October 22, 2001
What's Really Changed
Since September 11
By Warren Pease
We're told that everything has changed, that our assumptions are now invalid, and that there's a dangerous new world out there waiting to trap the unwary. And yet most everyone we know is going about their lives much as before and, unless they've had friends and loved ones killed or maimed in the September 11 disasters, it's mostly business as usual. But some things have changed quite a lot, most notably in the continuing rightward shift in US political objectives and priorities.
Here's a few of the things we know about American politics prior to September 11.
* Polls showed Bush approval ratings plummeting - both personal and political - and there was increasing talk about his administration's legitimacy.
* The country was heading into a serious recession, with high tech stocks leading the way.
* Layoffs were accelerating and the percentage of jobless swelled to match late '80s / early '90s numbers.
* The vaunted Bush tax cut was generally seen to have failed, except in that it modestly rewarded the rich for being rich and further penalized the poor for being poor.
* Lacking any other economic quick fixes, the Fed continued to drop interest rates with almost no perceptible results.
* In just eight months, the administration had managed to alienate virtually every domestic constituency, with the single predictable exception of the hard right.
* Its foreign policy was based exclusively on the concept that might is right, and the rest of the world was beginning to push back.
* The Jeffords defection was huge, both politically and symbolically. And with Strom Thurmond essentially dead and Fred Thompson, Jesse Helms and Phil Gramm all announcing their retirements, midterm elections could prove disastrous for the GOP in the Senate.
* The country' economic drift was also going to make it difficult for the GOP to hold its slim majority in the House in 2002.
In summary, the Bush regency was starting to be seen at home as a serious problem and throughout the entire civilized world as a mercifully brief tragicomedy. It seemed increasingly likely that the Appointee-in-Chief would lead his party to defeat in the 2002 midterms. His agenda was crippled by Jeffords' defection and virtually certain to be gridlocked in a Democrat-controlled Congress. And even if he got part of what he wanted with the complicity of Southern Democrats, the country was turning increasingly sour on GOP "solutions."
Then, on September 11, he got really lucky - or perhaps he created his own luck.
Former Special Forces Master Sergeant and current anti-war activist Stan Goff presents a highly disturbing and unusually credible argument for the conspiratorial view in an article you can read here: http://www.narconews.com/goff1.html. It's easy to simply dismiss alternative constructs as the ravings of conspiracy nuts - and the Art Bells of the world give us ample reason to do so. But just because there are conspiracy nuts doesn't mean there aren't conspiracies.
For starters, the events surrounding last November's presidential election are so obviously and demonstrably flawed that, had they occurred in any other country, the US would be screaming for new elections overseen by impartial international observers of unimpeachable character - which is to say, the usual cadre of State Department functionaries there to make certain that the pro-business party wins. A few UN flunkies come along to create the appearance of multinational cooperation.
But the perpetrators of last year's scam have continued to urge us all to get over it and move on, so here we are - paying for another foreign war for oil (see http://www.bushnews.com/oil.htm for extensive documentation) against a questionable target with no clear objectives and with no way to accurately gauge the outcome - or even to know when and if it's over. Meanwhile, under the auspices of the Office of Homeland Security, the administration ramps up its war against the Bill of Rights with the full complicity of Congress and the consent of the overwhelming majority of the American people.
So whatever else the events of September 11 were, or may ultimately prove to be, they were a right winger's wet dream. And the administration's orgasmic rush to audition for its starring role in ridding the world of terrorism was as predictable as it was questionable.
To date, we've seen no evidence that Osama bin Laden's organization had anything to do with the hijackings. I'd be happy to blame him and the rest of his shadowy cadre of "evildoers" if the administration would simply cut loose with the evidence.
And it's credible evidence that we're lacking - that is, facts that are demonstrably and consistently provable, that are obtained by use of our minds and senses, and can survive the test of critical thinking and peer review - as opposed to the laughable faux evidence manufactured by the administration, leaked by unattributed sources, and repeated as gospel on CNN.
I mean, you've got to love the stuff authorities found in a rental car at Logan airport: A copy of the Koran; a video in Arabic on how to fly big jets; and a training manual, also in Arabic, on some of Boeing's fine products. All that's missing is a WWII newsreel on kamikaze pilots with Arabic subtitles and a book of Mishima short stories glorifying seppuku - translated, of course, into Arabic.
Then, to seal the deal, the networks breathlessly reported that a passport, allegedly belonging to one of the hijackers, had miraculously survived a massive explosion and temps high enough to melt steel and fluttered unsullied to the ground, where it was found among the debris in what used to be the WTC plaza. Sounds a bit like the magic bullet theory but I really don't want to go there at the moment, thanks.
Meanwhile, Bush proxy Tony Blair tells the world he's seen all the administration's evidence and bin Laden's involvement is as plain as the Saville Row cut of Blair's empty suits. But all the same, there are some of us who would actually like to have a peek and make up our own minds.
But instead of using its considerable power to pursue such vital information, the criminally incurious major media continue to inundate us with All Anthrax, All the Time, along with a generous dose of bootlicking fantasies on what a swell, swell guy Georgie is and what a terrific job he's doing. He's given universally high marks in the media for growing in office. Which implies that he was, in fact, the dolt we all knew him to be on September 10, but he's been somehow transmogrified in their eyes into The Incredible StatesMan in subsequent weeks. Amazingly, he's even been compared to Churchill and FDR.
If you want to rank him by potential to unleash wholesale slaughter, I'd go with Stalin or Pol Pot, or perhaps an earth-orbit-crossing asteroid. But to each his own.
So here's a few of the things we know about American politics post-September 11.
* Bush popularity ratings hover around 90 percent, as does support for the "war against terrorism." This despite the fact that the economy's in the tank, prospects for recovery any time soon are grim, and more Americans are out of work than at any time since Bush the Elder held office.
* The federal government, by successfully positioning dissent as tantamount to treason, has reestablished lock-tight control over the behavior of ordinary American citizens. And those 1-800-snitch lines are ever so charming, recalling as they do the very essence of McCarthyism and Stalinism.
* Legislation positioned as "anti-terrorism" - that also severely curtails or eliminates most First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections, and probably those guaranteed by the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth as well - is fast-tracked through Congress and signed by a salivating resident, as John Ashcroft rubs his hands in glee and imagines a new American Inquisition designed to resolve the secular humanist question once and for all. Next week: Yellow stars for everyone with a stated religious affiliation other than First Degree Bible Thumper.
* After the $1.3 trillion tax rebate bribe, there is absolutely no money left to fund social programs, which the resident maintains is a good thing since that wastrel liberal Congress now has its hands tied and can't fund social programs. Nonetheless, $40B in war financing here, $15B in airline bailouts there, another $100B or so in tax incentives to pay off some more campaign obligations, and pretty soon we're talking real money. Which means real deficits, the resident having blown the best present an outgoing president ever left his successor, an actual budget surplus.
But that's OK; deficits are just another time-honored way to reward the rich, since the feds borrow money from the investor class in the form of T-Bills and pay the interest with tax revenue extracted from those who lack the correct set of write-offs. Therefore, deficits have become a key element in transferring wealth ever upward and, as such, comprise a cornerstone of neoconservative economic ideology, the mythology of GOP fiscal responsibility notwithstanding.
* After a decade of DOD downsizing and ambivalence about the role of the military, the US finally finds a worthy successor to the Cold War and an enemy capable of building the necessary public consensus to justify another cycle of engorged defense spending. And since DOD functions as a combination high-tech subsidy and boon to the investor class - with a jobs program thrown in to make regional constituencies happy -- it meets all the criteria for upward wealth transfer and therefore is one of the few federal programs that's exempt from the time honored cliche that you can't fix problems by throwing government money at them.
Systemic social problems like poverty, homelessness, hunger and the like apparently must fix themselves. But since the rich by definition don't suffer from these maladies or use the pathetic safety net that inadequately attempts to ameliorate their effects, these issues are simply off the agenda.
* And the Parasite-in-Chief has it all figured out. We simply need to assert our patriotism by flying the friendly skies and shopping till we drop.
According to many, a right wing coup took place in this country late last year. Genteel and bloodless though it was, endowed as it was with the full majesty of the law and the appearance of integrity, most people recognize a good screwing when they see one.
Some would say, Goff among them, that the other shoe dropped on September 11 and that those atrocities were, in fact, Phase 2 in a carefully scripted scenario designed to give the coup the legitimacy it requires to advance its agenda: Domination of oil supplies and delivery conduits; suppression of domestic dissent; continued use of military power to advance US economic interests abroad; continued enrichment of the ruling classes; and the coronation of George II as Pope of the Planet.
In Phase 2 - employing proven marketing methods in a process described here (http://bushandcheneysuck.com/War-on-sale.htm) - the public is assaulted for days by an uninterrupted 24 X 7 televised ad campaign which, whether by design or by inevitable cause and effect, coalesces public opinion around war and revenge.
The American public is presented with the most ghastly, nightmarish images of real death and carnage ever captured on videotape. Within minutes of the actual events, we're given the very devil himself, presented as an amalgam of Hitler, Tojo and Stalin all wrapped up in the robes of a fanatical Islamic fundamentalist Arab millionaire.
As Phase 2 plays out, the country rallies around the administration, the flag, and the concept of protracted war against terrorism. It willingly sacrifices liberty for security, despite Benjamin Franklin's warning. And the free-floating angst of ordinary American citizens creates the rationale that finally legitimizes the primacy of the national security state and consigns the Bill of Rights to the dump - right next to the debris from the World Trade Center.
The Office of Homeland Security rounds up the usual cast of undesirables and carts them off to the Gulag. Which won't be so bad, I suppose, since all the interesting people will be there and the androids will be busy attending obligatory book burnings and witch trials and Bush for Intergalactic Czar rallies.
In Phase 3, by the way, it's 2008 and Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. And Osama bin Laden's image is broadcast on millions of TV sets daily as Americans everywhere gather in screaming, frothing, full-blown lunacy for the Two Minutes Hate, then head back to their sterile, useless lives in service of Pope George II, who's busy playing with his Tonka tanks in the official White House sand box and can't come out right now.
On a personal level, in assessing the external factors that place me at risk here in late October 2001, I'd have to say that the odds of my contracting anthrax or being on a plane that's hijacked and rammed into a building are exactly the same today as they were on September 10.
On the other hand, the odds have increased significantly of my ending up on some McCarthy-like black list - or worse - simply because I've written the above and will persist in thinking the way I think - or thinking at all. As they say, even paranoids have enemies.
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Today's quiz: How much evil would an evildoer do if an evildoer did do evil? Extra credit: Did Anne Thracks really kill Chandra? Some say it was Col. Mustard in the library with the candlestick, but we know better. Reply to email@example.com and win great prizes, maybe.
Thanks to Bush Watch (http://www.bushnews.com/bush.htm) and to "Bob Smith" for source material, and for doing the hard work it takes to extract relevant information from the sewer of pop journalism.
Copyright SRC, Inc. 2001. All rights reserved.
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