NOT A FULL DECK: THE SHARK HAS DONE BEEN JUMPED BY HOUSE OF CARDS — by thom prentice

house of cards season 3 big

The 1990 UK version is far superior.

By thom prentice

Where in the world has the Lyndon Johnson-class PSYCHOPATH gone that KEVIN SPACEY was SUPPOSED to be playing on House of Cards in season three?

That PSYCHOPATH has apparently LEFT THE BUILDING, replaced by a Kevin Spacey doing an imitation of his best bud, the lovable rogue, garden variety psychopath, Bill Clinton.

Spacey’s Francis Underwood was clearly the World Class Indoor Olympic Record holding-psychopath of the television age in Season One if a bit less so in Season Two, perhaps mostly because luck seemed to always be on the side of the psychopath-in-chief to be. Now “President Underwood” has fallen way back in the pack of television psychopaths, somewhat behind Matthew Broderick’s portrayal of Ferris Buehler, and Sean Hayes’ portrayal Jack McFarland in Will and Grace and Honey Boo Boo.

Sad it is that the OTHER world class psychopath on the show, Claire Underwood – the thinly veiled Hillary Rodham — played with blood curdling, steely venom in seasons one and two by Robin Wright, of a sudden gets all stove up with emotion and conscience over gay rights. So stove up she goes and blows up the US/Soviet, I mean RUSSIAN summit and SUDDENLY, voila: Kevin and Robin are just an ORDINARY, ANGRY, BICKERING, STONY-FACED AMERICAN COUPLE in a LOVELESS SUBURBAN MARRIAGE sleeping in separate rooms, taking separate cars and turning the atmosphere of Air Force One into a sordid, sinister stink.

Although ALL the professional ‘mos of GayWorld undoubtedly love it….Denial of gay rights in the Soviet U…, I mean Russian Federation – is, of course, The International Human Rights Issue Of Our Time despite dead bodies in Gaza and dead wedding parties all over the Islamistan. Anyway, denial of gay rights in Russia splashes all over the show by episode seven, gay rights being, along with birth control, abortion, planned parenthood, and all things sexual and libertine, are clearly the “Vichy Liberal” FIG LEAF FAUX PROGRESSIVE ISSUES OF CHOICE since Gay Marriage and birth control will clearly FORCE a restructuring of the economic system that has inflicted such misery on humans all over the Earth and an economics so restructured would be of benefit to all human life everywhere, whether sexually active and liberated, married or not.

Too bad the denial of gay rights in, say, Uganda or Nigeria or Malaysia or the Vatican wasn’t the focus. But demonizing the Soviet, I mean RUSSIANs is a corollary Hollywood objective here, right in line with the Obama/Hillary/Kerry foot-in-mop-bucket foreign policy of war everywhere against everyone anywhere. House of Cards tries to join the fun of demonizing Vladimir Putin to promote War in Ukraineistan.

I would hate to say that the actor who plays the English-fluent Soviet, I mean RUSSIAN president in House of Cards speaks in a cringe-inducing fake Russian accent only to find out later that the actor really possessed an authentic Russian accent, but I will go ahead and say that the actor who plays the English-fluent Soviet, I mean RUSSIAN president in House of Cards spoke in a cringe-inducing fake Russian accent. But then New Jersey-born Spacey’s fake South Carolina accent, which was merely off-putting in seasons one and two is now perhaps the most malevolent aspect of Spacey’s current President Francis “Bill” Underwood.

Also: Ten thumbs down to the cardboard cut-out characters of the Arab man paralyzed by a drone bomb and the American gay rights leader holed up in a Soviet, I mean RUSSIAN prison. N.O.T. B.E.L.I.E.V.A.B.L.E.

The slow disappearance in season two of Spacey’s direct-to-audience communiques was troubling; there are few such in season three. Maybe it is because season three is SO LAME, that there is NO BACKSTORY OR MAL PSYCHOLOGY TO EXPLAIN, no PSYCHOPATHY which requires direct-to-audience asides?

Series writer Beau Williman has clearly lost his muse. Williman (and Spacey) could have at least LISTENED to SOME of the Nixon tapes to get an idea of how things really go down in the White House of a sociopathic Commander-In-Chief. Even better he could have at least READ parts of Robert’s Caro’s encyclopedic, magisterial series on the presidential psychopath of all psychopaths, Lyndon Johnson — who held the world record until losing his crown to Dick Cheney and to the estimable Justin Bieber.

What were merely discordant errors of detail in seasons one and two turned from molehills into mountains in season three. The East Room of the White House is portrayed as little more than a well-coiffured hallway when the reality is, for anyone who has toured the White House let alone dined there, that the East Room big enough to hunt deer. Give it a break I did, because enough extras probably couldn’t be called up and paid to populate an East Room State Dinner for the Soviet…, I mean RUSSIAN president anyway.

The House of Cards hallway “East Room” even pales even in contrast to the far smaller White House State Dining Room, where there are, ahem, STATE DINNERS. And about the office of the Soviet…, I mean really, really fluent English-speaking RUSSIAN Federation president? Kinda small; certainly NOT spacious and opulent enough to house a Putin or Medvedev or Yeltsin or Gorbachev or Stalin. There ARE pictures of it online after all.

Now to the big details: the whole peacekeepers-in-the-Jordan-River-Valley plotline just REEKS of a shallowness, hollowness and superficiality of understanding of the Whole Israel / Palestine Thing on the part of the writers. Is it sheer ignorance…or total derangement? Does Mr. Williman even watch Empire network news, read a newspaper? One doesn’t think so. Even watching brian williams or bully bill o’reilly might have helped.

And people, attention please: The Congressional Democratic Leadership does NOT, repeat, does NOT go to the OVAL OFFICE and tell the PRESIDENT of their OWN PARTY that they don’t want him to run “for re-election” in 2016, Spacey being a president but with elections twice-removed like Gerald Ford. The Democratic Congressional leadership doesn’t have that kind of power, that kind of unity, that kind of cheap thrill arrogance, that kind of suck. Wouldn’t happen. Not in a million dog-years.

Now to the character Remy Danton, lobbyist and now Underwood’s Chief of Staff, played with Absolute Satanic intensity during seasons one and two by Mahershala Ali — whose character simply just reeked of Pure Malevolent Evil. In season three, Remy has apparently lost all of his Pure Malevolent Evil. Showing his White House business card while securing a gamer author’s autograph is about the most evil thing Remy has done so far.

The only authentic malevolent evil psychopath of season three besides the First Lady/UN Ambassador is Doug Stamper, played by Michael Kelly. Stamper is the “muscle”, the “fixer” for Underwood but now sidelined after the young, female “muscle” he was supposed to have “fixed” and sidelined turned out to be able “muscle” and sideline Stamper. With a brick. Or did it? Now he is supposedly coaching Underwood’s Democratic challenger, a really thinly disguised, and did I say “really thinly disguised” Hillary Rodham. Or is he? This is about the only sub plot line “suspense” worthy of the term in season three.

But, and let us please be clear here: Stamper is NOT “working his Alcoholics Anonymous program”; NOT “following a spiritual path”; NOT “in possession of an AA spiritual life”, and NOT just because he takes periodic squirts of whiskey via reusable plastic syringe to kill the pain of his injuries after piously declining pain medication. Puh-LEAZE!

The stoic, intense, conscience-free Stamper, portrays the OPPOSITE of a person in alcoholic recovery via AA. One might call him a “dry drunk” the way one might similarly call George W. Bush a “dry drunk”. Regrettably, the damage done to AA by this character alone will probably keep untold numbers from seeking relief from the burden of alcohol and alcoholism — brought to you courtesy of way-profitable Big Alcohol — and cause further misunderstandings among families of raging alcoholics. Being in recovery ought to be accompanied by a change in behavior, recognizing character defects and making amends. That is not happening with Stamper. It would be better is Stamper was portrayed consuming as much whiskey as Spacey’s President Underwood does.

That first season of House of Cards seemed credible to anyone who has some passing knowledge of psychopathic behavior (Wikipaedia gives it to you quick-and-dirty) and to the psychopathic machinations in DC and in any backwater state. The deceleration in the second season was bothersome as was the improbability of it all. Come on. From a minor congressional post to President all in TWO seasons? The House “Whip” is an especially minor post when contrasted with the “Whip” in the more rigid British House of Commons where, unlike in Congress, party loyalty is brutally and ruthlessly enforced.

And why would a “Blue Dog” South Carolina Democrat advocating bankrupt neoliberal policy positions like getting rid of Social Security and Medicare and who is FOR standardized testing in schools even stand a chance of getting into the Democratic congressional leadership in the first place? Come on. Ohhh. I forgot about Clinton and Obama. Happily, Spacey’s President Francis “Bill” Underwood fits right in.

(Incidentally, House of Cards/Netflix vacuumed up tens of millions of dollars in film subsidies from the decent, hardworking and long-suffering taxpayers of Maryland in a dashing display of the really sinister Hollywood version of venal, neoliberal capitalist hypocrisy. Coming soon to a theater near you.)

In truth, I couldn’t WAIT for season three. But wine has turned into water. And not even midway through season three. I turned it off and may drop Netflix altogether.

One is better off watching the original UK version of House of Cards from 1990. There Francis Urquhart (ur-kwart) played by the classical Scottish actor Ian Richardson CBE, projects a sinister so sinister that it will make the freckles on the back of your neck crawl in the direction AWAY from Richardson’s Urquhart, and then leap off your neck onto the wall and crawl into the attic and then crawl into the sky and then crawl all over the Moon. Spacey’s character was like that in season one. But be forewarned about the British inspiration for this series, Robin Wright plays a far more sinister wife/psychopath/confidante as Claire Underwood than does Richardson/Urquhart’s wife in the UK series (at least until you get toward about maybe the middle or so.)

So the Shark Has Done Been Jumped for season three of House of Cards. Which probably means it will be extremely popular. More beer and circuses for the dumbed-down masses in an era of Global Heating and Climate Disruption and the imminent collapse of global capitalism and US/Anglo/Euro white empire

House of Cards: Not a full deck. And one more sign of the looming apocalypse.

[And Yes, I liked and admired West Wing.]

thom-pic

Wendell Berry, Burkean / The farmer-novelist on politics, faith, land, and economy – The American Conservative [Yes, from The American Conservative.]

wendell berry
Festival of Faiths / Flickr

Some conservatives [and liberals] love Wendell Berry; others are vehemently opposed to his thought and writings. A native Kentuckian, Berry is a farmer and philosopher, essayist and poet, environmental activist and localist. He has written over 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, on topics ranging from sustainable farming to biographical novels to cultural commentary. Over the years, Berry has been the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, the National Humanities Medal, and the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award—given for works that “advance peace through literature.”

Berry doesn’t easily fit political boxes: though many of his views on community and culture are traditional, his views on the environment and pacifism are more often associated with the politics and policies of the left. He often angers people on both left and right with his stances. Yet despite this, there is a marked consistency to Berry’s thought. He is concerned, first and foremost, with representing and defending his home: Port Royal, Kentucky.

Indeed, Berry’s fictional works all center on the town of Port Royal—known as Port William in the books—chronicling its heritage through the lives of its townspeople. One of his most beloved novels, Jayber Crow, tells the story of the town’s fictional barber. After an early life of rootlessness, Jayber anchors himself in Port William, living a quiet life of service within its community. The novel demonstrates, in a very straightforward way, the importance of local rootedness and stewardship.

The entirety of Berry’s work, despite its breadth, is focused on the relationship men and women have to the earth and to their townships—to the communities that are integral to human flourishing. TAC senior editor Rod Dreher once wrote that Berry’s “unshakable devotion to the land, to localism, and to the dignity of traditional life makes him both a great American and, to the disgrace of our age, a prophet without honor in his native land.” Yet Berry’s fame is growing as more people come to appreciate the role he has played in our national conversation—not as a prophet of conservatism or of liberalism, but as a vital thinker for our culture and country as a whole.

Gracy Olmstead: Jayber Crow is deeply rooted in his community. He’s opposed to war and much of the so-called “progress” that goes on around him. Would you call Jayber Crow a conservative?

Wendell Berry: It never occurred to me to think of Jayber as a “conservative.” I don’t think that would have helped, though he is instinctively and in principle a conserver. His membership is not in a party or a public movement, but in Port William. He is a man of unsteady faith in love with a place, a perishing little town, a community, a woman—with all that is redemptive and good—struggling to be worthy. I didn’t (and don’t) think of him as a “liberal” either.

GO: What are your biggest objections to conservatism?

WB: Often, as with Jayber, a political labeling never occurs to me. But often too I am conscious of a need to avoid all the names of political sides.

“Liberal” now names a lot of people who thought the election of President Obama put an end to American racism, which was a kind of good-heartedness but also a kind of silliness. “Conservative” names at least a significant number of people who know that Obama’s election is the best thing that has happened to American racism since the “Southern strategy,” for it set up a man partly of African descent whom they could entirely hate and totally oppose while being politically correct.

But both of those political sides evidently accept war as a part of human normality. Both evidently suppose that the only effective limit of human conduct is technological capability: whatever is possible must be done. And both evidently assume that nature, the land communities, and the economies of land use can be safely exploited or ignored.

And so I prefer to get along without political labels. They don’t help thought, or my version of thought. Since I’m self-employed and not running for office, I’m free to notice that those political names don’t mean much of anything, and so am free to do without them. I’m free, in short, to be an amateur. Jayber to me is Jayber unclassified.

The same for Edmund Burke, whose writings and speeches I have read eagerly and at considerable length. As an amateur, I don’t need to be waylaid by wondering how he, a Whig, comes now to be counted a conservative, the sire of “Burkean conservatism,” not the least bit liberal. I can object to some things he said, but that is not remarkable, and it doesn’t matter much.

I don’t read him to be confirmed in a party allegiance. I read him for his steadfast affirmation of qualities I see as, in a high sense, human. I read him for his decency, the luster of his intelligence and character, his patience and endurance in thinking, his willingness to take a principled stand, the happiness of his prose.

He was a peacemaker, a lover of “order and beauty,” of “the amiable and conciliatory virtues of lenity, moderation, and tenderness.” As a man in politics should do, he preferred reason to the passions. He thought that “the separation of fame and virtue is an harsh divorce.” He said, “I do not like to see anything destroyed…” He said that a person “has a right to a fair portion of all which society, with all its combinations of skill and force, can do in his favor.” He said, “The poorest being that crawls on earth, contending to save itself from injustice and oppression, is an object respectable in the eyes of God and man.”
A useful exercise for an American is to ask which of our holders of office has ever spoken publicly in favor of beauty or the “virtue” of tenderness.

GO: You write a lot about the importance of conservation—which, really, conservatism is supposed to be about. How have conservatives lost an understanding of proper conservation?

WB: For those who enjoy absurdities—as I do, up to a point—“conservatives” opposed to conservation are vibrantly absurd and worth at least a grin. But such conservatives have achieved this amusing absurdity by a radical and dangerous narrowing of purpose. They apparently wish to conserve only the power and wealth of the most powerful and the most wealthy.

The conservation of wilderness and “the wild” seems now to be recognized as a project belonging exclusively to “liberals.” But that also is a dangerous narrowing of purpose. It is true that “liberal” conservationists also fairly dependably oppose the most excessive and sensational abuses of “the environment,” such as oil or slurry spills (in some places), surface mining (off and on, never enough), extreme pollution of air and water (mainly as it affects cities), and so on.

But in fact most politicians, “conservative” and “liberal,” are the pets or juvenile dependents of the industrial corporations. In Kentucky, for example, the Party of Coal has swallowed, digested, and shat nearly all politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike. Above all, it is still virtually impossible to interest any of the powers of politics in the economic landscapes of farming and forestry. In those landscapes the gravest and most extensive damages are being done: by soil erosion, by toxic pollution of soil and water, by impairment of the diversity and integrity of ecosystems, by drastic interruptions of the fertility cycle, by the devastation of rural communities and of our never adequately developed cultures of husbandry.

There are reasons to hope for and even to foresee the coming of more honesty and better purposes—the need for a sustainable economy, the increasingly obvious failures of industrialism and corporate rule—but no extensive improvements can come easily or soon.

TO CONTINUE< PLEASE CLICK ON THE TEXT.

Chris Hedges: ‘Pornography Is What the End of the World Looks Like’ — TruthDig

[Chris Hedges quotes Robert Jensen, journalism professor at UT-Austin, for the title of this essay. Jensen wrote the sentence “Pornography is what the end of the world looks like” in his book “Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity”. You can read the book HERE AT THIS LINK / GETTING OFF.]

Jensen2
Robert Jensen


Scene from Fifty Shades of Grey.

BOSTON—“Fifty Shades of Grey,” the book and the movie, is a celebration of the sadism that dominates nearly every aspect of American culture and lies at the core of pornography and global capitalism.

It glorifies our dehumanization of women.

It champions a world devoid of compassion, empathy and love.

It eroticizes hypermasculine power that carries out the abuse, degradation, humiliation and torture of women whose personalities have been removed, whose only desire is to debase themselves in the service of male lust.

The film, like [the war pornography and hero pornography film] “American Sniper,” unquestioningly accepts a predatory world where the weak and the vulnerable are objects to exploit while the powerful are narcissistic and violent demigods. It blesses this capitalist hell as natural and good.

“Pornography,” Robert Jensen writes, “is what the end of the world looks like.”

We are blinded by self-destructive fantasy. An array of amusements and spectacles, including

TV “reality” shows,

huge sporting events,

social media,

porn (which earns at least twice what Hollywood movies generate),

alluring luxury products,

drugs,

alcohol and

magic Jesus,

offers enticing exit doors from reality.

We yearn to be rich, powerful and celebrities.

And those we must trample to build our pathetic little empires are seen as deserving their fate. That nearly all of us will never attain these ambitions is emblematic of our collective self-delusion and the effectiveness of a culture awash in manipulation and lies.

 

Porn seeks to eroticize this sadism. In porn women are paid to repeat the mantra “I am a cunt. I am a bitch. I am a whore. I am a slut. Fuck me hard with your big cock.” They plead to be physically abused.

Porn caters to degrading racist stereotypes. Black men are sexually potent beasts stalking white women. Black women have a raw, primitive lust. Latin women are sultry and hotblooded. Asian women are meek, sexually submissive geishas.

In porn, human imperfections do not exist. The oversized silicone breasts, the pouting, gel-inflated lips, the bodies sculpted by plastic surgeons, the drug-induced erections that never subside and the shaved pubic regions—which cater to porn’s pedophilia—turn performers into pieces of plastic.

Smell, sweat, breath, heartbeats and touch are erased along with tenderness.

Women in porn are packaged commodities. They are pleasure dolls and sexual puppets. They are stripped of true emotions.

Porn is not about sex, if one defines sex as a mutual act between two partners, but about masturbation, a solitary auto-arousal devoid of intimacy and love.

The cult of the self—that is the essence of porn—lies at the core of corporate culture. Porn, like global capitalism, is where human beings are sent to die.

 

There are few people on the left who grasp the immense danger of allowing pornography to replace intimacy, sex and love. Much of the left believes that pornography is about free speech, as if it is unacceptable to financially exploit and physically abuse a woman in a sweatshop in China but acceptable to do so on the set of a porn film, as if torture is wrong in Abu Ghraib, where prisoners were sexually humiliated and abused as if they were on a porn set, but permissible on commercial porn sites.

A new wave of feminists, who have betrayed the iconic work of radicals such as Andrea Dworkin, defends porn as a form of sexual liberation and self-empowerment. These “feminists,” grounded in Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, are stunted products of neoliberalism and postmodernism

[I think this is a serious misreading of Foucault: “Discipline and Punish, Madness and Civilization, The Order of Things, The Birth of the Clinic, Mental Illness and Psychology, The Archaeology of Knowledge, The Power of Truth, and Mental Illness and Psychology” although I will grant it for Foucault’s “The History of Sexuality” and while it may be a correct reading of postmodern-ISM, it is as well as a misreading of the postmodern condition.]

BUT BACK TO CHRIS HEDGES:

Feminism, for them, is no longer about the liberation of women who are oppressed; it is defined by a handful of women who are successful, powerful and wealthy—or, as in the case of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” able to snag a rich and powerful man.

A woman wrote the “Fifty Shades” book, as well as the screenplay. A woman directed the film. A woman studio head bought the movie. [!!!!]

This collusion by women is part of the internalization of oppression and sexual violence that have their roots in porn. Dworkin understood. She wrote that

“the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too.”

I met Gail Dines, one of the most important radicals in the country, in a small cafe in Boston on Tuesday. She is the author of “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality” and a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College. Dines, along with a handful of others including Jensen, fearlessly decry a culture that is as depraved as Caligula’s Rome.

“The porn industry has hijacked the sexuality of an entire culture and is laying waste to a whole generation of boys,” she warned. “And when you lay waste to a generation of boys, you lay waste to a generation of girls.”

“When you fight porn you fight global capitalism,” she said. “The venture capitalists, the banks, the credit card companies are all in this feeding chain. This is why you never see anti-porn stories. The media is implicated. It is financially in bed with these companies. Porn is part of this. Porn tells us we have nothing left as human beings—boundaries, integrity, desire, creativity and authenticity. Women are reduced to three orifices and two hands. Porn is woven into the corporate destruction of intimacy and connectedness, and this includes connectedness to the earth. If we were a society where we were whole, connected human beings in real communities, then we would not be able to look at porn. We would not be able to watch another human being tortured.”

“If you are going to give a tiny percent of the world the vast majority of the goodies, you better make sure you have a good ideological system in place that legitimizes why everyone else is suffering economically,” she said. “This is what porn does. Porn tells you that material inequality between women and men is not the result of an economic system. It is biologically based. And women, being whores and bitches and only good for sex, don’t deserve full equality.

Porn is the ideological mouthpiece that legitimizes our material system of inequality. Porn is to patriarchy what the media is to capitalism.”

To keep the legions of easily bored male viewers aroused, porn makers produce videos that are increasingly violent and debasing. Extreme Associates, which specializes in graphic rape scenes, along with JM Productions, promotes the very real pain endured by women on its sets. [Abu Ghraib, anybody?]JM Productions pioneered “aggressive throat fucking” or “face fucking” videos such as the “Gag Factor” series, in which women gag and often vomit. It ushered in “swirlies,” in which the male performer dunks the woman’s head into a toilet after sex and then flushes. [Waterboarding, anybody?] The company promises, “Every whore gets the swirlies treatment. Fuck her, then flush her.”

Repeated and violent anal penetration triggers anal prolapse, a condition in which the inner walls of a woman’s rectum collapse and protrude from her anus. This is called “rosebudding.” Some women, penetrated repeatedly by numerous men on porn shoots, often after taking handfuls of painkillers, require anal and vaginal reconstructive surgery. Female performers may suffer from sexually transmitted diseases and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

And with porn mainstreamed—some porn video participants are treated like film celebrities by talk show hosts such as Oprah and Howard Stern—the behavior promoted by porn, including stripping, promiscuity, S&M and exhibitionism, has become chic. Porn also sets the standard for female beauty and female comportment. And this has had terrifying consequences for girls.

“Women are told in our society they have two choices,” Dines said. “They are either fuckable or invisible. To be fuckable means to conform to the porn culture, to look hot, be submissive and do what the man wants. That’s the only way you get visibility. You cannot ask adolescent girls, who are dying for visibility, to choose invisibility.”

None of this, Dines pointed out, was by accident. Porn grew out of the commodity culture, the need by corporate capitalists to sell products.

“In post-Second-World-War America you have the emergence of a middle class with a disposable income,” she said. “The only trouble is that this group was born to parents who had been through a depression and a war. They did not know how to spend. They only knew how to save.

What [the capitalists] needed to jump-start the economy was to get people to spend money on stuff they did not need.

For women they brought in the television soaps. One of the reasons the ranch house was developed was because [families] only had one television. The television was in the living room and women spent a lot of time in the kitchen. You had to devise a house where she could watch television from the kitchen. She was being taught.”

[The same thing happened during WWII with regard to cancer-causing cigarettes. As packs of cigarettes were freely distributed for free to soldiers, heavy, emotionally manipulative Madison Avenue pre-“Mad Men” marketing primarily in WOMENS MAGAZINES encouraged wives and mothers to, almost literally, “SUPPORT YOUR TROOP” by smoking in some sort of ‘harmonic convergence’ with them in harm’s way on faraway shores, that sort of thing. (The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee). Sick, sick, sick, everything in this US global capitalist empire is sick, sick, sick.]

BACK TO CHRIS HEDGES:

“But who was teaching the men how to spend money?” she went on. “It was Playboy [Magazine]. This was the brilliance of Hugh Hefner. He understood that you don’t just

commodify sexuality, you sexualize commodities.

[This is also where Gay Liberation has turned in to GAY INCORPORATED. Everything is about selling sexualized commodities to satisfy the Cult of the Self. It is about consuming, shopping, living a grand lifestyle and substituting sexualized commodities for, well, sex. And love. And not empathizing with anyone, anywhere, about anything.]

The promise that Playboy held out was not the girls or the women, it was that

if you buy at this level, if you consume at the level Playboy tells you to,

then you will get the prize, which is the women.

The step that was crucial to getting the prize was the consumption of commodities. He wrapped porn, which sexualized and commoditized women’s bodies, in an upper-middle-class blanket. He gave it a veneer of respectability.”

The VCR, the DVD and, later, the Internet allowed porn to be pumped into individual homes. The glossy, still images of Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler became tame, even quaint. America, and much of the rest of the world, became

pornified.

The income of the global porn industry is estimated at $96 billion, with the United States market worth about $13 billion. There are, Dines writes, “420 million Internet porn pages, 4.2 million porn Web sites, and 68 million search engine requests for porn daily.” [To see excerpts from Dines’ book, (first click on the text to go to TruthDig, scroll down to this line and then…)click here.]

Along with the rise of pornography there has been

an explosion in sex-related violence,

including domestic abuse, rape and gang rape. A rape is reported every 6.2 minutes in the United States, but the estimated total, taking into account unreported assaults, is perhaps five times higher, as Rebecca Solnit points out in her book “Men Explain Things to Me.”

“So many men murder their partners and former partners that we have well over a thousand homicides of that kind a year—meaning that

every three years the death toll tops 9/11’s casualties, though no one declares a war on this particular kind of terror,” Solnit writes.

Porn, meanwhile, is ever more accessible.

“With a mobile phone you can deliver porn to men who live in highly concentrated neighborhoods in Brazil and India,” Dines said. “If you have one laptop in the family, the man can’t sit in the middle of the room and jerk off to it. With a phone, porn becomes portable. The average kid gets his porn through the mobile phone.”

The old porn industry, which found its profits in movies, is dead. The points of production no longer generate profits. The distributors of porn make the money. And one distributor, MindGeek, a global IT company, dominates porn distribution. Free porn is used on the Internet as bait by MindGeek to lure viewers to pay-per-view porn sites. Most users are adolescent boys. It is, Dines said, “like handing out cigarettes outside of a middle school. You get them addicted.” [Which, incidentally, is what US tobacco companies ACTUALLY DO in Indonesia and China.]

“Around the ages of 12 to 15 you are developing your sexual template,” she said. “You get [the boys] when they are beginning to construct their sexual identity. You get them for life. If you begin by jerking off to cruel, hardcore, violent porn then you are not going to want intimacy and connection. Studies are showing that boys are losing interest in sex with real women. They can’t sustain erections with real women.

In porn there is no making love. It is about making hate. He despises her. He is revolted and disgusted by her. If you bleed out the love you have to fill it with something to make it interesting. They fill it with violence, degradation, cruelty and hate.

And that also gets boring. So you have to keep ratcheting it up. Men get off in porn from women being submissive. Who is more submissive than children?

The inevitable route of all porn is child porn.

And this is why organizations that fight child porn and do not fight adult porn are making a huge mistake.”

The abuse inherent in pornography goes unquestioned in large part by both men and women. Look at the movie ticket sales for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which opened the day before Valentine’s Day and is expected to take in up to $90 million over the four-day weekend (which includes Presidents Day on Monday).

“Pornography has socialized a generation of men into watching sexual torture,” Dines said. “You are not born with that capacity. You have to be trained into it. Just like you train soldiers to kill. If you are going to carry out violence against a group you have to dehumanize them. It is an old method. Jews become kikes. Blacks become niggers. Women become cunts. And no one turns women into cunts better than porn.”

 

hedges front on

AN AFTERWORD:

I have had a mixed response over the years to pornography and the defense of pornography — beginning as a tween/teen growing up in a really sexually repressive — actually really completely repressive but clearly typical American suburb north of Dallas — in the 1950s and 60s when anything about sex was TTS: Totally Top Secret and the occasional snagged Playboy was a godsend for us guys once we had moved beyond comic books.

Since then I have been a bisexual consumer of pornography — more gay than bi — from time to time and have yet to be involved in a single, truly intimate, loving long term sexual relationship, although I have been in several multi-year relationships. I have to wonder how much the prudery of American society and pornography — and self-centered narcissism — contributed to this lack of success not to mention my own proclivity to not learn from mistakes of the past and therefore do the same thing over and over again, but expect a difference result.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the construct of “growing up to be an adult” — from TV, not from my parents necessarily — frankly meant smoking, drinking and fucking — that is to say thinking with my Dick — none of which were good for me. In retrospect, what a country that would construct the aspiration of growing up that way. But everything was that way. Go to college. Get a job you hate. Get a better job you hate. Buy a car. Buy a better car. Get married. Buy a house. Drink, drink, drink, smoke, smoke, smoke, fuck, fuck fuck. Buy a bigger house. Have kids. Bla bla bla. Rinse and repeat.

I have always had a specific problem with rushing to the defense of pornographers like Larry Flynt or Howard Stern or the Corporate Porn Industry (as opposed to literature which includes sexual intimacies as an example) being constructed as the “First Line of Defense of the First Amendment”. It seemed to me objection to censorship by the Left should center on more more significant Free Speech issues.

The US Post Office, for instance, banned anti-slavery material from being sent to southern slave states in ADDITION to banning material of a sexual nature. All sorts of anti-war, conscientious objection to the draft, anti-capitalist literature, periodicals and tracts were being censored, civil rights activists being monitored and harassed by the government as was Dr. Martin Luther King and as were anti-war protesters and just about anyone the fascist J. Edgar Hoover thought was “subversive”. And go on RIGHT NOW; one need only look at the militaristic crackdown on “Occupy Wall Street” or NSA spying or the Obama War on Journalism. These seemed far more important.

Defending the use of obscenity is in a far different category than sexual pornography. After all, the prosecution of Lawrence Ferlinghetti for publishing Alan Ginsberg’s poem “HOWL” was NOT that it was sexual in nature but that it was obscene. Here was authentic Free Speech. Obscenity is another one of those English Prudery and Manners issues but obscenity ought to be in the eye of the beholder and only rise to a state or international concern in matters great rather than small: nuclear incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and conventional incineration of Dresden and Tokyo would seem to so rise. A person who can object to women using birth control and a woman’s freedom of choice regarding abortion but cannot object to Hiroshima or drone bombing or the military crackdown on Occupy Wall Street is not someone who has anything to say to me nor do I have any desire to see such a person exercising arbitrary state coercion and power.

It does seem throughout history that freedoms were both enlarged and expanded through the vehicle of defending literature conveying sexual themes. Lady Chatterly’s Lover as one example. Even one of Gore Vidal’s books was impounded in Australian customs as being obscene, Australia being yet one more member of the Anglosphere founded on English Puritan Christer Prudery. Gay newspapers were routinely censored by authorities.

But I especially have a problem with any so-called “First Amendment” defense of pornography as described by Chris Hedges and Robert Jensen. To say that the universe of wealth-extracting, obscene corporate profits-producing pornography like this is a First Amendment-protected activity is to not only debase the First Amendment, but also to turn the First Amendment into the exclusive domain of “corporate persons” — Wall Street Corporations — rather than real human beings.

The whole contemptible and hypocritical “corporate personhood” construct has turned elections themselves into wealth and corporate profits pay-to-play playpens for the well-connected corporate elite. To further degrade the First Amendment by saying it protects corporate pornography which degrades women and foster more male rage and explosive domination doesn’t make any sense.

Look at what the male rage does: because they can’t get what they want — contradictory social programming that you are entitled to sex with submissive women but you can’t get it — results in abused wives and girlfriends and which also results in projecting rage to exploiting and abusing those lower in the pyramid than they — perhaps AmerIndians who have copper under their reservation lands, or hapless workers laid off to make a corporation “lean and mean” (boost profit to the 1%), or women who are chronically underpaid for their work or the permanently unemployed, underemployed, homeless, and of course, racial and ethnic minorities.

So there seem to be significant other issues in my judgement that should be embraced by the new Syriza American Left.

One problem which makes pornography — and intimacy — so difficult is the unrelenting Christer sexual prudery which landed in Massachusetts with the prudist English Puritans and which lingers like a long-lasting radioactive half-life to this very minute.

It is the unrelentling Christer Puritan sexual prudery has made authentic, honest teaching and learning of sexual love and intimacy impossible at both home and in school in America and the Anglosphere. Indeed, because of ferocious Christer opposition, sex education has struggled to even remain in the school curriculum. Even then it becomes a matter of little more than a study of Christer-tolerated clinical anatomy and rules and various pregnancy and disease-avoiding strategeries (like Just DON’T do it! aka abstinence).

Indeed book bannings in ENGLISH classes still seem to focus on GASP! sexual intimacies in NOVELS in addition to those darker volumes which GASP! criticize out-of-control materialist, consumer, Wall Street capitalism and environmental destruction and even HINT at the fact that another economic system might be possible.

SEX, like DEATH are among the Great Unmentionables in Puritan-underwritten America which also include religion and politics as topics ***not discussed** in polite company.

American prudery came with the prudish Puritans (perhaps you read “The Scarlet Letter” which is STILL subject to censorship attempts!). The prudery also arrived with the Jamestown settlers along with racism — the first African slaves in America were unloaded from a “Dutch man-of-warre” in 1619.

The Prudery, however, was for everyone except the affluent, wealthy and elite men for whom it is almost always an often-tolerated violation of “official” state prudery. POPULATION CONTROL — shut up and be an obedient worker to mangle a George Carlin quote — and structural forced submission of women is the FUNCTION of Sexual Prudery and HAS BEEN since CIRCUMCISION was mandated by the psychopathic, genitals-minded God of the Torah/Old Testament/Qu’uran. (Why is God so interested in my Dick, I often wondered growing up. Aha.)

Structural, forced submission of women has been the case since “Eve” was framed for getting everyone thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Oh, and God used instant evolution to snatch away the legs of all snakes and force them to slither on the ground. All women. All snakes. And the Nuremberg Tribunal ruled that (Nazi) group punishment was unconscionable. I wonder from whom the Nazis — or anyone else — got the idea of GROUP PUNISHMENT? Aha.

So the pornography pandemic and the psychopathic insanity of what passes for porn — including War Porn such as the despicable “American Sniper” — stems from the fundamental, functional inability of Americans living in a society structured by English Christer Prudes from long-standing English Prudery

to talk about let alone teach and learn about authentic human sexual intimacy and love — and death — and be humans rather than merely inhabit socially set sex roles.

What is forbidden, therefore — all stuff sexual — becomes REQUIRED. And perfect for commodification AND BIG, BIG PROFITS.

THAT is why pornography for boys and men like me from the 1950s and 60s was seen as liberatory, emanicipatory, defiant, rebellious, even “instructional” even though it was hypocritical and contradictory. To successfully snag a Playboy from an unknowing or knowing store clerk was an act of valor to the rest of us. But that pendulum of curiosity-based titillation swung too far and was NOT accompanied by teaching and learning about intimacy and love from non-uptight, adult people — hence the predatory pestilence of porn described by Hedges and in Robert Jensen’s book “Getting Off”.

I have to say also that I never “got” the whole business of heterosexual bdsm let alone heterosexual bdsm porn with women literally “reprising” their submissive, subjugated roles in society. I could totally “get” women beating their boyfriends’ butts, but not vice versa. Why would women even want to be “bottoms”? What did they get out of it? I just did not “get it”. And from what I hear about Fifty Shades of Grey, I STILL don’t get it. And why is it ALWAYS a superrich, hypermasculine man involved as the top? What up with that? Why replicate the structures of oppression? With both Jensen and Hedges I can start to understand how all this works, is connected.

There are similar problems with gay porn and gay bdsm but the spiral is strikingly similar. Once bored with “garden variety sex or porn”, the thrill has to escalate. But, please.  The giant, permanently erect penises reminiscent of Macy’s parade floats; I mean, really! Moreover, if one wants to release endorphins, why not jog to get a runner’s high or lift weights, or dig up part of the yard and plant a garden or install raised garden beds or do some actual work other than hitting the rewind/fast forward/slomo buttons on the remote? Is replicating the structures of oppression — the police officer uniforms and police handcuffs and rich man riding crops — is replicating the structures of oppression somehow what it is all about whether on a conscious or unconscious or socially programmed level?

The Left DOES have far more important fish to fry than stepping up to defend the pornography described above as a First Amendment freedom (“HOWL” it ain’t.) This may be heresy but contrasting “HOWL” with the pornography described by Hedges and Jensen emboldens me to say that

a reconsideration of the notion of “redeeming social value” — as defined by the Left — is something worth revisiting in this Free Speech/First Amendment calculus of a new Zapatista American Left with degradation of women, toxification of the culture, and “PROFITS” not constituting anything CLOSE to “redeeming social value”.

Beyond that, some crucial issues facing what is left of the Left and what might be built into a Zapatista/Podemos/Syriza American 21st Century American Left include

* Solitary Confinement and the whole notion of the US as the World Champion Jailer of the Planet;

* continuing genocide of Native AmerIndians and continued THEFT of their lands;

* Global HEATING and Climate DISRUPTION;

* continued lynching of young Black and Latino men;

* drone bombing and the state of permanent war;

* CIA/State department/Pentagon meddling in nations everywhere;

* decimation of American manufacturing since the sinister so-called “free Trade Agreements” dating to NAFTA and CAFTA and with TPP and TAFTA looming;

* Internet censorship;

* feeding the hungry;

* learning how to downsize lives and living by securing needs and discarding wants;

* localizing just about every economic activity;

* learning to grow food, not lawns;

* creating an economic system that is Human-centered and not Profit-centered (Pope Francis) and

* learning “to love one another or die.” (W. H. Auden).

Men do not learn sex and loving from porn. They learn and re-learn and reinforce the Cult of the Self – selfish individualism from porn. And that leads to rape. Violence against partner.  Murder of partner.  Repression. Exploitation. Dominance. Extreme violence.

Because selfish individualism is the essential prerequisite for violence.

So launching an attack on the Globalized Capitalist Pornography Industrial Complex — involving as it does almost every single issue of interest to the Podemos Left — should be the focus. The Globalized Capitalist Pornography Industrial Complex is the WEAK LINK in the Globalized Capitalist Empire. Forgive me, but it is a superb target in addition to being so despicable: think Luke Skywalker firing a weapon through the unprotected portal of the Death Star. And forgive me ultimo, think: if we can’t make it over the line of scrimmage, go for the forward pass. Or the end run. Mea culpa maxima for that one.

Gail Dines is right: “When you fight porn you fight global capitalism.”

— thom prentice

HERE IS THE LINK TO ROBERT JENSEN’S BOOK “GETTING OFF: Pornography and the End of Masculinity”. You can read the book HERE AT THIS LINK / GETTING OFF.]

thom-pic

No More Rubber Stamps: Five Reasons Congress Should Reject Obama’s ISIS War [With phone numbers to call Congress] — CounterPunch

obama angry pointing

How is that "Hope" and "Change you can believe in" and "Yes we can" and "Forward" doing for you lately?

How is that “Hope” and “Change you can believe in” and “Yes we can” and “Forward” doing for you lately?

by PETER CERTO

At long last, the Obama administration has submitted a draft resolution to Congress that would authorize the ongoing U.S.-led military intervention against the Islamic State, or ISIS.

The effort comes more than six months after the U.S. began bombing targets in Iraq and Syria. Since then, some 3,000 U.S. troops have been ordered to Iraq, and coalition air forces have carried out over 2,000 bombing runs on both sides of the border.

Better late than never? Maybe not.

The language proposed by the White House would authorize the president to deploy the U.S. military against the Islamic State and “associated persons or forces” for a period of three years, at which point the authorization would have to be renewed.

In an attempt to reassure members of Congress wary of signing off on another full-scale war in the Middle East, the authorization would supposedly prohibit the use of American soldiers in “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” It would also repeal the authorization that President George W. Bush used to invade Iraq back in 2002.

The New York Times describes the draft authorization as “a compromise to ease concerns of members in both noninterventionist and interventionist camps: those who believe the use of ground forces should be explicitly forbidden, and those who do not want to hamstring the commander in chief.”

As an ardent supporter of “hamstringing the commander in chief” in this particular case, let me count the ways that my concerns have not been eased by this resolution.

1. Its vague wording will almost certainly be abused.

For one thing, the administration has couched its limitations on the use of ground forces in some curiously porous language.

How long is an “enduring” engagement, for example? A week? A year? The full three years of the authorization and beyond?

And what’s an “offensive” operation if not one that involves invading another country? The resolution’s introduction claims outright that U.S. strikes against ISIS are justified by America’s “inherent right of individual and collective self-defense.” If Obama considers the whole war “inherently defensive,” does the proscription against “offensive” operations even apply?

And what counts as “combat”? In his last State of the Union address, Obama proclaimed that “our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” But only two months earlier, he’d quietly extended the mission of nearly 10,000 U.S. troops in the country for at least another year. So the word seems meaningless.

In short, the limitation on ground troops is no limitation at all. “What they have in mind,” said California Democrat Adam Schiff, “is still fairly broad and subject to such wide interpretation that it could be used in almost any context.”

Any context? Yep. Because it’s not just the ISIS heartland we’re talking about.

2. It would authorize war anywhere on the planet.

For the past six months, we’ve been dropping bombs on Iraq and Syria. But the draft resolution doesn’t limit the authorization to those two countries. Indeed, the text makes no mention of any geographic limitations at all.

That could set the United States up for war in a huge swath of the Middle East. Immediate targets would likely include Jordan or Lebanon, where ISIS forces have hovered on the periphery and occasionally launched cross-border incursions. But it could also rope in countries like Libya or Yemen, where ISIS knockoff groups that don’t necessarily have any connection to the fighters in Iraq and Syria have set up shop.

This is no theoretical concern. The Obama administration has used Congress’ post-9/11 war authorization — which specifically targeted only the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and their patrons and supporters — to target a broad array of nominally “associated forces” in a stretch of the globe reaching from Somalia to the Philippines.

In fact, the administration has used the very same 2001 resolution to justify its current intervention in Iraq and Syria — the very war this new resolution is supposed to be authorizing.

How does the new resolution handle that?

3. It leaves the post-9/11 “endless war” authorization in place.

Yep. That means that even if Congress rejects his ISIS resolution, Obama could still claim the authority to bomb Iraq and Syria (not to mention Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Libya, and beyond) based on the older law.

It also means that if Congress does vote for the war but refuses to reauthorize it three years from now, some future president could fall back on the prior resolution as well.

Obama is explicit about this point. In his accompanying letter to Congress, the president claims that “existing statutes provide me with the authority I need to take these actions” against ISIS.

Yes, you read that right: Obama claims he doesn’t even need the authority he’s writing to Congress to request. And he’s saying so in the very letter in which he requests it.

So what does that say about this authorization?

4. It’s a charade.

Obama says that the war resolution is necessary to “show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat posed by” ISIS. Secretary of State John Kerry added in a statementthat an authorization would send “a clear and powerful signal to the American people, to our allies, and to our enemies.”

But as any kid who’s taken middle school civics could tell you, the point of a war resolution is not to “show the world” anything, or “send a signal” to anyone.

The point is to encourage an open debate about how the United States behaves in the world and what acts of violence are committed in our name. Most importantly, it’s supposed to give the people’s representatives (such as they are) a chance to say no. Without that, it’s little more than an imperial farce.

Which is a shame. Because an empty shadow play about the scope of the latest war leaves out one crucial perspective…

5. War is not going to stop the spread of ISIS.

ISIS has flourished almost entirely because of political breakdown on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border. That breakdown has been driven by a mess of factors — local sectarian tensions and a brutal civil war in Syria, assuredly, but also the catastrophic U.S. invasion of Iraq, ongoing U.S. support for a sectarian government in Baghdad that has deeply alienated millions of Sunnis, and helter-skelter funding for a variety of Syrian rebel groups by Washington and its allies.

Military intervention fixes precisely none of these problems, and indeed it repeats many of the same calamitous errors that helped to create them. A better strategy might focus on humanitarian assistance, strictly conditioned aid, and renewed diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire and power-sharing agreement in Syria, equal rights for minority populations in Iraq, and a regional arms embargo among the foreign powers fueling the conflict from all sides.

But as Sarah Lazare writes for Foreign Policy In Focus, saying yes to any of those things requires saying no to war. That means not just rejecting the ISIS authorization the administration wants now, but also the 2001 law it’s used to justify the war so far.

If you feel similarly, I’d encourage you to write your member of Congress immediately and let them hear it: No more rubber stamps. No more shadow play.

PHONE NUMBERS:

US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121
White House Switchboard: 202-456-1414
White House Comments: 202-456-1111
Supreme Court Telephone: 202-479-3000]

MAILING ADDRESSES:

Senator (NAME)
US Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

CongressPerson (NAME)
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

(Yes, even call the Supreme Court. They should be in on the public response fun too.)

In retrospect, this is the face I have been seeing for six years.

In retrospect, this is the face I have been seeing for six years.

How is that "Hope" and "Change you can believe in" and "Yes we can" and "Forward" doing for you lately?

How is that “Hope” and “Change you can believe in” and “Yes we can” and “Forward” doing for you lately?

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “What is the name of our current Caesar?”  And how is that “Hope” and “Change You Can Believe In” and “Yes We Can” and “Forward” doin’ fer ya lately?

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “What is the name of our current Caesar?” And how is that “Hope” and “Change You Can Believe In” and “Yes We Can” and “Forward” doin’ fer ya lately?

Despite Minsk Cease Fire, 600 US Paratroops to Train Far-Right Volunteers of Ukrainian National Guard — WSWS

[TRAINERS. ADVISORS. IS THIS NOT HOW WE GOT INTO VIETNAMISTAN???!!! Except THIS time, the RISK OF NUCLEAR WAR FROM OBAMA’S PROVOCATIONS IS HIGH AND REAL.]

bleeding american flag shelby wilson


US Army-Europe Commander Lt General Ben Hodges announced that 600 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy would deploy to Lviv, Ukraine to train the far-right volunteer battalions that comprise the Ukrainian National Guard. “We’ll train them in security tasks, medical, how to operate in an environment where the Russians are jamming, and how to protect from Russian and rebel artillery,” Hodges said.

To Read More, Please Click on the Text.

Flag of Svoboda, the fascist party backed by the US which provoked regime change in Ukraine

Flag of Svoboda, the fascist party backed by the US which provoked regime change in Ukraine

atomic muchroom cloud

“NO TERRITORIAL LIMITS!” / Obama Seeks War on Everyone, Everywhere, Ukraine to Venezuela! — RT

The Face of "Hope" and "Change You Can Believe In" and "Yes We Can" and "Forward"...

The Face of “Hope” and “Change You Can Believe In” and “Yes We Can” and “Forward”…


RE: Obama asks for ‘3yrs, no territorial limits’ formal war authority to target ISIS – RT

The dysConstititutional “Authorization for Use of Military Force” being asked of the warlike REPUBLICAN Congress by the warlike DEMOCRATIC president seeks to fight ISIS and “terrorists”

“with no specific geographic limitations applied to US forces and “flexibility” regarding the number of ground troops involved.” (RT)


THIS OPENS THE DOOR FOR OBAMA TO BOMB OR “INSERT” US SOLDIERS ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, EVERYWHERE — from Ukraine to Venezuela, from Syria to Yemen — to “fight terrorists” and “terrorism”.

It goes without saying that ISIS is a deplorable if not despicable bunch of thugs, nevertheless as Chris Hedges wrote for TruthDig this week, “We Get The Terror We Give”. Yet our erstwhile ally Saudi Arabia WHICH FUNDED 9/11 and al-Qaeda and the Wahabbi Islamic Tea Party fundamentalists within its own borders and

***beheads*** 100 human beings a year but apparently Obama is OK with that. But NOT with ISIS.

And it also goes without saying that the US empire is HARDLY ANY KIND OF MORAL EXERMPLAR given the genocide of the peoples of the First Nations, African slavery, state-sanctioned terrorism through the Ku Klux Klan, state-sanctioned lynchings of young black men, and state-approved lynchings by gunshot wound from badged and uniformed, largely white male law enforcement individuals continuing to this very minute.

Moreover, the state terror inflicted on Occupy Wall Street, the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Vietnam mobilization organizers, and all dissidents to actions by the corporatist capitalist US empire from sea to shining sea as well as the state terror unleashed against


* Dr. Martin Luther King;

* journalists like Glenn Greenwald and James Risen;

* CIA whistleblowers like John Kiriakou and Jeffrey Sterlin;

* Internet activists such as the late Aaron Swartz and the just-sentenced Barret Brown; and

* Truth-Tellers and Truth-Revealers such as Chelsea Manning, Mulian Assange and Edward Snowden.

Indeed, the first wholesale “War on terror” parallel to the CURRENT version really began against the First Nations Native American Indian peoples of the Great Plains and the West DURING THE CIVIL WAR when the saintly Abraham Lincoln was President (1860s) and continued until 1904.

The white power structure even managed to con former slaves into serving as “Buffalo Soldiers” and, after surviving terrorism by southern Confederacy Whites, assisted in the terrorizing and extermination of Native peoples.

Of course the US empire had begun killing all the Indians when Jamestown, Virginia was settled in 1607 and when the fanatical Puritans settled in Plynouth Massachusetts in 1620 after the local Indian tribes repeatedly tried and failed to keep the English Whites from landing at all, let alone landing “safely.” The first African slaves” were unloaded at Jamestown from a “Dutch man of warre” in 1619.

The US empire War on Terror against the Indians continued with the Indian Removal program launched under George Washington and enthusiastically continued by Thomas Jefferson although blame is mostly placed on the bloodthirsty terrorist president, General Andrew Jackson.

The empire’s War on Terror continued with the outright THEFT of Texas abd the northern HALF OF MEXICO following the Mexican War — really the US IVASION OF MEXICO in 1846-48 following the “annexation” of Texas in 1845.

But the real precedent for the Bush/Cheney/Obama/Hillary/Kerry War on Terror was the sustained military campaign against the Indians, which INCLUDED mass killings of Buffalo — to NEAR EXTINCTION — in order to deprive the Indians of their food supply. The “War on Terror” against the Indians of the Great Plains and West continued for 40 years.

The current “War on Terror” against Islam — in effect a CHRISTIAN/JEWISH CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM — by the US empire is going on 15 years.

Indeed, I suspect that the controversy over Radical Zionist Likud Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress at the invitation of the Republicans — with the choreographed proposed “boycott” of the speech starting with Obama’s trusted and obedient servant, Vice president Joe Biden —

MAY WELL BE A “FALSE FLAG”

to DISTRACT from this ASTONISHINGLY BROAD “REQUEST” for an AUMF.

Instead of an AUMF, Obama should HIMSELF be going to Congress to make a speech asking for a Declaration of War.

An AUMF is ***NOT*** a Declaration of War and is patently UNCONSTITTUIONAL on its face just as the Tonkin Gulf Resolutions were which authorized the escalation of the Vietnam War and as were the AUMFs by Bush/Cheney.

IF YOU OPPOSE THE WAR AND ALL OF THE US EMPIRE BASES EvERYWHERE, START CALLING YOUR WASHINGTON SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES AND THE WHITE HOUSE to express your opposition.

Here are the numbers:

PHONE NUMBERS:

US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121
White House Switchboard: 202-456-1414
White House Comments: 202-456-1111
Supreme Court Telephone: 202-479-3000]

MAILING ADDRESSES:

Senator (NAME)
US Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

CongressPerson (NAME)
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

(Yes, even call the Supreme Court. They should be in on the public response fun too.)

FOR THE RT STORY “Obama asks for ‘3yrs, no territorial limits’ formal war authority to target ISIS”, CLICK HERE

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “What is the name of our current Caesar?”  And how is that “Hope” and “Change You Can Believe In” and “Yes We Can” and “Forward” doin’ fer ya lately?

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “What is the name of our current Caesar?” And how is that “Hope” and “Change You Can Believe In” and “Yes We Can” and “Forward” doin’ fer ya lately?

bush speaking

cheney

hillary looking stalinist

jeb bush 5

Why Brian Williams Should be Fired. Or Not. — thom prentice

brian williams


RE: NBC Suspends Brian Williams For 6 Months Without Pay: NYT VIDEO via Towelroad.

Don’t let it be forgot / That once there was a spot / For one brief shining moment / That was known as Camelot! – a dying King Arthur knighting a boy and charging the lad with telling Arthur’s story. — Camelot

The biggest problem with that increasingly embellished Brian Williams story over the year of “HIS chopper” being “under fire” in Iraq is not the lying or the delusion; rather it is Williams’ constant use of the word “WE” as in WE were carrying “bridge portions” to drop near the Euphrates River and WE were ahead of the invasion and WE were hit by RPGs and AK-47 fire, WE, WE, WE as if he had something to do with “the mission”. Williams had, in his psyche, ditched journalism and emotionally become a pair of “boots in the air” and was ready to tell a hero’s close call tale.

This was precisely why the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld military had “embedded journalists” in the first place rather than “letting them wander around” as was the case in prior world wars, Korea and Vietnam. No more of those damned Dan Rathers going “off the reservation” to interview actual “grunts on the ground” and see the actual “Truth on the Ground” and compare and contrast that truth with the official “Pravda” of Saigon Pentagon briefings as Dan Rather and some other print and broadcast journalists did during the American invasion and occupation of Vietnam.

The essayist George Santayana famously said that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. But perhaps Santayana was at least partly wrong in the sense that those who DO remember the past and study it obsessively in war colleges in extensive detail are determined to NOT repeat the “mistakes” of the past. But how does one define the term “mistake”? The “mistake” in previous wars – especially Vietnamistan — in the eyes of war colleges and the Pentagon

was the mistake of “Freedom of the Press” letting journalists “off the reservation”; allowing them to “wander around the battlefield” actually interviewing soldiers and seeing for themselves the actual status of the war.

The belief was prevalent among military types that not only was Vietnamistan a war that was lost, the blame for the loss was squarely placed on both the traitorous anti-war movement AND “the media”. Journalists Lost The War. So for the Pentagon, journalists and their movements had to be controlled in the “next war”. But here was the rub: how best to do it antiseptically, making it look as if the war machine was accommodating Freedom of the Press and journalists when in reality the journalists were being controlled as surely as Joseph Goebbels controlled them in the Third Reich and Reich-conquered nations, just in a “kinder, gentler” way.

Hence the policy of “embedding journalists”. Looks like real press freedom. But by embedding journalists the Pentagon pulled a sly psychological trick. The “journalists” (or television celebrities) thus “embedded” quickly bonded with the soldiers and became members in good standing of the “military team”. This is clearly evident in Williams’ constant reference to WE, WE, WE (second person) rather than “THEY” (third person). In this way, the Pentagon military machine, stung by journalists “free lancing” all over the Vietnam battlefield — as Dan Rather and some others did rather than serving as stenographers for the Brass Briefings in Saigon — subtly shifted the loyalty of journalists (or, more accurately, “narrators”) via “embedding them” with the troops. Thus the journalists covering War in IraqiVietnamistan were deftly converted from First Amendment journalists to “Manufacturing Consent” public relations PR flacks engaging in flackery for the heroic “boots on the ground” team in which they were embedded.

Moreover, being “embedded with the troops” might have massaged whatever masculine insecurities a reporter might possibly have by “being a part of” a really “masculine American military fighting unit”. (Dan Rather wasn’t embedded; he only “hitched rides”.) It was a Real Nice Trick the Pentagon pulled but it seems no one snapped to it in all the War Fervor at the time of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld invasion and occupation of IraqiVietnamistan. Very clever. Not so clever the whole “weapons of mass destruction/nuclear mushroom cloud” lie nor the war turning into a total bog despite the fact Iraq is mostly desert and Vietnam is mostly swamp.

Now, NBC’s “correspondent” Williams was not officially “embedded” — rather he was on the requisite Big Shot showbiz tour of the battlefield albeit on the outbreak of war. In his book, “Rather Outspoken”, Dan Rather wrote about and dismissed the Big Time Network Big Shots on similar showbiz tours in Vietnam. However, in stark contrast to Williams, Walter Cronkite’s visit to Vietnam in winter 1967-68 was just in time for the Tet offensive – resulting in Cronkite’s famous assessment on Feb. 27, 1968:

“It seems now more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past.”

It is hard to think of Williams or any network talking head television personality now offering a similar sort of assessment to any of the wars the US empire is engaged in today from Ukraine to Syria and Yemen to Venezuela. However, Cronkite’s assessment could well apply to any of the current wars of the US empire but remains unspoken on the broadcast and cable networks.)

But with Brian Williams, well Williams seems to have missed the actual story! The story was that somehow the “choppers WE were on” were mistakenly (?) ahead of the American invasion forces, at least according to William’s retelling of the heroic tale to David Letterman.

“What WE didn’t know was that WE were north of the invasion,” Williams says to Letterman in a New York Times video tracking how Williams’ embellishments progressed over 12 years. “WE were going to drop some bridge portions across the Euphrates so the Third Infantry could cross over them…“WE figured out how to land safely and WE did…”WE were stuck….four birds in the middle of the desert…”WE were north out ahead of the other Americans.” And dig the slinging of military jargon.

That they were (mistakenly?) north of the other Americans seems to be the story. How in the world could such a terrible mistake happen — unnecessarily putting “boots in the air” in totally unnecessary “harm’s way — given the precision planning and command and control of the American military? How could the military make such a mistake? How, indeed?

Yet even this part of Williams’ story has problems. It would seem that of COURSE the chopper unit was, indeed north and ahead of the US invasion forces and would NEED to be if “WE were going to drop bridge portions over the Euphrates for the Third Infantry to use to cross.” How could they not be? But Williams says “what WE didn’t know…” was that “we” were north of the invasion so this part of the tale doesn’t make sense. Did somebody FUBAR back at the American command, in Qatar or Florida or the Pentagon, sending the choppers filled with “boots in the air” way over enemy territory, ahead of the invasion force by mistake? Did the military air traffic mistakenly send them over enemy territory? Was it pilot error? Wouldn’t they HAVE to be “north ahead of the invasion forces” if the bridge portions to be dropped over the Euphrates were to be used by the Third Infantry? Apparently some inquiring minds in the media haven’t so inquired?

But the point is that Brian Williams MISSES THE REAL STORY, all caught up in his own adrenaline, testosterone and bonding with the troops. A heroic “Camelot” tale thus takes precedence over “Real News” and now both story and Williams become the poster child for the disreputable state that American corporate capitalist, empire journalism had become: the primacy of being stenographers relating “the narrative” – indeed the “heroic” (or empathy generating) narrative — rather than reporting the truths; tale-tellers rather than truth-tellers. (If I EVER hear Chuck Todd again saying “the narrative is…” about something his White House source told him, I’ll vomit.)

After all that breathless hysteria over a series of constitutionally unauthorized blow jobs, the lie of “weapons of mass destruction/mushroom cloud” passed as more of an awkward embarrassment or breach of etiquette better buried and forgotten rather than as an impeachable offense as related by the American Empire News Media (ENN). But then the ENN had similarly treated the 2000 presidential election as just something awkward and embarrassing and even silly to boot – the chads and all that – something to hurry-up-and-get-over with and “move on”.

The ENN then buried – in the aftermath of 9/11 – the extensive research by a consortium of their own into the actual vote counts in Florida which showed a different winner than the one certified. And of course the truth that voters had accorded a million more votes to the ultimately losing candidate over the ultimately winning candidate was ALSO treated as an especially awkward embarrassment best buried and forgotten, despite being directly contradictory of all the hypocritical “American Exceptionalist” pronouncements about how “democratic” America is and therefore a “beacon to the world” and how America always intervenes in other nations on behalf of “democracy”, etc., etc.

In contrast to Williams, Dan Rather had the story, had it cold on Abu Ghraib in the spring of 2004 and was vilified, trashed and thrashed in an unrelenting campaign of abuse from the “Sieg Heil” end of the American political spectrum. Indeed, Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, thought the problem with Abu Ghraib was too many cell phone cameras rather than the treatment of Iraqi prisoners, so he promptly banned the cameras from the war zone. Good move. (The Abu Ghraib photographs are still classified as “secret” and remain unreleased.)

And Rather had the evidence, he had it cold, on the AWOLity of President George W. Bush, then running for re-election to a razor thin 51% victory (if one ignores – as John Kerry and the ENN did — real voting fraud in Ohio).

But the Bush AWOL story was blown up by the Bush White House and the ENNs instead into a major tale of minor bungling and focused on Rather rather than Bush which obscured the larger and more important Truth: that of a president misrepresenting his “military record” (as Brian Williams misrepresented his own “military record”). The result in 2004 was Rather’s departure from the CBS anchor chair the following year and the transformation of CBS News into a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bush/Cheney White House. (This is not to unduly valorize CBS of the Cronkite/Rather era because the network clearly served capitalist empire interests and was NOT the CounterPunch of the air waves of the time even as it sharply contrasts with the present glamourpuss celebrity talking head era of the Empire News Networks.)

So the corporate media (intentionally) missed a lot of real news over the past decades and the telegenic television personality and celebrity Brian Williams is now the poster child of the Nice News Networks (NNNs) telling fairy tale propaganda and RATHER THAN reporting mistakes, wrongdoing and giving the eye of a critical watchdog journalism to the whole military/industrial/surveillance/security Deep State industrial complex, governments and Wall Street. That is supposedly what the First Amendment was all about anyway. Or so I was once told in what Noam Chomsky calls the “Received Standard Version”. One wishes that those on the Left as well as the anti-Imperialist Ron Paul Right would pound and pound and pound on this one point.

The larger story here is like all the other IraqiVietnamistan-era reporter/narrator/hagiographers — by being (willingly) suckered into the Camelot tale-telling “embedding” conspiracy of the Pentagon – Williams missed – or buried — the real story. (Let alone the REAL story of Iraq being what Cronkite said Vietnam was.) In William’s case, the story was possibly a military blunder that sent four choppers filled with “boots in the air” unnecessarily into “harm’s way” over enemy territory mistakenly ahead of the invasion forces or possibly Williams blundered in even understanding the mission in the first place.

THAT is why Williams should be fired, but NOT for doing what the Pentagon insisted that he and other corporate/military industrial complex reporter/narrators were supposed to do — psychologically bond with the soldiers, avoid criticism of military blunders and tell heroic tales which manipulate empathy from viewers. (And also for failing to do the Walter Cronkite-style Vietnam assessment.)

So Brian Williams is the poster child for the massive success of the US American military policy of muzzling journalists and journalism and mooting the First Amendment. Maybe he should stay on?

The decline and fall continues. The apocalypse of more Global Heating and Climate Disruption looms. And both go similarly unreported.

Don’t let it be forgot / That once there was a spot / For one brief shining moment / That was known as Camelot!

thom-pic