Friday, October 29, 2010

Two Smarty Pants Sitting in a Tree. . .

What a well-paid and mildly amusing tool Jon Stewart is. (As is idiot colleague Steve Colbert, the man who invited the heroic Julian Assange onto his Report, only to try and rip him a new asshole -- in defense of America's national security.) Here is Stewart allowing Uncle O. to make funny and to bleat about how much more time he needs. (For what, Mr. President? Both your testicles are already gone.) And here is Stewart leading a March on Washington against Extremes.

Extremes? ExtremeS? Plural? With an "s" on the end?

We're all certainly familiar with one extreme. The one which launched four aggressive wars during the lifetime of The Daily Show. The one which made torture a national policy and eliminated habeas corpus. The one which destroyed any connection between the vote and the resulting government. The one which created the greatest income gap in United States history. The one which accomplished the complete commodification of culture, education, health care and much else. The one which destroyed the society's industrial base and infrastructure. The one which created massive rage and alienation, and then created a phony political movement from that in order to direct the anger toward the puppet national government rather than the puppet-masters.

Where, Monsieur Stewart, are the other extremes? Certainly not on your show. Neither are they in the country.

Chris Hedges, in his brave new book Death of the Liberal Class, writes about the likes of Colbert and Stewart (and their audience).
The legitimate rage being expressed by disenfranchised workers toward the college-educated liberal elite, who abetted or did nothing to halt the corporate assault on the poor and the working class of the last 30 years, is not misplaced. The liberal class is guilty. The liberal class, which continues to speak in the prim and obsolete language of policies and issues, refused to act. It failed to defend traditional liberal values during the long night of corporate assault in exchange for its position of privilege and comfort in the corporate state. . . The liberal class, in our age of neo-feudalism, is now powerless. It offers nothing but empty rhetoric. It refuses to concede that power has been wrested so efficiently from the hands of citizens by corporations that the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty are irrelevant. It does not act to mitigate the suffering of tens of millions of Americans who now make up a growing and desperate permanent underclass. And the disparity between the rhetoric of liberal values and the rapacious system of inverted totalitarianism the liberal class serves makes liberal elites, including Barack Obama, a legitimate source of public ridicule. The liberal class, whether in universities, the press or the Democratic Party, insists on clinging to its privileges and comforts even if this forces it to serve as an apologist for the expanding cruelty and exploitation carried out by the corporate state. . . Once the liberal class lost all influence it became a class of parasites. The liberal class, like the déclassé French aristocracy, has no real function within the power elite. And the rising right-wing populists, correctly, ask why liberals should be tolerated when their rhetoric bears no relation to reality and their presence has no influence on power. . . The corporate state, by emasculating the liberal class, has opted for a closed system of polarization, gridlock and political theater in the name of governance. It has ensured a further destruction of state institutions so that government becomes even more ineffectual and despised. . . The liberal class, despite becoming an object of public scorn, still prefers the choreographed charade. Liberals decry, for example, the refusal of the Democratic Party to restore habeas corpus or halt the looting of the U.S. Treasury on behalf of Wall Street speculators, but continue to support a president who cravenly serves the interests of the corporate state. As long as the charade of democratic participation is played, the liberal class does not have to act. It can maintain its privileged status. It can continue to live in a fictional world where democratic reform and responsible government exist. It can pretend it has a voice and influence in the corridors of power. But the uselessness of the liberal class is not lost on the tens of millions of Americans who suffer the awful indignities of the corporate state. . . The purging and silencing of independent and radical thinkers as well as iconoclasts have robbed the liberal class of vitality. The liberal class has cut itself off from the roots of creative and bold thought, from those forces and thinkers who could have prevented the liberal class from merging completely with the power elite. Liberals exude a tepid idealism utterly divorced from daily life. And this is why every television clip of Barack Obama is so palpably pathetic. We have been robbed of a vocabulary to describe reality. We decry the excesses of capitalism without demanding a dismantling of the corporate state. Our pathetic response is to be herded to political rallies by skillful publicists to shout inanities like “Yes we can!”
The real thing, RIP.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Early Autumn

Part 6 of Haibane Renmei, "Loss"

The earlier parts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Final Round and Counting

18 days before election, the two candidates debate for the 4th and final time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Number Three

50 years ago this evening. This one's a true kinescope, not necessarily a good thing, as you will see. And as you will see, the two candidates were on separate coasts. Separate universes, actually.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Round Two

Kennedy-Nixon Debates, part two of four, 50 years ago tonight.

This is the one where the Vice President stops wearing light-gray suits and starts wearing make-up.

Monday, October 4, 2010

When the Saints Go Marchin' In

Chris Hedges.
We can hold One Nation marches every week. It will not make any difference until we revolt against the formal structures of power.

The liberal preoccupation with positive forms of propaganda ignores the root of our problem. The tea party and hate mongers on Fox such as Glenn Beck, however repugnant, are the manifestation of the crisis, not its cause. The forces assaulting the remnants of American democracy will not be cowed or discredited with rallies, such as the one in Washington on Saturday. We will blunt these rising anti-democratic forces only when we organize outside conventional systems of power. It means dismantling the permanent war economy and the corporate state. It means an end to foreclosures and bank repossessions. It means a functional health care system for all Americans. It means taking care of our poor and unemployed. And it means a system of government that is freed from corporate interests.

Mass support for anti-democratic movements and public acceptance of open violations of human rights are not caused, in the end, by the skillful dissemination of misinformation or brainwashing. They are caused by the breakdown of a society and the death of a liberal class that once made reform and representative government possible. The timidity of our liberal class was on public display during the march in Washington. Speakers may have called for jobs, but none would call on citizens to abandon the rotting hull of the Democratic Party and our moribund political system or put Wall Street speculators in prison. The speakers at the rally proposed working within the current electoral system, although most Americans are aware that it has been gamed by corporate interests. This is hardly a call, especially given the failures of the Obama administration, that will fire up the unemployed and underemployed.

“We need jobs,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said at the march. “We’ve bailed out the banks. We bailed out the insurance companies. Now it’s time to bail out the American people.”

But Sharpton and the other speakers, too close to the power elite in the Democratic Party, did not call for rebellion. There was no war cry against Wall Street and the purveyors of death in the defense and health industry. There was no acknowledgement that unfettered capitalism and globalization are killing our ecosystem and creating a worldwide system of neo-feudalism. There was no acceptance that the corporate state must be dismantled if we are to save ourselves. Any effective resistance must begin with a condemnation of our political elite and liberal institutions, including the press, the universities, labor, the arts, religious institutions and the Democratic Party, for selling us out. But the speakers on the mall in Washington would not go there. And I suspect, for this reason, the Americans who are hurting most found nothing they said of interest.
More (with chilling follow-up comments).