The Amateur Hour

By: W.D. Noble

Weird Scenes and Surreal Landscapes in the American Body-Politic

I was struck by something as I watched the recall of Scott Walker this week.

“None of these people know what they’re doing,” I mumbled to myself, as I flipped on the DVR and watched a rerun of the ’50’s show, ‘Highway Patrol’.  “Now, Dan Mathews – he knew what the fuck he was doing.”

Of course, he had the luxury of not being real – and while Broderick Crawford brought him to larger-than-life, even at age 8 I knew that the world’s problems couldn’t be solved by a roadblock near Chatsworth.

Unfortunately, we’re dealing with bigger issues than a ’50’s-era weekly incarnation of well-scrubbed bank-robbers.

Bernie Sanders wrote after the Walker recall went down in flames that the whole event was nothing more than the ‘…wholesale purchase of the electoral process.’  He was right.  Walker’s Koch Brothers-fueled campaign took in a staggering amount of money, spread some baldfaced lies, and spouted them often enough as to validate the old Goebbels chestnut regarding the Big Lie – tell it often enough, and it becomes fact.

That the union-represented workers in the State of Wisconsin were getting a budget-breaking good deal was evident – but Walker and his cronies used this as a good opportunity to break the back of collective-bargaining laws, and tell the Federal government that their statutes protecting same were all-be-damned-and-go-to-Hell.

During this process, our sitting president, Barack Obama, only ventured out via Twitter to endorse Walker’s opponent – otherwise, he remained firmly ensconced in the White House.  Gone was the man who said in 2007, “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States,” having been either replaced by a replicant or who realized that this was a battle he couldn’t fight – not having taken all of that Wall Street election money in the first place.

‘Cui bono’ – the old Roman adage which governed a lot of their law – literally, ‘Who benefits?’ – is what we ought to be asking ourselves through this election cycle.

Who, indeed?

For damned sure, it’s not you and me.

Last week, the New York Times wrote a piece entitled, ‘Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will.‘  Not once in the piece was there a moral challenge to the notion that it’s perfectly all right to go kill ‘bad guys’ in other countries without trial – even if they’re our own citizens; never once was there a discussion or a question regarding the relative legality of such a list, or of the government’s right to act on it in such a manner.

“You can pass a lot of laws; those laws are not going to get BinLaden dead,” said one of Obama’s advisors in the conclusion of the article, which was nothing more than a matter-of-fact statement legitimizing the current administration’s imperium.

The razor-thin intellect of the collective media in preparing this piece – and in those who didn’t challenge it –  frankly stuns me.   The slobbering snot-for-brains Right has already lined-up in favor of such action, cheering on the joystick-jockeys and other masturbating little boys in grown-up clothes who run the show and who call the civilians killed in these strikes ‘bugsplats‘.

For all of his education and Constitutional credentials, Obama is approaching the business of government like a child turned loose in a surgical operatory; he’s surrounded by people who know better and who ought to haul him up short, but instead he’s been loosed with a scalpel and told to have at it.

The result is legislation like this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.  One of its provisions allows the government to declare any citizen a ‘terrorist’, and detain them without trial, indefinitely.  Author Chris Hedges and several other writers filed a lawsuit against the Act and against Obama, personally, for authorizing such a wholesale assault on the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution.

The result?  Federal judge Katherine Forrest ruled that the Act constituted “… a chilling impact on first amendment rights” as she issued an injunction against it.

The government responded by changing the rules.

In its response, the government said, “The government construes this Court’s Order as applying only as to the named plaintiffs in this suit.”

In other words, the government has chosen to interpret Judge Forrest’s injunction as only applying to Hedges and his four co-complainants.  Neat and simple.

On the other side of the fence, we have Mitt Romney.  He’s about to put on a too-large set of Everlast trunks and a brand new pair of Manolo Blahnik gloves and take on Obama in the center ring of this year’s Three Ring Circus and Goat Rodeo.

You remember The Mittster?  He’s the guy who beat up other kids in prep school.  In college, he put a light and sirens on his car and pulled people over ‘to scare them’.  He’s the guy who ‘loves Detroit’ because his ‘wife drives two Cadillacs‘.

For all of this, at least we don’t have to pretend that Mitt is a nice guy.

Then again, if you’re sitting there with your mouth open and the flies eating your liver like a lot of you probably are after just reading what Obama has done to the country, you’re probably not alone.  My sympathies.  I know – even after the Obama administration’s dismissive response regarding NDAA and all, it’s still hard to lose faith in a person who made such good speeches, told such great jokes and looks good next to his wife.  It’s hard to realize that he’s at best a stooge of the corporate/military plutocracy; at worst a damnable bastard.  But the sooner you get over it, the sooner you’ll be able to embrace the future.

Which, by the way, includes revolution.

 

For more from W.D. Noble visit him at his blog @ http://astranavigo.blogspot.com

About astranavigo

Astra is one of the clever monkeys occupying space on the Third Planet From The Sun. While it was an early wish of Astra's to be one of the first to go to Proxima Centauri, he knows this is not to be; instead, you can find him here (some of the time) using simple tools to create communication. Holding up a mirror and saying 'Looky! Mistofer Emperor! Y'ain't wearin' no clothes!" is but one of the services he provides here. Others are subverting prevailing wisdom, peeing in people's Cheerios, trashing on their Imaginary Friends (he does this a lot,) and shifting paradigms without benefit of a clutch. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he hopes he'll never have to learn the true meaning of some of his dystopian fiction.

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10 Comments on “The Amateur Hour”

  1. [Quote=Article]For all of his education and Constitutional credentials, Obama is approaching the business of government like a child turned loose in a surgical operatory; he’s surrounded by people who know better and who ought to haul him up short, but instead he’s been loosed with a scalpel and told to have at it.[/quote]

    No, he’s showing his true colors – all the credentials that were waved around during the “elections” were to convince the common people that they have a real champion ready to fight for their “rights” (an illusion, BTW) in the halls of power: the reality is that this man was corrupt from day one and never intended to bring any real change to Washington – no one ever gets far in the electoral process without being connected to the ruling classes, thus the reason we can’t trust the politicians to do jack shit for us.

    [Quote=Article]Then again, if you’re sitting there with your mouth open and the flies eating your liver like a lot of you probably are after just reading what Obama has done to the country, you’re probably not alone. My sympathies. I know – even after the Obama administration’s dismissive response regarding NDAA and all, it’s still hard to lose faith in a person who made such good speeches, told such great jokes and looks good next to his wife.[/quote]

    You sound a lot like some of my old friends from college (who I still periodically keep in touch with) – they jumped all over the “Hope and Change” bandwagon and chided me for not having any faith in the system and throwing my vote away (as a joke, I voted for Frank Castle/Alucard that election – I haven’t voted since…): it wasn’t until after their messiah figure continued to bail out the banks and stepped up troop deployments to the Middle East that they realized they were duped – now the only decision they face is whether to get out of the country before the police state comes to hunt them down to join a militia to fight back…

  2. Haha! Frank Castle! The Punisher would have cleaned up the streets for sure!

    P.S. During the first Clinton election I voted for Rocket T. Squirrel. Honestly sometimes I think we would be better off with cartoons and comic book characters. At least we would have no illusions as to their fake-ness.

  3. The reactionary suppression of our rights to protest is the cold shudder of realizing we are not a nation content to languish under the whip of slavery, but an embittered people rising up to take the reins of our own destiny. The government seeks to make us afraid, because it’s not our security they worry about; it’s their own. Where will they hide when the wave of revolution grips the world? It’s gripping, steadily and surely. If Bush thinks he has problems with countries that demand he be tried for his war crimes, wait until they add Obama to the list. We will not forget. We will not forgive because the time for forgiveness is past. Like the old lady in Les Miserables, the count is carefully being kept track of on those terrible knitting needles.

  4. “If Bush thinks he has problems with countries that demand he be tried for his war crimes, wait until they add Obama to the list. We will not forget. We will not forgive because the time for forgiveness is past.”

    Revolutions rarely happen until bellies are empty and people wind up sleeping in the streets – as I said a year ago, the only real question is one of math: How many homeless/hungry/unemployed are necessary before the tipping point?

    There’s a reason our current sitting-president is so in love with drones – they’re cheap; they’re anonymous; they’re easily-deployed – and they get around nearly everything save for some pesky Constitutional questions. I’m far from a conspiracy theorist, but I get back to something an attorney-friend of mine told me several years ago: Governments never acquire power which isn’t used.

    That’s why the man’s betrayal is so monstrous – but I digress.

    Revolutions have their roots in economics. They may coalesce around lofty and abstract ideals, but they never start unless people are starving.

    There are now 6,000,000 Americans who’ve been out of work for six months or more – and a large number of these have lost everything. 12,000,000 are homeless. With an aggregate unemployment rate at a real 15%, we’re going to have to start asking some pretty serious questions as a people.

    You can bet that the government is ready for mass unrest – the 1% have insisted upon that.

    As Chris Hedges said recently, real power now lies in the streets, whether any of us want to own up to it or not. The goat-rodeos which will commence in North Carolina and Florida this summer by way of nominating both halves of the same coin are a magnificent irrelevance. But voting for either candidate is like going to a race-track and betting on one of two horses – then finding out that there’s one group which owns the track, the parking-lot, the damn concession-stands – and both horses.

    The anarchists are hoping and spoiling for a fight – in the end, they, their ‘militias’ and the rest of their nonsense will only be a flash in the pan. What’s really going to matter is the movement of masses of people, sufficiently pissed at the Grand Theft of Government.

    By all means, vote this fall – but pull that lever for a third-party candidate who really reflects your goals and values. Then get back out and protest.

    It’s all you have left.

    –W

  5. [Quote=W.D. Noble]The anarchists are hoping and spoiling for a fight – in the end, they, their ‘militias’ and the rest of their nonsense will only be a flash in the pan. What’s really going to matter is the movement of masses of people, sufficiently pissed at the Grand Theft of Government.

    [/quote]

    1. We aren’t “spoiling for a fight” – we just recognize that one is inevitable and plan accordingly.

    2. You’ll be surprised how a small but dedicated and well-trained guerrilla force can hold its own against a regular army – I’ll bet that plenty of Pentagon brass thought that those pesky Veitcong guerrillas would be a “flash in the pan” as the U.S. took over the place (and they probably had similar thoughts about those Iraqi insurrgents, who recently booted the U.S./NATO troops from the country, and the various tribal militias of Afghanistan and Pakistan…).

    3. Very seldom does more than a small fraction of the total population actively participate in a guerrilla conflict (often only about 10% do the actual fighting) – the reality is that the masses are generally content to keep their heads down during a revolution and wait for shit to get sorted out by ome one else…

  6. Also, W.D., considering that you spent the last few years believing that you actually had a champion in Washington this whole time, I’d say that it’s your understanding of the state that is distorted – not ours (as we weren’t fooled by the “hope and change” line for a second, but you and yours apparently bought it hook, line and sinker…).

  7. I can’t speak for anyone else but myself. I did vote for Obama. It wasn’t a champion I was looking for and it wasn’t the “lesser of two evils” either. I was in fact encouraged by his social work and neighborhood orgainizing. I was hoping he would bring some of these socialist tenants to WA. I was wrong about that.

    I knew all along that he would be no savior or golden president. Nobody can do that in the current arena. There is too much behind the scenes puppetry for that to occur. But I did hope that he would do more than call Americans fat while smoking and continuing his own lavish lifestyle. I did have hope that he would be less war-like which he clearly is not. He in fact has most likely been more war-like than Bush. His handling of foreign relations from the beginning has been a bungle-fest.

    It is entirely because of this that I won’t be voting for any presidential candidate in the coming election. Although I have to say, I do believe it would be eversomuch better if Mitt won at this point. Giving the Dems and Obama another 4 years would only serve to allow the specialist crazies in the Rep. party to really get their game together and squash those who would oppose their next pick.

    But that’s just my prediction.

    Also, I agree with AZ, the rational(and best prepared) revolutionaries are not “spoiling” for a fight. They will rise if necessary and continue quietly if not. But it seems that we are edging ever closer to necessary.

  8. “I can’t speak for anyone else but myself. I did vote for Obama. It wasn’t a champion I was looking for and it wasn’t the “lesser of two evils” either. I was in fact encouraged by his social work and neighborhood organizing. I was hoping he would bring some of these socialist tenets to WA. I was wrong about that. “

    Funny how the Right screams “Saul Alinsky!” when someone organizes – and doesn’t bat an eyelash when the Tea Party organizes the whole damn country and gets 32 people elected to Congress under their banner.

    I’ve been voting for third-party candidates since Ron Paul ran as a Libertarian in 1988 (back when it meant something to be a Libertarian); I voted Green thereafter – Obama was the first Democrat from whom I’ve ever voted. I had grave reservations, because I knew full well that voting for either of the two major parties was like going to a horse-track to do a little betting, and finding that the track, the betting-booths, the concession-stands, the parking-lot – and both horses – were all owned by one person.

    I have to come back to a comment a while ago by Chris Hedges, who said, “Go ahead and vote this November. But don’t waste any more time or energy on the presidential election than it takes to get to your polling station and pull a lever for a third-party candidate—just enough to register your obstruction and defiance—and then get back out onto the street. That is where the question of real power is being decided.

    He’s right. We’re past fixing this thing by ‘voting’. As Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President said recently, “The politics of fear has run rampant in America. The two-party system has people convinced to vote their fears rather than their values. How has that worked our for you?

    She’s right, too.

    I voted for Obama because all appearances were that he really was going to practice what he preached. That illusion was gone in the first month he was in office, where the only thing he really accomplished was to host a Super Bowl party in the White House.

    Revolution is our only real option – peaceful if possible; violent, if the powers-that-be have their way and keep us from genuine change.

    Everything is up in the air. All bets are off.

    We are, as James Kunstler said recently, “…the lice on the body politic, banging pots and screaming for attention….” I can hope that some of these ‘lice’ go to Charlotte and Tampa to voice their disdain at the respective party conventions for everything the two parties represent. It probably won’t happen; at least in any numbers which will matter – but as with many things of late, it’s a nice idea.

    Meantime, the distant flapping sound you hear are the wings of mutant chickens, coming home to roost – they have teeth and tattoos and lots of anger. Should be a great show.

    I’ll bring the popcorn.

    -W

  9. Isn’t it interesting that a lot of people would not even have know who Saul Alinsky was if it weren’t for Gingrich harping on about him?

    And places like here and people who care bringing attention to his work which was in fact important and incredible and new for the time.

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