As it is written: "Though we seemed dead, we did but sleep." We have finally returned from a series of grueling and at times bewildering traversals of the planet in several directions. Still a bit dazed, we will shortly be back in fighting trim. In the meantime, I would by no means insult your intelligence by suggesting you go immediately to Arthur Silber's site to partake of the feast of biting, bitter yet buoyant wit and slashing insight that he has produced during our time away. Surely it would be superfluous in me to point the readers of this site to Silber's work; surely your own discernment and good sense have already led you there on a constant and continual basis. But on the off chance that some stray pair of eyes (among the ever-dwindling pack of peepers that wander by these precincts) have not yet hied to Silber -- do so, now. For there are ugly things afoot -- an acceleration of the already long-accelerating on-rush of the nations of the West into the hardest, most brutal kind of authoritarianism. It is happening on an array of fronts, aggressively, simultaneously, from every direction. As Silber notes in this landmark piece, "Caught Up in Nightmare: Killing Jack Rabbits":
Unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances put me on the road last week; now, foreseen circumstances are setting me on my way again. Again, I don't know the connectivity situation where I'm going, so posting might be light for the next several days -- or who knows, I might be blogging like a house on fire. (Or a London street on fire, as the case may be.) Sorry for the sporadicality this month, but it couldn't be helped. I'm hoping more regular programming will be resumed soon.Meanwhile, here's a couple of things to pass the time. First up is a slice from the EP "Just One Plank" (for sale, cheap, here). It's called "Tonight I Will Dream," and was done with Nick Kulukundis.
Run, fly, dash, scoot or ambulate yourself in some fashion as quick as you can to Arthur Silber's site, to read his masterful analysis of the rioting in England. There is much I would like to say what's going on here in my present stomping ground, but unavoidable circumstances prevent me from getting into it properly at the moment. Fortunately, Silber is, as always, on the case, tying his own penetrating view (including the riots' larger significance) to an excellent piece by Hal Austin in Counterpunch. Again, I don't have time to do justice to Silber's post here; you'll have to go there right away and read the whole thing. Many out there on the right, left and middle are wailing wildly of barbarians at the gate and the end of human civilization as we know it -- because of a few riots in a few parts of a few towns over a few days? Don't these wailers know anything at all about human history? I think we might have seen a few things more "nihilistic" than this over the years -- or even right now. How about the massive, endless, unending assault on the very idea of our common humanity being carried out, every single day, by the most powerful, most prosperous, most respectable, most "civilized" elites on the planet, with their savage Terror Wars and the "austerity" bombs of their Shock-Doctrine class wars? I mean, Jesus Herbert Walker Christ -- can a million dead Iraqis possibly compare to a handful of people grabbing some sneakers from a shop? Where is the true threat to our...
There was a raid in Ishaqi last week. Armed men crept upon the sleeping houses in the dead of night. Armed men stirring in the darkness, in a land still open, like a flayed wound, to violent death and chaos from every direction, many years after the savage act of aggression that first tore the country to pieces.
Looking at the "deal" being formed to solve the "debt ceiling crisis," I thought it was appropriate to break out the old headline I used a few years ago. The current reference, of course, is to the extraordinary "special committee" or "Super Congress" which the deal intends to establish. This is an unaccountable politburo which will be able to circumvent all normal democratic (and republican) principles and issue budget-slashing, tax-cutting legislation that cannot be debated or amended, but simply approved or rejected by the rest of the now-powerless representatives and senators.That's not all. If the politburo -- handpicked members split evenly between the two gangs of thieves and poltroons that now hold sway on Capitol Hill -- can't agree on just how much they want to gut the budget and cut taxes for the rich, why then, this will trip a series of "triggers" which will automatically start gutting, slashing and cutting, without any vote by the democratically elected representatives whatsoever. And surely it would be superfluous in me to point out that these unaccountable "superpowers" will soon stretch to cover other areas of legislation beyond budgeting and taxes.Behind all the flim-flammery of this manufactured "crisis", we are watching the creation of a new form of government -- or rather, the further mutation of the new form of government that the United States has been crawling toward for a long time. We called it a "neo-feudal oligarchy backed by a militarist...
There is not much to say about the horrific events in Norway, beyond this general observation. If a white, Christian nationalist carries out such atrocities, then he is, inevitably and always, a "lone nut," an outlier, emblematic of nothing but his own individual lunacy. But if a Muslim-- or any person of color or non-white ethnicity -- does anything similar (or indeed, far less serious in scope), why then, that perpetrator is emblematic of an entire race or religion or ethnic group: a group which must then be laid under collective suspicion, and collective harrasment, by the "security" forces (and the chattering classes) of the West. In the coming days, we will hear much about the tormented psychology of the Norwegian terrorist ... who, as Glenn Greenwald notes, will no longer be known as a "terrorist" at all -- precisely because he is white, Christian and a "patriot."
You can tread the path of militarism -- ride it high, slog through it low, make it the very form of your national being and your personal worldview -- but where, exactly, will it lead? Here's a brief examination of this question.
Do you support the policies and political fortunes of President Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate? Then this is what you support: cowardly, cold-blooded mass murder. You support mass murder. You support the shredding to pieces of innocent people, many of them children, week after week, month after month. You support the murder of children. You support the cultivation of extremism and hatred: hatred aimed at you, and your children, for the mass murder -- the state terrorism -- committed in your name by your progressive president. You support extremism. You support hatred. You support terrorism.
When I first saw the stories about the CIA’s super-cunning covert op – setting up a fake vaccination scheme to try to get DNA from Osama bin Laden's children in Abbottabad – I immediately thought: How many innocent people are going to die or suffer needlessly from this unconscionable tainting of medical programmes by Terror War subterfuge? How many people will now turn away from ostensibly genuine humanitarian efforts, wary of being used by foreign spies infiltrating their country? How many more genuine medical relief and health care workers will now be targeted as agents of militarist agendas in troubled lands already rightly suspicious of the murderous spy games being played in their midst?
A friend pointed me to this remarkable performance by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings of a now-old song. I pass it along here not only for its inherent worth, but also because it seems to chime with many of the thoughts and intimations behind this blog. Here we can see, through the conjurations of two guitars and two human voices, how the bloody murk of history is turned into a powerful myth -- a myth of yearning, a yearning for liberation: from the bonds of convention, from the sentence of mortality, from the soul-draining exigencies of history itself.