possible for 10% of us, and that those 10% have got theirs but good, and have no further concern for the rest of us, or for other nations, or for the planet.

They’ve virtually left the country. So have we. Catch 22 — no one lives in America any longer. Some live above it, while most live below it. The Dream is increasingly unoccupied.

The 10% of wealthy Villagers atop America will happily leave the rest of us shivering in our skins, if it keeps them living in their story. In their country. The country they won, that they stole fair and square so they can live happily ever after.

Or until we come for them.


Until then, the cannibalism continues…

Micropolis: Kiddie Capitalism

With its own bank (to get that start-up play cash before learning “how to spend it” and “what it takes to earn more”), supermarket, model runway, business class flights…and an unemployment office even. Luckily, this unemployment office always finds a job for every kid.

FSOL, Off ‘Dead Cities’…

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