Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Documenting the Atrocities

The atrocities seem to be coming thick and fast these days, and as everyone knows, their endless documentation is the primary purpose of Blogtopia (h/t Skippy).

After delivering his smooth and soothing and ever so "progressive" Inaugural Speech, His Serenity Barack Obama commenced his second term of office determined to have his way no matter what, demanding that the Rs concede the points he's long been making that the rich in America have to pay their fair share, and then the rest of Americans have to sacrifice by enduring permanent cuts in benefits called "Entitlement Reform."

He's never wavered from this position from the moment he was installed in the White House. One of the things about Obama is that he is a remarkable politician who gets his way in the face of some of the most hot-headed criticism any president has endured since before the Civil War.

He gets his way. He got an increase in upper income tax rates, but notice what it was linked to: an end to the payroll tax holiday which meant a 2% increase in the payroll tax rate, and 2% less in working people's take home pay. The tax burden on the rich has increased a bit, but I'm told it's not even close to 2%. Beauty.

He gets his way. This fact about reduced worker take home pay is ritualistically ignored by practically the whole universe of commentators, and many in fact defend it as proper. Yes, well. Of course.

It was only a temporary tax holiday, not meant to be permanent, and besides, what do working people need with all that spendable cash anyway? They should be saving for a rainy day, and the expiration of the payroll tax holiday will force savings by putting the money into Social Security. So it's all good.

Then there is the whole issue of "targeted assassination" of American citizens -- via drone or SEAL or whatever -- not to mention the continuing debate over whether "we" should torture.

The White Paper is supposed to explain the legal rationale for "targeted assassination" -- aka: summary execution, murder, etc. Torture of course is not done. Any more than the Church tortured heretics. It simply didn't happen. So stop saying that.

Killing and torture and extracting wealth from the masses is how Empires are established, sustained and run. It's simple. The People can do nothing about it once those in power become convinced that their security can only be ensured by means of Empire. First, the People have no say in the matter, but even if they did have a say, they'd probably go along with whatever evil that Power proposes in the hopes that they would one day benefit.

That's how it goes.

It's fascinating to see people state and debate these issues on the internet and confidently assert that voting choices will somehow bring matters under the control of the People. Third parties are very popular -- if somewhat abstract -- remedies to the cruelties and depredations of the Duopoly that rules us, even though in the last election third parties didn't even break into double digits.

Elections and voting, I've said many times, is not the answer, for in our system you never actually have a choice when it comes to policy (not at the federal level), for policy is never put to a vote of the People.

You vote for personalities.


Not policies.

Third parties are meaningless in a winner take all electoral system. Two parties that shade into one another are the only feasible "choices." Change the system and maybe third (fourth, fifth, sixth) parties will have a chance, but because they might have a chance, the system will not change from the inside.

Pressure from the outside can sometimes afflict the dominant parties sufficiently that they might mitigate some of their worst policies, but the pressure must be sustained over long periods -- generations or centuries sometimes -- and it must be relentlessly single-minded.

Documenting the atrocities isn't going to do it.

But I guess it's worthwhile in its own right.

Isn't it?


  1. Nicely written. Thanks.
    What I find most interesting is how people on the left are divided, especially regarding the drone issue. If they can divide people that have more in common than not, they're winning.

  2. True.

    Keeping the opposition divided is such a time honored tactic, isn't it? We see it all the time -- because it works.

    Is it a hardwired part of human nature to focus more on arguing over even minor differences than to join with one another to engage a common foe?

  3. I always enjoy your column. Sometimes it's not all fun and games. After hearing that two-faced, torture apologist and professional liar, John Brennan answering questions before the Senate, I was outraged. Your post touched off a rant over at the Zone. I referenced your thoughts as a logical beginning of a discussion.

  4. Nice rant. The key: "It's not right. It's not acceptable. It's probably not legal. If it happened to us, we would massively retaliate."

    Absolutely true.

    We're dealing close to the true nature of Empire, and the truth of it is still stunning to many people. For all intents and purposes, the Republic is gone except as some historical abstraction.

    Meanwhile, from what I saw of Brennan's performance at committee, he's pure apparatchick, following orders, a functionary. Perfect. Mindless.

    I say abolish the CIA.