The River

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

America has entered a twilight zone of untruth and siege mentality

The rhetoric flies back and forth, from left to right, all focused on "us" "our security" "how to deal with our enemies."

The truth -- our enemies are manufactured -- can never enter the discussion. So each point and counterpoint only reinforces the underlying lie.

Now there's the UAE port deal. To address it, conservatives must sound like liberals and liberals must sound like conservatives.

So the lefties are in a lather, sounding like the traitors on the other side are putting them in mortal danger: "We're at war! How dare anyone put us at risk of attack from our enemies!"

And the righties must take the defensive, but still reassure us that the enemies will be conquered: "Don't make racist judgements. We can't win the war if we don't treat countries fairly!"

But when you're caught in the same false premise, it doesn't really matter. You've already lost.


From J. Alva comes a link to the sane and sensible thoughts of a fellow blogger with little patience for the hysteria of both left and right:

There is no al-Qaeda organization, and furthermore, there never was. At best there are guys who know a guy, who know a guy, who met bin-Laden years ago. That’s it. People who take up international terrorism slap the label “al-Qaeda” on it so it seems like it’s bigger and badder—and thus better supported—than it really is.

The reason international terrorism exists is because terrorism is—ironically enough from Bush—the “weapon of the weak.” In case people haven’t noticed, there are about 5 billion people who qualify as “weak,” which means that the tiny minority of the world who wish to violently attack the similarly fictional entity known as “America” must by neccessity take up the “weapons of the weak.”

I love it. Not only is the big bad terrorist threat fake, so is the entity known as "America." Now we are really getting somewhere. Kudos.

Another snippet:

Which essentially means we’re killed tens of thousands of people, spent hundreds of billions of dollars, invaded two countries, and generally pissed of the entire planet trying to catch an ordinary manipulative shit who happens to have money, a fanatical take on religion, and a stack of bodybags on his eternal tab.

Hey, why not? There are so many ways one can use their manufactured "enemies." Hysteria and fear are such, excuse the pun, killer tools for manipulation.


More on the illusion-reinforcing, lost leftists:

This is why the trolls have to be exorcised so relentlessly. The Kosniks fight ferociously among themselves, but on a deeper level, they are collaborators in maintaining a necessary illusion. My Japanese soldier analogy wasn't quite right. The Japanese soldier is alone, but he is still free, and could put up some kind of fight if anybody ever noticed him. The Kosniks, by contrast, have lots of company, but they've already been rounded up and put in Stalag 13 – or rather, they've put themselves there. They tell each other they're still fighting the war, but they're just going through the motions, drilling ragged, weaponless troops in the prison yard, while their captors look on, laughing, from the guard towers.

-- Michael J. Smith

Friday, February 17, 2006

What the world needs now: Marsha Sinetar books

Healthy mentoring flows from productive types because, as we have seen, loving life they encourage life in others. This is key, so I repeat it. When our relationships are mutually liberating, we connect to people without artificiality. By contrast, unhealthy mentors try to fool or exploit us. Their words seem to deprive us of dignity or safety, and somehow that robs us of vitality. They may be ultra-aggressive or manipulative. They may not hear or respect our disclosures, could thwart our wishes, and generally don’t – perhaps can’t – guide us to true liberty. Erich Fromm’s description of “productiveness” influenced my ideas about healthy mentoring, and I share Fromm’s and Maslow’s view that when self-actualizing growth is blocked, life-denying impulses increase. Fromm’s term for the opposite of the productive type is necrophilous. The word means “lover of death and decay,” a cancerous life orientation, the “quintessence of evil.” Epitomized by ultra-authoritarian repression, necrophilous types ran rampant under Nazi rule where control of others, detached annihilation (or torture) of life, and militaristic rituals were celebrated. While most of us have mixtures of productive and unproductive responses, we observe in extreme unproductive types an absorption with dead systems and an unsettling “concern with mechanical, nonhuman gadgetry.” As Fromm explains: “The necrophile who is interested in photography takes pictures of people, but his interest is directed to the quality and sophistication of his camera; he listens to music, but his love is for experimentation with his complicated stereophonic receiver; he loves time-saving appliances, but even the simplest addition is done on a calculator; even the shortest walk to the grocery store is reason to drive there by car. In effect, the necrophilous character substitutes an affinity for technique and for technology in place of the [productive] person’s affinity for life, for people, for beauty.”

-- The Mentor's Spirit, Marsha Sinetar

Shall we count the ways this resonates with today's situation in the U.S.? How many fingers do you have?

The word means “lover of death and decay,” a cancerous life orientation, the “quintessence of evil.” Epitomized by ultra-authoritarian repression, necrophilous types ran rampant under Nazi rule where control of others, detached annihilation (or torture) of life, and militaristic rituals were celebrated.

I can think of no better characterizations of the behavior of the sickos in power than "cancerous life orientation," "ultra-authoritarian repression," and "detached annihilation (or torture) of life."

Yet, it occurs to me that the following from the piece describes blogging at its best:

Healthy mentoring flows from productive types because, as we have seen, loving life they encourage life in others. This is key, so I repeat it. When our relationships are mutually liberating, we connect to people without artificiality.

So...two obsessions interests of this writer, in a book picked at random for lunchtime reading and opened to an arbitrary page in the middle. I guess the tagline at the top right of the page here doesn't lie: truthseeking between the usual necessary duties.

Yours in productivity, my friends. (What other choice do we have?)


My wife and I make a good team. She suspects those free product samples that sometimes come with the Sunday paper. And I suspect everything else.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I'm thinking right now that we are doomed to a Robocop/Blade Runner/ Handmaid's Tale/Starship Troopers Dystopian suckathon because the American people are too ignorant and apathetic at this time to pay heed to defending our rights and interests. Lost is on or something and it all just falls to the wayside.

BOING!!!!!!!!! | 02.16.06 - 4:48 am | #

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Manchurian Candidate?


Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al, are ecstatic over Ahmadinejad’s highly suspect anti-Semitic (or rather, anti-Ashkenazi, since the majority of Jews in Israel are white Europeans and not Semites) declarations, leading more than a few people to believe he is a Mossad agent or has an as of yet unknown reason for egging on the Israelis and Americans. Either way, Ahmadinejad is courting disaster.

I'm glad someone has mentioned this. The Iranian President is just too on-script. Everything he says is exactly what the Neocons would want him to say for their propaganda purposes, so that they can point to the need to bomb Iran to keep the crazy Iranians from getting a nuke.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Soundtrack for endtimes?

I was almost in remiss. Forgot to mention that over at Empire Burlesque is a wonderful piece of cultural criticism by Mr. Floyd on "Goodbye, Babylon," "a stunning compendium of 135 songs and 25 sermons put together by Dust-to-Digital in Atlanta."

So here ya go. You're welcome.

From the "Like I've Been Trying to Tell Ya" Dept.

Reality is the Bush Faction's deadliest foe, because it exposes the bloodsoaked sham of their public pronouncements and lays bare the naked, bestial power-lust beneath. This is the real war they are fighting – the War on Reality – and this is where they are putting all their energy, resources and intellect. This is what they really care about. In this war, they are very competent. They let hundreds die needlessly in New Orleans, they've let tens of thousands die needlessly in Iraq (including every single American soldier killed there), they've exacerbated terrorism at every turn, they've bankrupted the country – because they don't care about any of that. What matters is wielding power, imposing your will, raking in loot; the consequences of these actions – mass death, mass destruction, economic ruin, global chaos – are meaningless. Those consequences happen to other people, to those outside the circle of the power-mongers and their sycophants. These brutal elites float high above the murderous reality they create – but the rest of us are drowning in it.

-- Chris Floyd, Storm Warning: Levee Lies and the War on Reality , Empire Burlesque

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Get Your Propaganda Right Here: Cartoon Lies, and Stoking the Hatred

Arthur Silber:

The Bush administration and its most rabid supporters have internalized this view completely: at best, other cultures are inferior to the West. At worst, they are "barbaric" -- and not even human. This pattern of particularly vicious racism is a commonplace in American history, especially in wartime, as I just documented (see here, too). It arises from the same worldview that has resulted in racism within our own borders, as I also discuss in that entry.

We are further told, and a majority of Americans appears to already believe, that a potentially nuclear Iran would be "the largest threat" facing the world. That is "unacceptable." After this latest propaganda onslaught, when the bombing starts, we won't even be bombing people. So what's the big deal? Those subhumans are "barbarians." They riot and kill over cartoons. They're crazy! And the very future of civilization itself lies in the balance.

In this manner, the stage is set and the required cultural atmosphere is created for the next chapter in Bush's campaign of destruction.

Fun Fact:

"...the Washington Post reported that the most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of Iran’s nuclear program revealed that, “Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years.” -- William Clark, Energy Bulletin

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Joe Bageant:

A while back it was announced that a Japanese inventor had successfully created an invisibility cloak using a material made of thousands of tiny beads called "retro-reflectum." I found this so amazing that I told six friends, three men and three women, about it over the next two days. Not a one of them found it even interesting, much less amazing. Two of the men subsequently showed mild interest when I pointed out that it could be used to mask tanks and soldiers in combat, and one speculated on its terrorist implications. Our techno hyper-reality has so gutted and rewired the brains of Americans that ordinary intelligent people are not even capable of amazement at such a thing as invisibility! To me, this is an indication of a near-total death of the individual mind and imagination caused by our over-technologized, effects glutted sensory environment.

The pure miracle of invisibility is uninteresting unless it can be linked to, say the rumbling terror of an armored tank -- made perhaps even more attention-grabbing by squashing the bloody guts out of an Iraq under its tracks? It’s the sensory effect that matters, the simulacrum, not the reality. It’s the kind of thing about America that drives me to thoughts of emigration daily.

It drives me to thoughts on ...

What is America?

(Interior, office building, fluorescent ceiling lights, gray cubicles. Geo sits in cubicle in front of computer, lost in thought. On the blank Word document on the computer monitor in front of him appears the word “ring.” A second later, his cell phone rings.)


I’ve been looking for you Geo. Do you know who this is?



The South African blogger?


But….you were taken away during the Apartheid wars.

That is the official story, yes. But nevermind, Geo. You’re in trouble. I’ve been watching you Geo. I’ve been down this road before. I know exactly where it ends, and I know that’s not where you want to be.

But…what do I do?

Right now, dive into the empty cubicle across from you.


Do it. Now!

(Overhead shot: Geo lunges across the hallway between cubes. Crouching, phone jammed against side of head.)

What is this all about, Golby?

To save you, Geo, to save you from dull conversation with the coworker who is doubtless approaching your cube this very minute, cup of coffee in hand.

(Geo peeks out to see coworker, cup of coffee in hand, looking quizzically into his empty cube.)

How do you know all this?

Intuition, predictability of it all, lots of reading progressive sites, because I care.

That allows you to see my world?

Oh, the cowoker…lucky guess, Geo.

That is some intuition, especially from all the way over in South Africa. You are in South Africa, aren’t you?

I don’t know, Geo, am I? Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m both here and there. It’s this ability to imagine that connects me to you, Geo. It’s why I’ve called. There’s a question, Geo. It’s been haunting you. It jumps out at you in the lyrics of pop songs, in random signs on the roadway. You feel it like a splinter in your mind.

What is America?

Yes, Geo. The construct. I’m in it with you, you are in it with me. Everything is being narrowed to one bland product. Greg Brown nailed it: “there'll be one corporation selling one little box/it'll do what you want and tell you what you want and cost whatever you got.” It’s the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. America is the land that pumps it out, produces it like a 24/7 Superbowl halftime show, watches over it like a security camera in the sky.

The truth is, Golby, that I’m proud to be American.

Yass, you’re proud to be American, Geo, as I am to be South African. It’s what we are. It’s good and it’s natural. But there is a wider culture, Geo. There is a world to which you belong and for which you stand -- when you do finally, really stand -- as a representative. But the construct, Geo…are you sure you want me to continue?

What? Is this like the red pill question?

Exactly. The construct has you, Geo. You loosen its grip when you see a true blues artist perform at the Northside Tavern, you feel it drawing you in when you join the morning commute on the highway. You knock it down when you pen a strong post, you feel it rise when you express fear and helplessness.

But….why? How?

Ignorance, Geo. Acquiescence. But you’re different, Geo. A seeker. Are you sure you want me to continue? Do you want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes?


Imagine Geo, just imagine it. Front page news. Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, all telling the American people that it was never Islamic fundamentalists, that their own government murdered 3,000 people on September 11 so that they could launch a global war – with you as one of the enemy. What, then, would happen? Mayhem, Geo. The control program would be irreparably broken.

Except it won’t happen. TV will never tell them. The revolution, Geo, will never be televised.

Ask yourself why the Patriot Act was conveniently ready and hustled into place while normal people were in shock. Why your leaders were so ready with the story line, immediately identifying hijackers (who are still alive) and masterminds who are on their payroll, uttering their “us and them” messages, wasting no time shoring up your shaky ground with a war footing. Is this a democracy, Geo? Were you consulted? I think not.

In a sense, Geo, you are already a prisoner of war, held in captivity through terror. As much as you can stand. Applied judiciously, continuously.


I’m sorry, Geo.

But…the mall, the happy music, the ads, TV, the pundits, magazines, Parade, The New York Times, big business, small business, the congress, The Constitution, laws, God, god….

No product will save you, Geo. But there is a way…

The blog?

Yes, Geo. The blog, for now. It all comes back to the blog, many a post does, anyway. And this one is no different. In one life, you’re a writer for a respectable telecommunications firm. In another you’re a blogger who goes by the alias “Geo” and who has broken every law they truly care about. Only one of these has a future.

But, the pay…there isn’t any.

I didn’t say this was going to be easy, Geo.

And this will save humanity from America?

Yours, Geo. Yours. But we are connected. I’m counting on you, Geo.

No pressure or anything…

I’m sorry, Geo. I know this is a lot to handle. Stay strong. Eat well, sleep well, love well. It’s the only way. Now that coworker should be coming back by in a minute. Get on with your day. Enjoy her presence. She may be unaware, but that’s not her fault. Keep it simple. Don’t judge. Share what you know in your heart. We’ll talk more later.


[reposted from May 13, 2004, and slightly revised]