Thursday, March 15, 2007

Look, Look Over Here ~ Oh No! Another Terrorist!

The Bush Administration is nothing if not reliably predictable. Whenever things get really rotten-smelling, such that even the most gullible, naiive & right-wing voters can't miss the stench, it attempts to refocus attention on the event that made their careers ~ 911. No, can't get too much mileage out of that old worn retread! There's still some life in that old story, & Bushco is not about to let us move on.
Today's big "not news" is the effort to distract us from all the bad news for Bushco emanating out of Washington ~ political purges of prosecutors too mild for Bushco's ravenous tastes, calls for 'Berto's head over that & the FBI's indiscriminate use of the spying powers granted by ill-conceived antiterrorism legislation, the determined expansion of the war in the Mideast despite its huge unpopularity with American voters, & continued calls to shut Gitmo & all the other American-run gulags down.

Bushco's response is to pull yet another evil demon terrorist out of its ass, parade him in all his dishevelled, broken-English glory before the court of public opinion, & shout: "Torture works! Torture works! We made him confess!"

And, oh, never mind that these tribunals are mind-numbingly piss-poor excuses for a real court of law. We've been over all this before. I won't bore my readers, nor myself, by going over the reasons why that's so yet again.

If you've been living in America the past 5 years & you don't know that yet, you should be forced to forfeit your citizenship & your voter registration, turn in your keys to the gym, & fork over your credit cards & your privileges to marketed "lifestyle" consumerism. We'll send you to Iraq to enjoy a long vacation.
A review of the big not-news in Slate summary-style:
"The New York Times and Washington Post point out it's not clear exactly how involved Mohammed could have been in all the plots he detailed. The Sept. 11 commission at one point described Mohammed as someone with extravagant ambitions who had a vision that was "a spectacle of destruction with KSM as the self-cast star, the superterrorist." But the Los Angeles Times quotes a terrorism expert, who says most of the plots he described did seem to have some leadership from Mohammed. USA Today points out that the majority of the targets described by Mohammed "were not hit," such as the Panama Canal, the New York Stock Exchange, and Big Ben. The Wall Street Journal says many of the plots "never got beyond the planning stage."



Blogger theBhc said...

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11:33 PM  
Blogger Demon Princess said...

Wonderful, eloquent, impassioned essay. I enjoyed it immensely.

I really can't account for the MSM's abdication of its responsibility to address these sorts of issues ~ none but the usual (lame) excuses: ratings, ratings, ratings & media lite explained in terms of same.

However, my gut instinct wants to add that there's some sort of overlayer to that, perhaps reflecting an inherent weakness in our anemic two party political system. (A point first made to me by an Irish resident of Germany married to an American media guy there when she asked, "What IS the difference between your Republicans & your Democrats, really?" I was visting there just after The Wall came down, so this was pre-raving-Bush-Neocon-time.)

I often hear her words when I'm thinking about current events & wonder what she'd think now.

Your essay revives those questions for me. Can it really be so easy, & so invisible, for the Neocons to do what they have systematically been doing to not only the Democrats (who've proved in the past that they're mere politicians, too--hence my general lack of excitement about or endorsement of any particular one of them), but more outrageously & importantly, to our entire system of governance. And SO swiftly!

They've cynically & disingenuously undone, here & abroad, everything we Americans THOUGHT our country stood for in record time, all the while assiduously excercising spin designed to exploit those same "what it means to be American" memes.

Long story short, I think it's confluence of factors: a calculated dumbing down in political discourse combined with the careful cultivation of special interest groups, the conflation of all those groups' interests: business, social conservatism, religion (the oddest element of all), & the careful construction of their own single-minded noise machine which has accounted for their success.

The stasis on "our side" was hastened by MSM's laziness in the very important role as the 4th estate in government, as well as Americans' increasingly short attention spans (if we don't get it in a 3-second soundbyte, we're on to something else.)

The net effect is it seems as we all just blinked, when we refocused, we find we suddenly live in a country we no longer recognize. In reality, it's taken the neocons decades to work themselves so insidiously into the political arena, to gain such great control (to shift the world's axis, in fact) & until the last election they seemed unstoppable. I really feared for that one, but we did make some gains in righting the balance. I'm hopeful that the neocons' era is waning & will come to a close, but this is no time to start taking that for granted, as your essay points out. There's a long distance yet to go.

What I fear now is that, given the MSM's laziness, the average American's unwillingness to pay attention/detachment, we have even less of a difference between our parties, and less of a choice as Democrats become more centrist in order to draw votes in a radically polarized political environment. I personally think we as a country would benefit by a vigorous third or even a fourth political party.

How likely, given that we've all been fairly well inculcated with capitalism & consumerism as our REAL central values (citizenship, the public square, humanitarianism, collective well-being, not so much)? I don't dare speculate.

Thinking that we could benefit by some fresh thinking & more political viewpoints is a highly unpopular view in some circles, I know, but I'm taking the long view.

But in the meantime, yes: the Democrats we have should take heed & fight back with every means at their disposal. And they should stand for something, definitely not just neo-con lite. In that they must take the initiative, including self-preservation.

The only bright spot, as I see it, is that neocons have gotten so arrogant they've gotten really sloppy. I don't see them effectively being able to manage themselves anymore, much less media critique (when it comes). I see them trying to spin situations that have gotten away from them (distraction is definitely one of their favorite ploys), but it's apparent they can no longer keep the lid on the scandals, which are popping out as if from beneath a pressure-cooker, an apt analogy, IMHO.

It's a far cry from their former ability to control everything & everyone; all they can do now is try to maintain some semblance of damage control.

2:11 AM  

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