This morning I was commuting to work on the Brown Line, and I had Olivia A. Cole’s The Rooster’s Garden to keep me company. I won’t give away anything of the plot (because you really need to read the book, after you’ve read Panther in the Hive), but I was given pause by Cole’s unflinching, chilling awareness of los hombres armados and their ubiquity along the borders of class and race.
That pause was filled by contemporary reports of excessive police violence against citizens; it let in the brutal, mercenary historical roots of organized law enforcement in the USA; it was joined by prodigious US support for death squads in Latin America and Southeast Asia, and the propping up of reactionary, even openly fascist regimes throughout the world. (If you are unaware of any of the things to which I refer immediately above, I suggest you get to searching. I’m not in the mood for hunting down links to things I accept as mundane.)

The USA has been a grand attempt to build a liberal, nominally democratic nation-state from exploitative and oppressive tools and materials. It follows that any stability in such a state could only be achieved and maintained by ensuring that certain classes have access to the blessings of liberty while others remained marked for oppression and exploitation. The genius of the evolving system has been its ability to revise as needed its mechanisms and protocols of reward and punishment in order to manage the inherent volatility.

The USA has reached a point where the volatility can no longer be successfully managed. We’ve approached such moments in the past, most notably and recently the sweeping civil unrest of the 1960s. The state responded then with civil rights legislation (which I prefer to characterize as ‘civic privilege reassignment’), COINTELPRO, and escalation of an otherwise fruitless conflict in Southeast Asia. The brightest, hottest flames of discontent were ruthlessly extinguished; and the unwashed, restless, fearful masses were placated with liberal half-measures that gave many individuals in the oppressed classes conditional access to the spoils of our global network of oppression and exploitation.

But the omnicidal greed that surges within the brain stem of this republic could neither be contained nor be calmed. It has continued to swell, because that’s what it does. The levees of the liberal half-measures are crumbling, and the raging discontent is spilling over.

The state has responded by beefing up and more heavily militarizing its domestic goon squads, even as it (along with its allies) contracts out much of its foreign aggression to ‘terrorist’ golems like al Qaeda and ISIS.  This is a recipe for violent self-immolation. I find noble and admirable the attempts of BLM and the like to take to the streets and nonviolently face down this rising steroidal juggernaut. The young people at the core of the movement seem to understand the nature of the beast they are facing; I wonder if they comprehend how desperately single-minded the beast has become, and how it will try to tear apart and devour everything within its reach even as it suffers its death throes.

If the above prognosis seems overly dramatic to you, then you probably haven’t been paying sufficient attention to current events, and I claim cause to both envy and fear your lethal privilege.

Those of us who understand the fundamental nature of the state’s violence toward us cannot look away. I, for one, see the potential for a diversification of the peril as the liberal state continues its collapse (a collapse which will most likely pass through a ‘white dwarf’ phase of fascist contraction). Many of those who now shake their heads and feel pity (at best) for the long-favored targets of the state’s lethal violence will soon wail in horror as that distilling terror turns on them. By then, it will be too late.

As the prophets Cole and Butler and Atwood and many others have illustrated through their visionary fiction, violent exploitation will be all that remains after the last self-congratulatory fictions of the liberal state have blown away.

Fascism ❤️ civility 

I feel uneasy reading all the liberal and ‘moderate’ consternation over the continuing potency of political tourists Donald Trump and Ben Carson. I want to ask every critic of Trump’s gleeful xenophobia and Carson’s pathologically clueless reactionism if their sensibilities transcend partisan constraints.

Were the presumptive Democratic faithful as offended by Hillary Clinton’s blithe bloodlust as they are about Carson’s apparent vapidity on foreign policy? Does Trump’s bellicose call for ‘bringing back waterboarding’ bother them more than Obama’s matter-of-fact refusal to prosecute the Bush administration’s torture artists and architects? (Never mind that Obama has apparently eschewed widespread kidnapping and torture in favor of a clumsy, high-tech assassination program that kills far more innocents per targeted ‘terrorist.’)

My patience with this atmosphere of moral inconsistency is running thin today, so I’ll make my point as briefly as I can. Trump and Carson (along with the rest of the crowded GOP presidential field) offer more extreme expressions of fascism, but liberals evidently find it gauche to address their own complicity in feathering the vile nest in which the darkly clownish GOP frontrunners aim to lay their rotten eggs.

Successful fascist movements have relied heavily on bullying, demagoguery, and other expressions of organized aggression, but they might all have died in their nurseries if not for the polite acquiescence and occasional collaboration of the liberal bourgeoisie. Today’s liberals are far more effective at squelching and sidelining principled leftist opposition to fascism than they are at opposing fascism itself. Though I’ll likely be voting Green next November, I won’t pretend to be outraged at the very real prospect of a satirically fascistic GOP victor. It would be better than this country deserves.

Frivolous thoughts in transit

I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, which means I spent my formative years breathing existential terror of an imminent, divinely authored apocalypse. Now, as I witness the continuing global decline of the social and ecological worlds, I wonder at my perception.

Am I predisposed to apocalyptic pessimism due to my upbringing, or am I more willing to accept the harsh reality because of that cognitive and psychological conditioning?

I’m currently on my way to having a few drinks, so I doubt I’ll care much beyond the next few minutes.

A brief note on consistency

Circa April 2014, I don’t recall any police unions issuing public statements decrying the dangerous actions perpetrated in Nevada by supporters of a thieving, conditionally anti-government rancher. Dozens of armed supporters of the lawbreaking Bundy aimed their weapons at law enforcement officials and threatened to kill.

Where was the massive outcry for aggressive crackdown against these would-be cop killers? Where were the sports coaches wearing ‘BLM’ baseball caps to press conferences? Where were the very public and provocative expressions of solidarity with BLM rangers from rank and file members of other law enforcement agencies?

We all know the answers to these questions, don’t we?

Appropriate invective

There is a reason I have taken to labeling Israel ‘the Nazi Germany of the Near East.’ This is my choice, mind you, not that of the author I shall cite and quote. In this, his latest blog post, Sami Kishawi enumerates several ways that Israel demonstrates the exterminationist goals of Zionism upon the highly concentrated, captive population of Gaza. I call your attention to number 6:

6. Israel contends that Hamas forcibly puts Palestinian civilians in the line of fire, specifically by keeping them in buildings from which Hamas fighters operate. Although this has never once been supported with conclusive evidence, the Israeli government touts it as the primary reason for the high civilian death toll. But Palestinians rarely have any place to flee, especially when more than a third of the Gaza Strip falls under a military buffer that Israel strikes regularly and without warning. United Nations shelters are at maximum capacity and Israel has no qualms about attacking these buildings either, which is what happened on Thursday, July 24, killing at least 16 and injuring more than 200 in a United Nations school in Beit Hanoun. Palestinians who refuse to leave their homes or surrounding areas do not automatically become legitimate targets. As Mohammed Suliman said under intense shelling in Gaza City, “I look forward to surviving. If I don’t, remember that I wasn’t Hamas or a militant, nor was I used as a human shield. I was at home.”

Israel is very good at crafting its self-image of a moral state besieged by savages, a state which must take unfortunately harsh measures in order to defend itself against the ceaseless existential threat that surrounds it. Israel also benefits from the near-unanimous complicity of Western governments and their imperialistic corporate media organs. It’s a little depressing– or it would be depressing if not so expected– that a majority of Western citizens seems to have no problem buying this bullshit, perhaps because they are okay with the murderous status quo.

UPDATE: Go now and read Chris Floyd’s latest, where he properly excoriates our Liar-in-Chief for his bloodthirsty complicity in Israel’s continuing atrocities:

The narrative that dominates the Washington media and political discourse — “plucky Israel attacked without motive by demonic foes” — is, again, an obvious lie. But that has not stopped it from being repeated endlessly, all across the political spectrum and in every form of media, day after day after day.

It is impossible that Barack Obama does not know these undisputed facts. Standing at the apex of history’s most all-pervasive intelligence system — and receiving daily digests of news reports on volatile areas like the Middle East — he of all people knows that the Hamas rocket fire was a response to an Israeli military action, an Israeli violation of a long ceasefire.

It’s a narrowing road, but I prefer it.

I haven’t much to say these days, because it seems it’s all been said and it’s all being largely ignored. That’s one of the reasons I abandoned Facebook, because of the feeling that the voices I’d come to value were, like me, throwing their pearls of intellectual and moral persistence to willfully ignorant swine. We were preaching to our own self-selected choir, and I found a good moment of comfort and solidarity in sharing the different perspectives of these honest and credible voices, but it was time to retreat from the medium and put energy into other things.

I briefly stuck my toe into another situation last week, when I commented on a Raw Story article about MSNBC hack Rachel Maddow’s propagandist report passive-aggressively blaming Russia and ‘pro-Russian’ separatists for the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine last week. The liberals commenting on the article, with few shining exceptions, were all on board the imperial propaganda bandwagon. Despite the dearth of proof coming out of the Western media and the U.S. government, there was no reason to assume that the separatists had downed the plane; there was certainly no logical reason for Vladimir Putin and Russia to instigate such an atrocity. (For a good ‘cui bono’ approach to analyzing this situation, I defer to the always dependable Dmitry Orlov.) It doesn’t seem to occur to these people that the same voracious imperial war machine that brought us Vietnam, Iraq, and Libya (among many other situations) would have no qualms about instigating a civil war in Ukraine for the primary purpose of antagonizing and weakening Russia. They don’t seem to see a problem with taking on faith that the same corporate media which sold the previous wars and entanglements isn’t lying to them now. Does the presence of the Nobel Prize-winning warmonger-in-chief at the figurehead somehow blind them, or were their morals and logic always lacking integrity?

I briefly engaged the smug, pedantic, and logic-averse arguments of the liberals there, and I soon realized I was falling into the trap described by Mark Twain: “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

So I left that alone, too. Still, it’s good to know that the voices that are almost always correct about these matters, morally if not in minute, precise detail, are still out there preaching the gospel. I leave you with a link to one of them, Chris Floyd:

This Wheel’s On Fire: The Terror War’s Disastrous Course

Zionism: it’s the most lethal genocidal self-parody out there

First watch the video below:

Even with meticulous editorial wizardry, what the Yahoo!News report shows and what it says look like two almost completely different stories. The narrative describes a continuing offensive by Hamas against Israel, with Israel being forced to defend itself despite Hamas intransigence (they rejected a peace deal!). What makes this almost hilarious is that even though the droll narrator and the careful video footage choice omit reference (never mind footage) to the massive death and injury being inflicted upon Gaza with virtual impunity, one can see from the brief and very narrow footage of ‘rocket damage’ in Israeli territory– footage that is so brief and so narrow that one can scarcely identify any damage that might involve military firepower– that the ‘two sides’ are not equal players in this event. Calling it a conflict is beyond inaccurate; it is patently dishonest.

U.S. and Western corporate media, like their counterparts in Western governments (such as the vile John Kerry), seem to eat, breathe, and shit Zionism. The way this plays out in official public discourse would be hilarious, if it weren’t for all those dead and formerly defenseless men, women, and children in Gaza.