Monthly Archives: April 2007
The New Hammerhead was a perfect cowboy. He was vicious & stupid & ignorant of everything except his own fears and appetites. He beat the mortal shit out of anything that made him uneasy, for any reason at all. The Hammerhead was a perfect warrior. He defended the flag. Any flag. He learned to understand words like “orders” and “patriotism”, but the secret of his success was an animal taste for blood. He thrived on motion. But he was brainless; he had to be aimed.
-Hunter S. Thompson
Meet Jack Bauer. He’s America’s newest hero, a pop culture icon in the land of ignorant fear and bigoted loathing, a land that routinely bestows honors on phony pigs the likes of John Wayne, John Rambo and Ronald Wilson Reagan. Here is an ugly little secret for the deep-seated television addicts in our attention deficit democracy – Jack Bauer is also an ultra violent latter day Nazi with a savage psychopathic mean streak and a king-sized hard-on for torture. Torture has become one of a growing number of previously unthinkable and utterly abominable acts that can now be wrapped in an American flag as some type of a sick endorsement of what constitutes super patriotism under the pathologically amoral regime that is the Bushreich.
Jack is a hero for that much trumpeted by the neocon junta ‘post 9-11’ wordview, he is their champion, a thuglike doppleganger for law enforcement in the authoritarian police state. The need for Jack’s way has been somewhat forgotten by those traitor Democrats (according to capo Tom DeLay, a media darling on the bloviation circuit where he whittles away his time while awaiting trial) who would roll out the welcome mat for the terrorists (according to America’s mayor Rudy Giuliani on whose watch the big day occurred) whose sissified liberalism has been decried as sympathetic to the evil doers who they would rather pack off to head shrinkers rather than the toe cutters in the CIA prison gulag. In fact Jack is even MORE necessary now than ever before as the fear rolls out of the electronic crackpipe in waves. Last night’s big bait and switch on 60 Minutes promised former CIA kingpin George Tenet exposing lies about the war and to some extent it did but the Georgetown drama queen more effectively used the half hour segment to deliver an infomercial for the fear just in time for the Monday news cycle.
An alleged plot to assassinate Al Gore will get be repeated ad nauseum without any mention that such an act puts Osama Bin Laden firmly in the camp of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and all of those other brave Americans of the Republican base and here is some food for thought -Al Qaeda (why in the living fuck are there so many spelling variations on this in the MSM?) also means The Base. Tenet’s book – At the Center of the Storm also resurrects the ‘smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud‘ talking point with the allegations of a myriad of nuke threats and what better illustrates the need for a guy like Jack Bauer when there is a ticking bomb in an American city and a captured suspect has ten fingers and ten toes to cut off to get him or her to squeal on the location of it.
But I digress…
The lead character of FOX media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s smash hit 24 is played by washout actor Keifer Sutherland whose flagging post Lost Boys career was rescued by the war party’s need to indoctrinate television nation as to the real new rules by rolling out an infomercial for torture. Jack Bauer is the logical final product that evolved from another Sutherland character, Lt. Kendrick from A Few Good Men. Remember him? He was the sycophantic suck-up lackey of Colonel Nathan Jessup, the rotten little bootlicker who did the dirty work so his superior officer wouldn’t actually have to get blood on his own hands.
Code Red? Jack’ll show you a motherfucking Code Red that you’ll never fucking forget.
Then again ‘Brat Packer’ Sutherland’s portrayal of Jack Bauer is the perfect example of the lost children of Ronald Reagan, some countries lose entire generations to bloody, ill conceived wars but at least the sacrifice of the pissed away lives of those wasted can be wrapped in the cheesecloth of valor, duty, nationalism, patriotism or whatever other rote horseshit platitudes and clichés that the priests, pastors and politicians so often resort to as the stock of their trade.
The true tragedy of utterly fucked generation that was weaned on the revisionist history and propaganda of Reagan as American icon is that they are all still fucking alive while other societies were able to rebuild and in their shame at being hoodwinked into sending their young into bloody morasses to die for their collective fucking ignorance they were at least able to avoid repeating the tragic mistakes that non-revisionist, unvarnished, non-sugar coated history is all about. And nations have evolved and with notable exceptions like Nazi Germany have emerged as better and more compassionate.
Jack Bauer however is the product of the evolution of the bizarreness of the 1980’s where think tank folderol about a great American resurrection pimped out through blatant maudlin fraudulence like ‘Morning In America’ and the preponderance of a degraded cable television explosion that was mainlined into millions of homes as E-Soma consumerist garbage like MTV, Dynasty, Dallas etc while our mega plexes were overflowing with paramilitary revenge trash jingoism like Rambo, Chuck Norris’ violent celluloid polemics, Red Dawn, Universal Soldier and every ultra-violent box office smash featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger that made wisecracking while dispensing bloody retribution a cool thing -“Remember when I said that I’d kill you last? I lied”.
24 is a perfecto hit of mainline e-crack into the public consciousness in an era when the Geneva Convention rules barring torture have been deemed “quaint” by the highest ranking law officer in the land and the Constitution has been rendered obsolete, a relic from another time prior to the ascent of a revolutionary power bent on reinventing fascism by wrapping it in red, white and blue and peddling it as being as American as apple pie. The relic of a document that stood as a check on state power for over two-hundred years has even been referred to as “just a goddamned piece of paper” by the unitary executive who claims the divine right of a king to do “just as he goddamned” well pleases with Americans. Look at the fine example made of Jose Padilla the test case who was so broken that his lawyer referred to him as being transformed by government sanctioned brutality to the point that he was: “so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of ‘a piece of furniture.’ ” With the Geneva Conventions and Constitution reduced to so much toilet tissue it was no surprise when habeas corpus – which has stood since the fucking Magna Carta – was also tossed away via the Military Commissions act.
The same social forces that produced Jack Bauer also are responsible for Cho Seung- Hui, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, Ann Coulter, Left Behind and other creatures and products that tap into the most animalistic instincts of the darkest recesses of the soul. The need for vengeance, the more cruelty and violence exacted in the process makes it even better. And this was BEFORE video games brought the desensitization and kill factor into millions of homes. As a delivery device FOX is the propaganda beacon that drives home the fascist agenda of the Bush-Cheney-Rove Axis of Evil and their version of the new American century – and Jack Bauer is their top pitchman. Watch an NFL game late in the season when audiences are highest and chances are that you’ll be bombarded with previews for 24. Despite the recent denunciation by the Army as a bad influence that actually encourages torture the Bushreich is so ecstatic over the show’s psy ops value that it’s operatives practically scream endorsements at the top of their lungs.
The show’s connection to the Bush White House and the conservative establishment became explicit last June, when Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff appeared alongside the show’s producers and three cast members at an event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation to discuss “The public image of US terrorism policy.” The discussion was moderated by Rush Limbaugh. The C-SPAN store sells a DVD of the event–price reduced from $60 to $29.95.
A piece in a fairly recent edition of The New Yorker entitled Whatever It Takes profiles the show’s creator Joel Surnow who is a certified, gold-plated Republican asshole. Surnow is a self-proclaimed “right-wing nut” who counts among his intimates none other than the GOP’s grand poobah of propaganda Rush Limbaugh. According to The Smoking Gun he was also one of the pigman’s traveling partners during his infamous visit to the sex tourism Mecca in the Dominican Republic last summer when a Customs search in Miami found a mysterious bottle of Viagra in lard-ass Limbaugh’s luggage. By the way, Father Coughlin redux has his own pro-torture spiel, in the aftermath of the revelations of the Abu Ghraib sadosexual perversions Radio Fat Republican broadcast that the heinous pictures that shocked the world by revealing the twisted brutality of the occupiers as well as the desperation of the neocons to condone such practices as being no worse than fraternity hazing. Just good ole boys, never meaning no harm..
Writer Dave Trotter examined the allure of 24 as well as the value that the show represents to the fascists in power with this piece Softening Us Up for Torture, 24 Hours at a Time that I am going to provide a good sized piece from here:
Ironically, Bush’s fear-mongering reveals yet another duality for the neoconservatives: the contradiction of an energetic push to strip dissident citizens of their liberty in order to silence them with Bush’s push to enable illegal aliens by the millions to impersonate citizens and imbibe of the entire spectrum of taxpayer-funded infrastructure (or to paraphrase those marching masses of illegal aliens, to get their “rights”).
Their torture rationale continues that if the unitary executive has the authority to enforce his discretion in the course of prosecuting a “war” (even if undeclared by Congress), then he can also withhold details about the intelligence that led to this discretionary action in the first place – all in the name of protecting national security.
Here’s how the writers illustrate the concept: in episode 18 they make the distinction between torturing: (1) suspects who’ve been actually charged with a crime, and (2) suspects who haven’t been charged but who still might know something.
They pose the question as an over-the-top ethical issue, and the Arab supervillain plays the system expertly, using an Amnesty International clone agency lawyer like an IED to sidetrack CTU’s “hot on his trail” investigation.
So the lawyers advocating due process for the suspect are working for the terrorists! I knew it! (Dang you, Osama! Dang you, Zarqawi/Saddam/Goldstein!)
The problem is that the writers linger on the distinction that Jack wants to torture a suspect but has insufficient evidence to charge him. By this point, Spring of 2005, most citizens had seen enough wild precedents in the four years since 9/11 to recognize that the “material support” hurdle of the Patriot Act is a low one indeed. They couldn’t charge this guy?
Somebody was trying to make a point.
But never fear – Jack Bauer knocks out a pawn-like Federal Marshall escorting the suspect and breaks every bone in one of the suspect’s hands until he talks, which of course renders exactly the information they need, just in the nick of time. Thanks, God, for Jack Bauer, who has the stomach and the temerity to pummel my face – or yours! – into concrete in the name of national security! Finally, a hero emerges!
Never mind that we’ve moved far afield, by this point, whether the predication for any of this executive activity is legitimate. We’re in a damned fervor, here. We ain’t got time for discernment!
It’s easy to rationalize when the “worst-case scenario” mentality really takes root, too. It was that guy’s hand or millions of innocent lives, right? How do any of us stack up against that?
This premise is fatally flawed, however: in life – in reality – our only source of data, our only means of verifying that these discretionary executive quests are legitimate, ultimately comes straight from the executive branch itself – which has a vested self-interest in avoiding self-incrimination.
So why would we believe any of it?
Of course the byproduct of all this rationalization and acceptance is that most citizen viewers will likely apply the same mental precept when they encounter a similar situation in real life.
That’s the whole point of propaganda, after all
The ugly truth of that matter is that with a rogue administration intent on bestowing dictatorial powers on a ‘unitary executive’, a bloodsucking legion of authority worshipping zombies who will loyally follow such leader not only to the gates of hell but inside as an enabling brownshirt force who comprise at LEAST one third of the populace, a court system that has been rigged and packed with compliant jurists down with one party rule and an increasingly desperate and megalomaniac cabal slowly being backed into a corner and you know what they say like cornered animals – they become downright mean, they become psychotic just like Jack. And they have a gulag system already in place along with a blueprint for martial law and a ruthless mercenary army called Blackwater to enforce it.
When we peer into that flickering glass Jack Bauer is us and our voyeuristic Pavlov’s Dogs type of involuntary salivating at depictions of wanton cruelty that appropriately belong in a Schutzstaffel training manual is a damning condemnation of a rotting society that has through our decadent ignorance, callous indifference and general meanness become a pox on the rest of the planet.
Today more people vote on cheese talent shows like American Idol than in most elections. Ignorance is bliss and there is nothing more blissful than a herd of sheep transfixed by the cheap and easily accessible fantasy world of the electronic crackpipe. I always am fascinated by some of the random samples of comments made in Jerry Manders’ fairly obscure but very thought provoking book Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television:
“I feel hypnotized by television”
“Television sucks my energy”
“I feel like it’s brainwashing me”
“I feel like a vegetable when I’m stuck there at the tube”
“Television is an addiction and I’m an addict”
“My kids look like zombies when they’re watching”
“TV is destroying my mind”
“My kids walk around like they’re in a dream because of it”
“Television is turning my mind to mush”
“TV is colonizing my brain”
Television also creates insecurity and mental illness, viewers of too much television are often unable to make the differentiation between fantasy and reality, look at the rise in school shootings and generally deviant violent behavior. They live vicariously through the imagery designed to sell them caricatures of a lifestyle that they in turn believe that must be lived up to in order to be ‘normal’. The barrage of imagery as well as its calculated usage to influence the psyche by those whose craft is manipulation has a devastating effect on Americans. The inability to detach oneself from television worlds breeds violence, insecurity, greed and other such undesirable behavior. This is especially true for children who are very impressionable, there are highly paid marketing firms who specialize in trying to get the products and or ideas of those who pay them seared into the minds of kids from the earliest age possible in order to create lifetime customers. Is this evil? If not outright evil it is certainly devoid of any sort of decent ethical principle but then again isn’t this exactly the sort of deviant behavior that unchecked capitalism is intended to produce?
Will there be a time when television fantasy, physical reality and dreams become indistinguishable to some? Is that time already here? The psychological dependence on television to create identity and loyalty should be a national shame. Generations that have been born into the cable television era have become more violent, more superficial, more unquestioning and most importantly, far dumber than those who were their predecessors. The rise to power of the evil regime of Adolf Hitler was borne on the wings of massive public rallies, fantastic gatherings steeped in the power of nationalism, symbolism, fire, resentment and demagogic ravings of destiny. The most famous of the state sponsored bacchanalia being the 1934 Nuremberg rally, meticulously choreographed and captured on film by Leni Riefenstahl. Triumph of the Will would become the benchmark for all German propaganda. The national madness of the German people can be seen in these rallies and films, the unraveling and descent of a sophisticated society into pure primal evil was enabled and facilitated by their entertainment. With television there is no need for mass rallies, the demagoguery and imagery can be delivered directly into living rooms now.
The Madness of Senator McCain: Mancurian McCain continues his ugly death spiral by bursting into – I shit you not – a tuneless rendition of Bomb Iran sung to the tune of the Beach Boy’s Barbara Ann in front of a hooting audience of South Carolina peckerwood yahoos who hooted their approval. Ironic that in the very state where Karl Rove took his balls seven years ago that the pathetic old man may have finally (and mercifully) ended his political career. Cheer up peckerwoods, there is always Fred Thompson (the gravelly voiced big dude from Curly Sue and The Hunt For Red October) – who knows, the party’s standards are so low that a bad actor has become their iconic father figure so anything is possible with Hanoi John going down in flames, a ghoulish Gotham drag queen, a serial flip flopper from Massachusetts and an oversexed philandering fascist dwarf as potential successors to Le Enfant Terrible who is going to be one tough fucking act to follow.
From My Cold Dead Hands: The last few days worth of harping and political posturing for gun control is as nauseating as the oligarchy mouthpieces trying to tie the VA Tech slaughter to Bush’s bullshit war on terror. Let’s get this straight, in the ‘great society’ built by Republican fascists and eugenics freaks there has never been a more necessary period in American history for the citizenry to be armed to the fucking teeth. This country is so awash in guns and so poisoned by the media’s lucrative culture of violence that anybody who doesn’t own a gun is at serious risk of being swallowed by the food chain that is the end product of Social Darwinism. Let me reiterate my point from a recent posting- there is a renegade private army for hire out there called Blackwater that is totally fucking unaccountable and does not operate under any sort of what would pass for acceptable law – translation: a ruthless and unconstitutional band of Nazis. Just what in the fuck do you think that this mercenary force, a highly trained army of killers with the best weaponry that money can buy and that was founded by extremist right-wing dominionists and rogue former intelligence operatives is going to do when it rolls into YOUR town? Don’t worry about calling a cop because they won’t be there to save you, get the point? Go forth and buy guns and ammo, fuck any past reservations that you may have had, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars – this is not your founding father’s USA. When Blackwater comes a calling it needs to receive a Fallujah style welcome – Gestapo goon squads for hire are just plain un-American and smashing fascism is as patriotic as it gets!
Bring Me The Head of Alberto Gonzalez: And finally, I love the desperate defenses of that sleazy little prick Alberto Gonzales by right-wing mockingbird hacks who play up the racist angle that the damned racist Democrats are trying to take down a successful Hispanic man who is the victim of a lynch mob mentality for doing nothing wrong in his whoring out the functions of the Justice Department to Karl Rove, Corporatists and the knuckle dragging extremist base whose idea of good schoolin’ is a phony degree from Regent University. The reverse flea flicker playing of the race card by same bunch that fans the fires of bigotry by engaging in a crowd pleasing ‘war on wetbacks’ while fielding a presidential candidate named Tom Tancredo is as sincere as the media’s bullshit excuse of the airing of Long Duck Dong turned Terminator footage was newsworthy. I used to think that I was among the most cynical persons wandering the face of planet shit, kind of like Caine in Kung Fu but compared to the soulless, amoral and devious motherfuckers running the system I am obviously a rank amateur.
Comes on at five
She can tell you bout the plane crash with a gleam
In her eye
Its interesting when people die-
Give us dirty laundry
-Don Henley – Dirty Laundry
Welcome to Blacksburg, Virginia – the place where flocks of mockingbirds turned buzzards and seeking to feast on fresh carrion swarm. The aftermath of the causes of the worst school shooting in the nation’s history that claimed the lives of thirty three innocent people will be pontificated upon, spun and desecrated with the coming 24/7 saturation coverage on cable television news networks. Some media sources are already dishonestly playing up the massacre as the worst mass murder in United States history which is as intellectually dishonest as it is revisionist, a country build upon the killing fields that were a product of the genocidal doctrine of Manifest Destiny does not have clean hands and there are many a state sanctioned slaughter of innocents in our closet. Gore Vidal is spot on correct in his reference to The United States of Amnesia although I might add willful ignorance and a deep seated callous indifference as well.
There will be much weeping and gnashing of the teeth in the guise of examination into exactly why this happened in the coming news cycles that will gobble up days, weeks and months.
The grand story of the shooter and what exactly drove him to wreak bloody havoc on that horrible April Monday morning, nearly eight years to the week after the murderous spree of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine Hight School has yet to be told. From early reports it was the standard stereotypical loner; a Korean born English student who wrote plays containing “macabre violence” and denounced others as “deceitful charlatans”. As if that has any fucking thing to do with the price of rice in China. Among more notable literary figures with a penchant for the bizarre Stephen King has become a multi-millionaire writing stories containing “macabre violence” and I regularly rail against the abundance of “deceitful charlatans” that pollute this sick and terminally fucked up society and neither of us are mass murderers. Movie scripts like Saw and Hostel spawn smash megaplex hits by offering graphic depictions of sadism and violence and they gross millions so the writings of Cho Seung-Hui are yet another canard, a red herring used to justify the violent acts that are inevitable in a society that regularly worships at the temple of bloodshed and cruelty. You can always count on the public relations flacks masquerading as journalists for more wildly over-hyped horseshit and manufactured storylines to mesmerize the pathetic and bewildered herds of sheeple that have overrun television nation.
Careers are made off of stories like this and the fact that an ambitious ‘journalist’ could grab a ride on the riverboat, a seat on the gravy train and experience an O.J. Simpson moment is forefront in many minds of the death sucking vultures of the mainstream media whores. They are chasing ambulances as though they were white broncos. They descended on the ruins of the Gulf Coast not that long ago scavenging like feral rats in dumpsters amidst the debris of a ruined city rife with the stench of rotting food and bloating corpses, of misery and of the raw musk of ambition that fuels careers in the disgraceful fucking excuse for a media that this country has been stricken with. They rooted through the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina and then they were gone and while great swaths of New Orleans still lie ruined they moved on to the next big thing – John Mark Karr, Bennifer, Suri Cruise, Baby Brangelina, Mel Gibson, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith or the child murdering pederast of the week. It is always the same – only the names change but mass murders in schools can be career makers. Of course the usual suspects were already picking out their Hokie memorabilia to shamelessly display while the bodies were still being autopsied – Paula Zahn, Geraldo and a pack of other lesser known predators seeking to pick whatever meat remains on the bones of dignity in America’s latest and greatest grand ratings spectacle. Fuck them all, they are vermin who only serve to perpetuate the culture of tabloidism, violence, death and celebrity.
“Seeing him descend bright-eyed and sweaty on wretched New Orleans, as he did in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, was like watching a vulture on crystal meth. The word that came to mind was not ‘reporting,’ but ‘feeding.”
-Critic Tim Rutten on Geraldo Rivera
This latest horror of a society gone to seed is good death- mass murder, dread, fear, ratings – not bad death, the bummer of the war dead and the hundreds of thousands of non-Christian, brown skinned victims of a gross savagery undertaken in the name of freedom, freedom to watch cable television and the good death. The type that can be exploited, that pleases the sponsors and the political apparatchik seeking to point the fingers at monsters rather than themselves. I am dead certain that Karl Rove was so ecstatic to see the slaughter at Virginia Tech knock war, deleted emails, Gonzo and the rot of empire out of the headlines that he made some popcorn and pulled up a seat in front of his plasma flatscreen to enjoy the show. Millions of American ghouls joined them in front of their own glowing living room false idols. This is big time shit, never mind that far worse slaughters happen in Iraq every fucking day – 55 more of those whose lives are like mere insects or rodents in terms of their relative value compared to ordinary Americans were added to the tab of the war pigs yesterday.
But I digress…Never mind the actual victims they will still be dead come the next news cycle and there are grieving families to interview and shaken survivors to prod for the little bloody exclusive details of their moments when certain death passed them over and took their classmate, their lovers, their friends.
There are also precious political points to be scored.
There will be those who use this to further implement the creeping police state, surveillance companies will base their entire marketing campaigns on this tragedy. Right wing lackeys seeking to pander to their base will decry that every person in America is not required by law to wear a sidearm and the pathetic timorous candy asses of the Democrat wing of the war party will rail and demagogue against firearms in their run up to Hillary’s coronation in 2008. Their efforts to spin the killing spree in Blacksburg for the sake of scoring cheap political points is as shameless exploitation of the dead and the dishonoring of the bereaved loved ones as is George W. Bush’s latest photo-op at the Virginia Tech campus for today’s memorial where instead of the typical soldiers and snowflake babies he used the mourning students and families as stage props.
The neoliberal fake left (fittingly referred to as such after their treacherous sellout of labor by the parasitical DLC whose taste for corporate cash, war, globalization and special interest groups is an abysmal disgrace) is no better, quick on the draw to blame it all on the NRA and the availability of guns seeking to take a stand against the wrong highly influential lobby that is killing America. Knee jerk, politically expedient attacks on restricting gun ownership by party hacks at the same time that an unaccountable private army named Blackwater grows stronger by the day is a grave and dangerous threat to liberty. Thousands of trained killers for hire who are unchecked by any law and given carte blanche by the scofflaws of the militant Republican junta are a clear and present danger within our borders and a menace as unseen before in our history. If there was ever a time to strongly support a well-armed militia this is it.
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people and a society that exalts violence whether it be the latest Hollywood blockbuster, Jack Bauer breaking fingers, the blasphemous apocalyptic filth that permeates mega-church congregations or the latest in high tech, mega pixel slaughterhouses offered up by the video game industry should not be surprised when the carrion birds come home to roost.
Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil.
In a surreal display at the annual gathering of pigs formally known as the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner GOP Reichmaster Karl Rove put on a show for the ages. Rove turned faux rapper in a performance that was very obviously yet another of the barely concealed Republican attacks on blacks, this time by mocking the hip-hop culture. More disturbing was the reaction of the White House sock puppets and beltway elite media mockingbirds who reveled in the strange fertility dance that signified the bastard consummation of the Republican criminal empire and the guardians of liberty that is supposed to be a free press. The media mongrels were delighted and enjoyed the show nearly as much as they did Le Enfant Terrible’s and ghoulish and tasteless lost WMD routine while our troops were taking casualties in a foreign land three years ago. Note that the same gathering of pompous administration lackeys were hardly amused at Stephen Colbert’s brutal dressing down of the ‘war president’ where titters of nervous laughter was overwhelmed by the sound of forks scraping on fine china and the sound of puckering assholes.
In the aftermath of the porcine Rove’s bizarre rapper routine it’s fitting to take a look at the continuing use of racism as a political tool. It is the most kick ass club in the bag for the Republican party and is invoked often, both overtly and subtly for the sole purpose of fueling the hateful demagoguery that continues to tear down and pollute what passes for discourse in this sick joke that is the new American century.
While it can be said that those who are not Caucasians generally face an overall more inclusive society than in the days preceding the civil rights movement there is still a very dark and ugly undercurrent of racism that thrives in this country today. This undercurrent of animosity runs especially deep with conservatives and it is the preferred currency of trade amongst those seeking to climb the ladder in the Republican party hierarchy.
The GOP has successfully played the race card in order to capitalize on resentment over desegregation since the sixties. That was the decade upon which nearly ALL of the cornerstones of the Republican temple of hatred were laid. Along with civil rights, women’s rights, liberalism, hippies, rock music, sexual freedom and the need to smack down any who would dare to question corrupt and unprincipled authority if not the establishment itself all sprung from the Sixties. But that is a topic for another time – it is the insidious use of racism that we are going to look at here.
The Republicans have institutionalized racism since the days of Richard Nixon’s infamous Southern Strategy. It was a plan that sought to divide and conquer by fomenting racial enmity. It was immensely successful in charting the path to GOP power by capitalizing on the festering resentment in the deep south over their being forced to accept their ‘devils’ as equals instead of relegating them to subhuman status. The epitome of the charlatan as politician that was Ronald Reagan tapped into this when in 1980 he shamelessly pandered to the peckerwoods in Philadelphia, MS the site of the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers. The film Mississippi Burning was based on that tragic incident where animosity and raw hate combined in brutal murder that opened the eyes of a nation in torment to the cruelty and repression within. The Gipper used this carefully chosen forum to continue the sly peddling of the demagogy of race baiting that would form the cement for the next quarter century of disastrous conservative rule:
“I believe in states’ rights. I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment”
Preached doddering Dutch to the delight of hordes of sweaty, knuckle draggers and ignorant peckerwoods assembled at the Neshoba County Fair.
The importance of Reagan’s speech was the inclusion of the code word ‘states rights’ being newspeak that fanned the flames of racism. The late Lee Atwater admitted as much in a 1981 interview with historian Alexander P. Lamis that was published in his book Southern Politics In The 1990’s
You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ – that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me – because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.’
Atwater incidentally was the man who as a campaign strategist for Poppy Bush was behind the lowball sleaze of the Willie Horton commercials that helped to bring down Michael Dukakis in the 1988 election. One of Atwater’s protégés was an ambitious and amoral man of some renown in recent history, a man named Karl Rove who continued Atwater’s legacy by using an orchestrated clandestine slime campaign based on innuendo that Senator John McCain had fathered a black child to lay waste to his momentum in the 2000 GOP primaries and catapult George W. Bush into a lead that he would never relinquish. Under the destructive influence of Bush’s Brain American politics have disintegrated into an orgy of slander, racism, religious discrimination, swift boating, slander, fear, hatred and animosity of a level that has now begun to feed upon itself, growing exponentially with each diatribe by a hired propagandist.
On this past Martin Luther King Day, the psychotic extremist rabble rouser Michael Weiner, more commonly known as Michael Savage, used his nationally syndicated radio show to launch into a standard racist diatribe:
But basically, if you’re talking about a day like today, Martin Luther King Junior Day, and you’re gonna understand what civil rights has become, the con it’s become in this country. It’s a whole industry; it’s a racket. It’s a racket that is used to exploit primarily heterosexual, Christian, white males’ birthright and steal from them what is their birthright and give it to people who didn’t qualify for it.
Savage and his fellow fascist talkers routinely offer up chunks of bloody red meat to fill the bellies of the beasts. Their vitriol is like music to the ears of the reactionary right that has made race baiting into an art form. That hatred when combined with their media dominance and finely tuned echo chamber stokes the fires of bitterness at a society run badly off course that has cast aside so many for profit. Recent events and economic trends have made it possible to make racism itself more inclusive so as to make any non-WASP a potential target.
In the aforementioned film, Mississippi Burning Agent Rupert Anderson played by Gene Hackman, a good ole boy who had renounced the racism of his upbringing mused aloud:
Where does it come from, all this hatred? You know, when I was a little boy… there was an old Negro farmer liveddown the road from us, name of Monroe. And he was… Well, I guess he was just a little luckier than my daddy was. He bought himself a mule. That was a big deal around that town. My daddy hated that mule. His friends kidded him that they saw Monroe ploughin’ with his new mule… and Monroe was gonna rent another field now that he had a mule. One morning that mule just showed up dead. They poisoned the water.
After that there was never any mention about that mule around my daddy. One time we were drivin’ past Monroe’s place and we saw it was empty. He’d just packed up and left, I guess. Gone up North or somethin’. I looked over at my daddy’s face….and I knew he’d done it. And he saw that I knew. He was ashamed. I guess he was ashamed. He looked at me and he said…”If you ain’t better than a nigger, son, who are you better than?”
But after all, this is the big melting pot of America and the racist hatred has immense crossover appeal due to recent events as well as the immense structural damage to the prospects of working American families due to the class warfare that began under the sainted Reagan. The economic resentment over the gutting of the economy by outsourcing, offshoring and importing cheap labor to as the talking point goes ‘do the jobs that Americans won’t do’ has created a cottage industry for trashing Mexicans and illegal immigrants. We have unaccountable yahoo paramilitary forces patrolling our borders, violent anti-immigrant video games, nutball celebrities like Ted Nugent appearing at Republican inaugural events decked out in the Confederate flag and spewing epithets and inflammatory language, and an over the top hard core flaming racist freak like Colorado’s Tom Tancredo who is the latest Republican to throw his hat in the ring for 2008. Maybe he can give George Felix Allen a jingle to see if he is interested in joining the ticket since he’s looking for a new gig now.
The right-wing demagogues have made hay with breeding distrust and fear to the extent that every Arab or Muslim living in this country must fear for their lives. They are on the hit list by both a renegade government as well as the pitchfork bearing mobs who are incited by the rants of pigs like Glenn Beck, Weiner, Malkin and every other hater with a soap box and a sly wink from the right-wingers who own the major media. Look at the idiot Republican Virgil Goode who recently savaged newly elected Democrat Keith Ellison who was a Muslim for asking to be ‘sworn in’ in the traditional photo op on a Koran rather than a bible. Never mind that the Koran in question actually once belonged to Thomas Jefferson .
Democracy and any history other than the revisionist brand matters nothing to these lunatic fifth columnists who despise all that American stands for. There is the slanderous treatment of Barrack Obama and the manipulation of his name to embed the in the public subconscious a link with Osama Bin Laden that even somehow made it onto CNN. With a media like this being an active accomplice to the racist machinations of the ruling Republicans is it any wonder when some red state yahoo idiot threatens to hold pig races next a mosque for the sole purpose of offending the Muslim worshippers?
Racism is a cancer and it ravages societies, destroying them from within. Yet at the same time racism is gospel preached to an endless supply of converts by demagogues with political agendas. The Republican perpetual hate machine is fueled by racism, that and the fear and without them it could not exist. The demagogues preach to the masses from their electronic pulpits. They seek to pander to those seeking an answer for all that has gone wrong in their pathetic and failed lives. Lives in most cases that have been made miserable by the power brokers behind the demagogues who they have come to worship.
The hatred, the fear, the racism it is their benediction. It is in the hate that they seek shelter, the ability to salvage something resembling self worth from the cruel world. Ultimately in choosing to affix their sins to scapegoats they find a sort of salvation, but ironically it comes at the cost of ultimate damnation as they are consumed by their anger and their victims made to suffer for the expedience of those who seek to make them outcasts. If you ain’t no better than a (insert epithet here) then who are you better than?
Lee Atwater died of an inoperable brain tumor in 1991, cut down in his prime. He did however experience something of an epiphany that brought about reflection and change. In an article published shortly before his death in Life Magazine he wrote:
My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The ’80s were about acquiring — acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn’t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn’t I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don’t know who will lead us through the ’90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul.
While I am highly skeptical of deathbed conversions it may be that facing the end of one’s mortal existence does provide an unprecedented opportunity for introspection. A self-analysis stripped bare of the deceits and hypocrisies of a daily existence for even a lifelong parasite like Atwater. Perhaps staring down the barrel at impending death is what it takes for a renunciation of the sins of a life spent sowing the seeds of hatred. Atwater is correct when he refers to it as a tumor of the soul. That it is – and as torn and frayed as this country is now that it has metastasized it may be terminal, especially if M.C. Rove has anything to do with it.