Friday, July 15, 2016

Cleveland, America's "glasnost" moment?

Thoughts for the day:
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Benjamin Franklin
 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:32 - King James Version
"Freedom? For whom? To do what?"
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov
"To whom much was given, of him much will be required"
Luke 12:49 · ‎Luke 12:47 · ‎King James Bible

Understanding the world today would be much simpler if we conceded that gradually after WWII and picking up speed dramatically after 9-11, the United States has evolved into a corporate-military-security state... in short a "regime";  and like our old,  Cold War opponents, the Soviet Union, (which was also a corporate-military-security state-regime), we need to wrap our realpolitik in millenarian ideology... "We are building global democratic capitalism comrades". The "end of history" and all that... while we force-feed political prisoners in our Guantanamo gulag, kill American citizens without trial, etc, etc.
America’s post-September 11th national-security state has become so well financed, so divided into secret compartments, so technically capable, so self-perpetuating, and so captured by profit-seeking contractors bidding on the next big idea about big-data mining that intelligence leaders seem to have lost their facility to think independently. Who is deciding what spying projects matter most and why? The New Yorker 
Here are two examples of who we say we are: 
Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2006 "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree."  109th Congress Public Law 102

So we face a historic opportunity.  We have the chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator.  There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity.(...) And now we cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just. Barack Obama - May 19, 2011
Followed by an example of who we really are:
On 3 July 2013, Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi led a coalition to remove the only democratically elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, from power and suspended the Egyptian constitution.(...) The US refused to describe the action as a coup.(...) Ensuing protests in favour of Morsi were violently suppressed with the dispersal and massacre of pro-Morsi sit-ins on 14 August 2013, amid ongoing unrest; journalists, and several hundred to a few thousand protestors were killed by police and military force. Wikipedia
A clear example of our reality might be the contrast between Obama's Cairo speech in 2009 or the public encouragement of the "Arab Spring" and then supporting the military coup d'état in Egypt, that soon followed their first free elections in history (while because of 109th Congress Public Law 102, denying it was a coup) where an army that literally lives off American aid (in exchange for not troubling Israel) massacres the supporters of a legitimate, democratically elected government that they have overthrown manu militari, without the White House even giving them a sharp tug on their leash... impossible for anyone, anywhere, to believe that the USA hadn't colluded in it...  Perfectly comparable to the Soviets invading Prague in 1968  to "defend 'real existing socialism'"... All of this brings us face to face with our hypocrisy... rubs our noses in it really.

Perhaps hypocrisy is to be preferred to cynicism though, because as La Rochefoucauld famously said, "Hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue", which means that if good didn't exist, bad people wouldn't have to pretend to be good... Which is probably the best you can say about America's present performance on the world stage.

Sort of the "Soviet Union Light".

What was it that brought the mastodonic Soviet superpower crashing to oblivion, the straw that broke the camel's back?

What finally caused the USSR to unravel was the simple free movement of information, it was merely allowing Soviet citizens full, free access to the ordinary photocopying machine. That is what brought down the Soviet system.

Could it be a vulnerability that both superpowers might have somehow in common?

What could be America's version of the USSR's Xerox-Achilles heel.

Today facing the security state we have the ubiquitous cellphone video camera connected to Facebook and Twitter, plus a population armed to the teeth, in a country where in many places "open carry" is legal. This is a combination whose dissolvent effects on public order we are just beginning to sample.

In Dallas, the police's use of an exploding robot also gives a sinister hint of the militarization of America's police forces that the establishment feels might be "necessary" if that public order were to be severely endangered. 

What sort of endangerment? Where could this be leading

We might find out very soon.

How about this for a possibly historic clusterfuck? Armed to the teeth Black Panther activists slipstreaming the Black Lives Matter movement go to the Republican convention is Cleveland Ohio, to protest Donald Trump's racism, where they will meet white power Trump supporters also armed to the teeth. This in a state (Ohio) where a black child carrying a toy rifle could be shot by the police. 
The New Black Panther Party, a "black power" movement, will carry firearms for self-defense during rallies in Cleveland ahead of next week's Republican convention (...) Several other groups, including some supporters of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, have said they will carry weapons in Cleveland.(...) Officials in Ohio have said it will be legal for protesters to carry weapons at demonstrations outside the convention under that state’s "open carry" law, which allows civilians to carry guns in public. Reuters
The ingredients for anarchy are all there. If not now, when?

If something dreadful doesn't happen, we might take it as a sign that America's famous luck has not quite run out... yet

Where could the combination of all of these ingredients be heading?

A wise old fellow once said something to the effect that the present cannot judge itself, anymore than we can judge a person by what he thinks of himself... that time alone will be the judge of our present affairs, but that old man also said that the present is always pregnant with the future and in time it will be clear that everything that is to come tomorrow was present in some form today, right now, under our noses waiting to come to fruition. 

Sobering thought that. DS

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