This starts as follows:
If the human species extinguishes itself
in a flash of thermonuclear craziness and the surviving cockroaches
later develop the intellect to assess why humans committed this mass
suicide, the cockroach historians may conclude that it was our failure
to hold the neoconservatives accountable in the first two decades of
the Twenty-first Century that led to our demise.
After the disastrous U.S.-led invasion
of Iraq – an aggressive war justified under false premises – there
rightly should have been a mass purging of the people responsible for
the death, destruction and lies. Instead the culprits were largely left
in place, indeed they were allowed to consolidate their control of the
major Western news media and the foreign-policy establishments of the
United States and its key allies.
Hm. I know it is a literary trick, but I
don't think there will be much left of human civilization after the 100
to 250 million years it will take (at the very least) to evolve
intelligent cockroaches: By that time extremely little will be
left of the long dead "human civilization".
I agree with the second paragraph, but I
also can explain it:
has triumphed in the main media since the early 2000s, and one of the
things it masks (and doesn't discuss at all) is the real division
between the holders of power in the USA and the ordinary
people, whose opinions and values simply don't count
anymore, except as abstract voters that can be told almost any
set of lies, and
that can be misled
in almost any way, all without the least of sanctions and without any
criticism. (For you need a free press for that.)
The days of democracy seem mostly past in the
USA. Here is some more:
No, that is not quite fair. There were
significant criticisms (I am sorry, but I dislike "critique") and
critics, and they did publish. But they were mostly denied
any voice in the main media (see e.g. Noam Chomsky
(<-Wikipedia), and the main media's propaganda is
mostly responsible for the opinions of the vast majority.
The cockroach historians might be amazed
that at such a critical moment of existential danger, the human species
– at least in the most advanced nations of the West – offered no
significant critique of the forces leading mankind to its doom. It was
as if the human species was unable to learn even the most obvious
lessons needed for its own survival.
But the following is - within the somewhat lame opposition between
cockroaches and humans - more or less correct:
The few humans in the
media who did express skepticism – largely found on something
called the Internet – were dismissed as fill-in-the-blank “apologists,”
much as occurred with the doubters against the Iraqi WMD case in
2002-2003. The people demanding real evidence were marginalized and
those who accepted whatever the powerful said were elevated to
positions of ever-greater influence.
The realistic backgound is as I sketched: The
main media are no longer real - more or less honest, more or
less fair, more or less objective - reporters: they
are for the most part simply propaganda
sheets of the government or the right.
And as I have been repeating a lot of times: There is no real
democracy without a really free press, and the free press, as
far as the main media are concerned, is simply dead. Instead,
it lies and propagandizes.
4. The Choice of Patriotism
The fourth item is by Robert Reich on his
This starts as follows:
We hear a lot about patriotism,
especially around the Fourth of July. But in 2016 we’re hearing about
two very different types of patriotism. One is an inclusive patriotism
that binds us together. The other is an exclusive patriotism that keeps
Through most of our history we’ve
understood patriotism the first way. We’ve celebrated the values and
ideals we share in common: democracy, equal opportunity, freedom,
tolerance and generosity.
I must be one of the least
patriotic persons there are, though I must add that I am Dutch, not
American. And as far as Holland is concerned, my life has been intentionally
ruined by the City of Amsterdam, by its mayors, by its aldermen, by its
police and by its bureaucrats, who all for more than four years
chose to protect the illegal softdrugs dealers that mayor Van
Thijn had given his "personal permission" (totally illegally) to
deal softdrugs from the bottom floor of the house where I lived.
Since this started happening 30 years ago,
and has continued unabated for 30 years (none of my many letters
or mails has ever
been answered: I am a non-person in Holland, without any effective
human rights) I think the mayors and aldermen (some of them) got a
whole lot richer (by helping an industry that turned over 300 billion euros in 30 years ,
merely in illegal (!!) soft drugs, according
to a parliamentary report)
but it will be probably be very difficult to prove, especially
Anyway... back to the USA.
As to the reasons Reich lists for his
"inclusive patriotism": Democracy is mostly dead; equal opportunity
never existed, and now less than since the 1920ies; freedom is very
much threatened (especially if you are not white and not well-to-do);
tolerance is threatened; and generosity seems completely unpractised by
That was inclusive patriotism. Here is
Reich on exclusive patriotism:
That is all true, so far as I know. There is more in the article, but as I said:
By contrast, we’re now hearing a
strident, exclusive patriotism. It asserts a unique and superior
“Americanism” that’s determined to exclude others beyond our borders.
Exclusive patriotism tells us to fear foreign terrorists in our midst —
even though almost every terrorist attack since 9/11 has been
perpetrated by American citizens or holders of green cards living here
for a decade or more.
Exclusive patriotism is not welcoming or
generous. Since the war in Syria began in 2011, we’ve allowed in only
3,127 out of the more than 4 million refugees who have fled that nation.
I am not one for patriotism or nationalism, and certainly not as
long as I am a member of the Dutch narko-state. (If I were Norwegian,
things would be quite
5. ‘We the Prisoners’: The Demise of the Fourth Amendment
The fifth and last item today is by John
Whitehead on Washington's Blog, and originally on the Rutherford
This starts as follows:
In a carceral state—a.k.a. a prison
state or a police state—there is no Fourth Amendment to protect you
from the overreaches, abuses, searches and probing eyes of government
In a carceral state, there is no
difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and
a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals,
without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the
In a carceral state, there are only two
kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards.
With every new law enacted by federal
and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government
courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious
protocol employed by government agents, “we the people”—the prisoners
of the American police state—are being pushed that much further into a
corner, our backs against the prison wall.
This concept of a carceral state in
which we possess no rights except for that which the government grants
on an as-needed basis is the only way I can begin to comprehend, let
alone articulate, the irrational, surreal, topsy-turvy, through-the-
looking-glass state of affairs that is being imposed upon us in America
First about the phrase "carceral state":
This was used by Supreme Court Justice
Sonia Sotomayor - dissenting from the majority of the Supreme
Court - and was discussed by me on June
22, 2016. (I think she was quite right, but she did not use the
phrase quite like John Whitehead does.)
The phrase was picked up by John
Whitehead, but he seems to forget (a little, at least) the
difference between a threat and a reality. Then again,
I agree that there is a real threat that the USA is
transforming itself into a police state, and I also agree that both
democracy and the rule of law are very much less worth than
they were until 2000.
But Whitehead exaggerates some, e.g. when
he says that in "a carceral state, there are
only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards": No,
there also is the elite, who are neither prisoners nor guards. And next
to the elite there are the helpers of the elite. (Etc.)
Here is some more, this time with very
No longer must the government obey the
Likewise, “we the people” are no longer
shielded by the rule of law.
While the First Amendment—which gives us
a voice—is being muzzled, the Fourth Amendment—which protects us from
being bullied, badgered, beaten, broken and spied on by government
agents—is being disemboweled.
For instance, in a recent 5-3
ruling in Utah v. Strieff,
the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for police to stop, arrest and
search citizens without reasonable suspicion or probable cause,
effectively giving police a green light to embark on a fishing
expedition of one’s person and property, rendering Americans completely
vulnerable to the whims of any cop on the beat.
This seems all true (and you can see the
evidence for it in the whole crisis series), and
indeed it was Sotomayor's dissent to the above linked ruling of
the Supreme Court that also used the phrase "carceral state".
This is one summary:
Phone and email surveillance, databases
for dissidents, threat assessments, terror watch lists, militarized
police, SWAT team raids, security checkpoints, lockdowns, roadside
strip searches: there was a time when any one of these encroachments on
our Fourth Amendment rights would have roused the public to outrage.
Today, such violations are shrugged off matter-of- factly by Americans
who have been assiduously groomed to accept the intrusions of the
police state into their private lives.
Actually, I don't know to what
extent these "violations are shrugged off
matter-of-factly by Americans".
I agree there are many who do, but it is also a fact that the main
media hardly report anymore on the feelings and decisions of ordinary
Americans - and see item 1 above.
Finally, this is from the end of the
I agree with the first paragraph: The "government has, in effect, liberated itself from its
contractual agreement to respect our constitutional rights" - although the Bill of Rights (i.e. the Amendments to the
Constitution) still is
You see, by gradually whittling away at
our freedoms—free speech, assembly, due process, privacy, etc.—the
government has, in effect, liberated itself from its contractual
agreement to respect our constitutional rights while resetting the
calendar back to a time when we had no Bill of Rights to protect us
from the long arm of the government.
Aided and abetted by the legislatures,
the courts and Corporate America, the government has been busily
rewriting the contract (a.k.a. the Constitution) that establishes the
citizenry as the masters and agents of the government as the servants.
We are now only as good as we are useful, and our usefulness is
calculated on an economic scale by how much we are worth—in terms of
profit and resale value—to our “owners.”
Under the new terms of this one-sided
agreement, the government and its many operatives have all the
privileges and rights and “we the prisoners” have none.
part of the American law.
As to the second paragraph: The legislatures and the courts have not
rewritten the Constitution, but they have reinterpreted it (I
agree in awful and ridiculous ways) and have based laws on
these - usually quite false - reinterpretations.
And I think the third paragraph is - now, at least - an exaggeration.
300 billion euros =
300,000,000,000 euros. This is based on Note
60 of the Parliamentary Van Traa Report of 1997, but since Van Traa
got killed mysteriously, also in 1997, almost no
parliamentarian disccusses soft drugs, and certainly not
critically. I take it every Dutch parliamentarian "sincerely" believes
that politicians who opened the roads for this enormous
corruption did not take one penny in reward. (They are
thus. This is why I cannot vote for them.)