* Cross-posted from Humanitarian Left.
Note: This piece was originally titled, 'I left apoplectic four-thousand outrages ago.' I've replaced that title with a quote from Lawrence Lessig, whose TED Talk wraps things up very nicely at the end of this post. Please, if you read nothing else of what I've written here, take the time to watch that video. You'll be glad you did.
UPDATE: Here's a link to Lessig's Super PAC: Mayday PAC
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The revelations that validate my most cynical views come so fast these days that it's impossible to keep up: torture, domestic spying, high government officials lying to congress with impunity, the leadership of our country covering up for evil, persecuting truth-tellers, the SCOTUS-led assault on the Constitution, secret 'free' trade deals that screw everybody but the oligarchs, the rigged stock market, accelerating inequality, laws against feeding the hungry, free speech zones, the steady push for more war. Every day is a new low and a new blow to everyone who loves peace, justice, fairness and equality; and to everyone who desires an honest and intelligent government that honors science, exhibits compassion and embraces wisdom and reason, not greed and corruption.
I've watched with dismay as the dark heart of the USA has been exposed to the world as, time and again, my worst fears and most cynical views were confirmed by events and revelations. The horror of the military-industrial-complex and the cesspool of corruption that is our political system have never been more nakedly obvious. The sheer immorality of gangster capitalism has never been more self-evident. Our Potemkin government, despite its Herculean efforts to keep us all in the dark, has never been more nakedly transparent.
Now they're talking about a 2016 match-up between Hillary (fer crying out loud) Clinton and Jeb (fuck me) Bush (or even Mitt (47%) Romney). The USA is now officially a parody of itself. One 1%er/corporate/military-industrial-complex tool against another. Here's your choice: Goldman Sachs or Exxon Mobil. Either way you'll get a great big helping of more of the same. The rich will get richer, the poor will get screwed, the third world will get bombed, people will be killed, tortured and harmed in innumerable ways and shameless lies will be told about it all while climate change and inequality will get ignored and worse. Same as it ever was.
“There is no way in the American political system to vote against the interest of Goldman Sachs. It's impossible. Or Exxon Mobil.”It's such a sad response to keep clicking the 'more of the same' button. We need something big, bold and radically different. But then I guess that would take a revolution (or maybe it's as simple as Lawrence Lessig suggests?).
In the mean time, how can any sentient being take this sham seriously? This whole presidential campaign farce is going to consume billions and command virtually everyone's attention and suck up all the energy while solving absolutely nothing and achieving nothing but the pathetic and entirely predictable reinforcement of the status quo. The very status quo that's killing us all.
Our paid representatives are actively preventing the implementation of any real solutions to our very real problems in deference to the pig-headed greedmonsters in the 1%. They are passionate about all the wrong things. Their single-minded drive for profits blinds them to all reason. No one should be in the business of defending or perpetuating the fossil fuel industry at this late point in history, as an example, but our entire government is devoted to it, and pathologically so. And it doesn't end there.
No one is reforming our prisons. No one in government is doing anything meaningful about inequality, poverty, or homelessness. The only ones addressing our frayed and pitiful safety net are those who seek to destroy it. These days even democrats want in on that act. No one's helping the poor. No one is righting the wrongs. Every member of the political class is out for themselves. We have no statesmen (except maybe Bernie, bless his heart).
We need to quit believing that presidents or senators or congress people are ever going to change anything. That is so not their real job. Their real job is to shine the people on while carrying water for the 1%. Their real job is to screw us. And we pay them to do it. We need to quit being suckers for such obvious bullshit. How many times do we have to watch Lucy yank the football?
The plutocrats take us for rubes, and the saddest question of all is why wouldn't they? We just keep playing along, paying our tormentors to abuse us some more. Like we can't imagine getting off this hamster wheel.
“They think it's a ladder, but it's a wheel. That's the crux of the biscuit.”I am so dismayed, distraught and disgusted with the sad, outrageous, irresponsible, self-absorbed, self-interested, self-destructive behavior at the highest ranks of our society that I want to scream. The corruption, the war profiteering, the greed, the selfishness, the cruelty, the criminality. I'm ashamed for my country and for my species. I don't want to turn my back on the U.S. but I do want to disassociate from its deplorable behavior. After ceding the moral high-ground left and right, time and again, we have the gall to lecture other countries about military invasions or human rights violations. The hypocrisy is stunning – nay, damning.
Spencer, the British troubador, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, March 2014
I am appalled by the loathsome status quo and ask everyone to please stop supporting it in any way. I will never be satisfied, and I don't think anyone else should be either, until all those who have done these horrible things to us and our country, the torturers, the thieves, the corrupt politicians, the warmongers and the war criminals are all brought to justice. We need to drag every oligarch on the planet into an international court and hold them accountable.
Is it okay with you that we've become a nation that cannot be trusted not to torture or kill anyone we please, or to tell the truth about anything, or not to spy on our own allies and citizens without warrant or just cause? Is it okay with you that we throw everything we've got into anti-reality games, deception and distraction instead of into solving real problems? Why do we keep putting up with it?
Why is it even remotely acceptable for our government to be perpetuating our most egregious errors from the past while refusing to learn the lessons of history or change our ways one iota in deference to science, knowledge or understanding? Are we crazy? Are we stupid? What is wrong with us?
Now there's this huge political struggle to raise the minimum wage to some shameful new number. Implementing a livable minimum wage is something a decent people would have done long ago without controversy or struggle. So do I support your bill to raise the minimum wage, senator? Yes I do, just as I support not killing puppies. It's a fine cause but it's really the least you could do. How about an actual living wage? When will anything be done about that? Answer: never.
The fight is not for a modest bump in the minimum wage, healthcare that's a little better than awful or for a government/society that is slightly less assholish. The fight is for actual peace, justice, fairness and equality – things we are so far away from that it boggles the mind. And the pathetic little tokens they keep throwing at us are mere distractions. They are meant to keep us settling for minor tweaks to the horror that is modern American society – in lieu of any real change.
These days the outrages come steady and fast: domestic spying, impunity for mega-criminals, stalling, subterfuge and betrayal on any and all actual change or progress. The Powers That Be are saying to us, 'Come on. We gave you gays in the military, we're caving on marriage equality and legal pot. So, you know, STFU!'
Not that there's anything wrong with those things, those matters of token progress, but they are so not the change we need. As welcome as these changes are, as important as they are, there is a sense in which they are just more stalling tactics: cave a little around the edges but never on the core issues that lie at the black heart of the modern USA. There has been nothing but a doubling down on our warlike nature, our propensity to torture, bully, falsely imprison or kill anyone who gets in our way. We are hated as criminals all over the world for what our government has done and what we've let it get away with.
I was verbally accosted twice in Costa Rica, the friendliest country on earth: once about Iraq and once about torture and the gringo criminales (rhymes with tamales). I've railed against the outrages committed in your name and mine for the majority of my life. I don't deserve to be hated for them, but I am. I am a gringo after all. I share responsibility for what my government has done along with all the other gringos. The world wants to know what's wrong with us. We are hated and we deserve to be hated if we don't get off our asses and actually change things. If we keep taking it, I guess, on some level, we deserve it. As long as we continue to settle for an utterly failed, broken and corrupted system, we're going to get what we've always gotten. I'm sick of it.
However much it pains me to say it or you to hear it, the only thing left for the democrats is that they're better than the republicans...marginally. That's all they've got. On anything other than social issues, which cost the 1% nothing, almost all of them support the same sorry sack of shit: plutocracy, inequality, gangster banks, tax cuts for billionaires, wars for profit, corporations and profits over people, cruelty as official policy and environmental do-nothing-ism. Just check out the voting record on things like the Patriot Act, the AUMF and the Big Banks bailout if you don't believe it. America has become all about welfare for fatcats, impunity for mega-criminals and punishment for the poor. I never dreamed I'd see such horrid conditions in my own country. Alas.
“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”It's uncanny how prescient Zappa was back in 1977. I agree with him strongly. I guess that makes me a Frank Zappatista. Can anybody see the brick wall yet?
Frank Zappa, 1977, h/t joe shikspack
With only rare exceptions, U.S. politicians are over-privileged frauds and opportunists preying on a gullible public while stalling any real progress and serving only the short-sighted and selfish agenda of the pathologically rich – out of pure corruption and self-interest. Our politicians are nothing but a bunch of would be fatcats feathering their own nests by selling the rest of us out to the actual fatcats who should be but never will be ashamed, who should be but may never be stopped. Their agenda is dooming our species – but we're not supposed to talk about that.
We the people have lost complete control of our political system. When I pronounce the electoral system dead or the government beyond our reach, I'm sometimes told that such resignation is harmful. But it's not resignation, it's righteous indignation and perfectly appropriate outrage. It's looking the reality squarely in the eye. When a majority of Americans feel the way I feel, there will be some fucking change. At long last.
We will reform our prisons.
We will bring equal justice to all.
We will begin an accelerated withdrawal from fossil fuels.
We will institute a new era of global cooperation, not for profit but for survival.
We will implement rational, intelligent and enlightened governance.
We will make peace.
We will repurpose the military-industrial-complex and refocus it on the mutual well-being and survival of all humans and of humanity itself.
The agenda of the 1% is an absolute death sentence for humanity. That's an incontrovertible truth. The only way it will change is if we the people take control of our political system, and the only way to do that is to get Big Money out – and we can do it with a single statute.
As Lawrence Lessig puts it, our political system is infected by “a pathological, democracy-destroying corruption” that is caused by the influence of Big Money.
“We cannot ignore this corruption anymore.”The most important thing we can do politically for our country (and indeed the world) right now, is to get Big Money out of politics. Please support this growing movement that is so crucial to the future of the entire planet. Lawrence Lessig, in the following video, illuminates:
UPDATE: Here's a link to Lessig's Super PAC: Mayday PAC