I noticed that the current crop of Obomba Scandals!!!!! opened up almost immediately after the Correspondents' Dinner in April, almost on cue, and that the leading Obomba Scandals!!!! (Benghazi, IRS, Spying on the AP) had been in the hopper for quite some time. They were not "news," they were rehashed previous stories, pumped up to Frenzy Level 12. All of them had been reported on previously -- some, like Benghazi, becoming memes.
Suddenly, we saw the spectacle of Washington, particularly the White House, scrambling and babbling and doing its level best to both inflate and deflate these Scandals!!!! -- depending on which political team was being played for at any given moment. Polling the rabble was constant. Interestingly, none of these Scandals!!!! were resonating much with the public, so another one was introduced, Spying on a FOX reporter!!!! That got a momentary rise, but then even it seemed to settle into the background noise.
These Scandals!!!!! were not catching fire with the unwashed masses, and the White House seemed to be handling each one deftly. Rope-a-Doping Issa was easy. Calling for heads to roll was easy. Some sacrificial heads were offered up, "reforms" were launched, the Frenzy died down.
Then there came the Snowden Thing from the Guardian, and All Holy Hell broke loose -- at least for a time -- as the Nation's Sekrits!!!! were Exposed!!!! EVERYONE WAS BEING SPIED ON ALL THE TIME, AIYEEEE!!!! Run for your lives, Children, we're all going to DIEEEEEE!!!!
Yes, well. When the AP Surveillance story was being pumped up, I, among others, pointed out that everyone was subject to intrusive surveillance, had been for a long time, and now it seemed the AP was demanding an exemption. Why should they be exempt when the People are not? At what point do we turn this around and demand that the universal and blanket surveillance that everyone is under be curtailed?
I thought it was interesting at the time that quite literally no one was paying any attention to the fact that universal surveillance had been institutionalized thanks to the abrogation of responsibility by Congress, and it had been going on for years. Supposedly anti-terrorist, the surveillance was obviously in place to protect and defend the Overclass from interference by the Rabble. The obvious proof was in the OWS surveillance revelations that never got a lot of media but which are really quite shocking, especially for the granular level of surveillance of OWS and the coordination of surveillance and suppression by government and corporate interests throughout the land. This indicated that when it comes to perceived threats to the Ruling Class, the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments to the Constitution are essentially inoperative. And there is a vast ground level surveillance apparat in place, coordinated out of Washington, to ensure that it is so.
And nobody pumping the Scandals!!!! seemed to care. The only thing that mattered to them was that the media was being spied on: OUTRAGEOUS!!!! Except the Public didn't care about that. The Big Media had so little credibility with the public that whether or not reporters were being tailed by gumshoes was utterly irrelevant to most people. The public indifference toward the media's whining about being spied on seemed to come as a shock to the insular Big Media Club. How dare the rabble not care!!!?
Yes, well. That's how it goes when you betray the public's trust over and over and over again, which was how the Big Media had been operating for the entirety of the last decade and more -- at least since the Judicial Coup of 2000, and many would say since well before that, given all the phony Scandals!!!!! the Big Media < cough NYT cough > manufactured and marketed during the Clinton Apocalypse. The Post-Modern Media was as thoroughgoing an embarrassment to the concept of a Free Press as had ever seen the light of day, and that was saying something, considering how appallingly bad media had been in previous eras.
But just as that Scandal!!!!! was dying down thanks to public indifference, the Snowden Thing popped up at the Guardian and it was like manna from heaven to the parched and starving Big Media. Finally! Something to catch and hold the interest of the masses! Hurrah!
And of course what it was about was exactly what the previous failed Scandals!!!!! were not: the universal surveillance of everyone all the time, something that most people can actually relate to, though they may not be particularly opposed to it -- depending on whether or not people they know are caught up in the Programs.
Yet the Snowden Thing is faltering, partly because of the somewhat bizarre nature of the skip tracing that's (apparently) taking place to apprehend the culprit. Much the same thing happened with Julian Assange, as I was reminded last night when Frontline re-ran their "WikiSecrets" program from 2010. The similarities between the Assange/Manning Thing and the Snowden Thing were remarkable. I was reminded of a lot things, including own my minor involvement in the story. Oh dear, what had I done?
At any rate, in looking back, not only on that but on the HBGary Thing that would come up not long afterwards, I felt the kind of disorientation I sometimes feel when things seem to be entering the Twilight Zone. Or is it Chinatown?
In this case, I'm asking, "Does the United States have a government anymore, or are Our Rulers just winging it?" And if they are, just who are they?
Obama and his Team? Uh, well, that's been debatable from the outset, as we saw when he set out to do certain things, like shut down the Guantanamo Gulag, and immediately he was beset by harpies, led by the contemptible daughter of One Dick Cheney, Ruler Imperial Forever or Something. Every time she -- or he, now that he has someone else's heart -- opens their piehole, all of Washington, and particularly the White House, trembles. It is obvious as sin that they are, literally, in charge. But on whose behalf?
They -- House Cheney -- are able to publicly order Obama around like a string puppet. It's shocking. Congress is supine in the face of their bluster. WTF? As for the courts, ha. It's not simple corruption with the courts, it's something orders of magnitude worse, for We, the People have neither standing nor influence over issues like law and justice and so forth. At least in a corrupt judicial system, the People have some say, some of them even have some control, and if you know who they are, which you probably do, you at least have a chance.... in the current system, though, the People are kept completely in the dark, it's all a Big Secret.
Is there a government in the sense the public understands the concept of "government" any more? Or has what once was the Government become entirely a matter of certain private interests contending with one another to operate the levers of power on their own -- private -- behalf, either ignoring or exploiting the People in the process?
Is there really any question about it any more?
When I see the devolution of these issues into hatred for one or another of the political actors in the drama -- whether it be Obama or any other -- I shake my head in disgust. Obama and Bush were strolling around Africa together the other day, as if they were old buddies, much as Clinton and Bush stroll around together these days, and what's necessary to see here is that it -- the Presidency at the least and the governing class the Presidency serves is a continuum, not a discreet series of individuals to be hailed or excoriated in turn. Banging on about how wonderful or awful whoever sits on the Throne of Office may be simply gets nowhere. It's a form of venting to be sure, but beyond that, what good is it?
If, as seems to be, government is out of the People's hands altogether, and our public-private-partnership surveillance state fully intends to keep it that way forever and ever, amen, what, then, must we do?
That is the question for which we have no universal answer as yet, though many, many answers are being sought and experimented with. Sometimes the answer is right there in front of us, sometimes it has to be the product of struggle great or small, sometimes there is no answer -- or as is often the case, the answer is "no."
Submission and compliance and required economic extractions are all Our Rulers really want from us in any case.
As long as they believe they have that, we are, of course, free.