Saturday, April 07, 2007
There Are No Conspiracies
Western laziness consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so that there is no time at all to confront the real issues.
Tu Fu comes from a saner, older, more secular culture than Homer, and it is not a new discovery with him that the gods, the abstractions, the forces of nature, are frivolous, lewd, vicious, quarrelsome, and cruel, and only men's steadfastness, love, magnanimity, calmness, and compassion redeem the night-bound world.
The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.
I first became aware of the chief weapon of the new conservative around 1960. The weapon is mockery and it was used effectively against my friends and me at Bates College. The school had a requirement to attend chapel a few times a week for programs of a non-religious character---but it was a chapel of vaguely Christian architecture. You also had to take a couple religion courses and fees were collected from all students to support the Christian Association. The CA had a locked bulletin board, to which I had a key and where I used to post rather leftist material.
The emerging leaders of culture war attacked all of this. Their models and mentors appeared to be Ayn Rand and William F. Buckley Jr. Buckley particularly was on television all the time debating liberals. His method of discourse always was a sneering dismantling of the bleeding heart of concern for the downtrodden. If you are lazy and stupid you should expect to be trod upon in this life. I remember 2 hours of excruciating embarrassment as Buckley mocked out James Baldwin for his passion on civil rights. I recall Buckley concluded one of his "Firing Lines" by warning the audience America is being watched on all sides by greedy eyes in faces "upon which there are no smiles." Mockery was established firmly upon a foundation of fear.
When questions arose surrounding the assassinations of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, the phrase "conspiracy theorists" showed up. We learn there always will be unanswerable questions about such events carried out by lone nutcases, and if you won't accept that reality you will be mocked. Questions about 9/11 and the Twin Towers? Same deal. We don't have time for this stuff: we must put it behind us and move forward. Weapons of mass destruction. A mushroom cloud could result if we delay our preemptive war. The Christian right delivered Shock And Awe, and there was talk of Judgment Day in the Cradle of Civilization. (At this time of year, one wonders why Jesus didn't move preemptively against Judas.)
Are you concerned about the environment? You are mocked as a "treehugger." Even as evidence mounts and reports are released, the term still is thrown in derision. You can have rugged American individualism but don't rock the boat. Watergate, Enron so quickly forgotten...or rubbed out of our minds. Another conspiracy theory to be ridiculed. MobilExxon spent millions to discount global warming? What's conspiratorial about that? Didn't tobacco companies do the same thing? Federal prosecutors fired for not being "loyal Bushies." They were to "serve at the pleasure of the President"...like the rest of us.
But just maybe this fabric of 40 years of fear is beginning to unravel. I saw a T-shirt recently that announced "The biggest Government Conspiracy is that there are no conspiracies." I've always found the best way to conquer fear is, if possible, just turn on the light. If we have a Congress currently in the mood to shine brightness upon various princes of darkness, let's take some time and do it. Already much has come to light.
Recently not a week has gone by that I haven't become aware of a struggling investigative journalist somewhere who has labored for years to dig around and come up with what's really going on. Hopefully most people are aware of Lucy Komisar, but I wasn't. Here's her bio at a site called gameasoldasempire.com~~~
"Lucy Komisar is a New York–based journalist who travelled in the developing world in the 1980s and 1990s writing about movements to overthrow the despots who were running many of the countries she visited. When she talked to oppositionists in such places as the Philippines, Haiti, and Zaire, they invariably said this about their local dictator: 'He’s looted the country, stolen everything, and it’s all in Swiss banks.' The phrase was, as she discovered, shorthand for a parallel international financial system run by the world’s largest banks using secret accounts and shell companies in offshore havens like the Cayman Islands and Jersey to hide and move the money of dictators, corrupt officials, drug and people traffickers, terrorists, business fraudsters, stock manipulators, and corporate and wealthy tax cheats—and that their political power kept Western governments from acting against the system. Beginning in 1997, she shifted her focus to reportage about offshore banking. Much of what she has published over the last ten years (see www.thekomisarscoop.com) has never been published elsewhere. Based on her investigations, she is writing a book to be called Take the Money and Run Offshore."
That site thekomisarscoop.com has enough in it to fill your next week! Her articles are all over the Web, chiefly at The Nation, Alternet, and she's got a book or 2. Earlier this week the Inter Press Service News Agency put up her analysis of the Bush family's banking adventures, which---surprise, surprise---involve deals with the bin Ladens, Saddam Hussein and various sheiks of Araby. Liberals have been vaguely connected with this material, but here it's all laid out and names are named~~~
The very next day, at the same moment Dick Cheney was on Rush Limbaugh's show (again!) to restate Saddam's love affair with Al-Qaeda, we learned of a declassified Defense Department report that declares "captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides 'all confirmed' that Hussein's regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/05/AR2007040502263.html?hpid=topnews Well, undoubtedly Cheney knew the report was coming out so, since more people listen to Rush than read newspapers, he might try lying to us again. When you have this kind of money and power, who cares what you say?
Surveys show people increasingly are beginning to get the urgency of Global Warming. Al Gore has had a lot to do with it, despite the right's continuing campaign to mock the man out of existence. The United Nations report yesterday describes disaster just around the corner, but the LA Times says the all-night session Thursday was prompted "by governments seeking to deflect calls for action. 'The science got hijacked by the political bureaucrats at the late stage of the game,' said John Walsh, a climate expert at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who helped write a chapter on the polar regions." http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-warming7apr07,0,6019103.story?coll=la-home-headlines So maybe things are even worse?
Then there's Monica Goodling. Is there some conspiracy of Monicas? Here's this lady who says she won't testify about the Gonzales prosecutor firings...and then yesterday resigned completely. Hopefully before the weekend is up, somebody will give her whatever or however much she wants and we'll have her story. In the meantime all there is is this page of alumni picnic photos from a school called Regent. http://www.regent.edu/alumni/chapters/washington_dc/DCPicnicPhotos.htm Do you suppose the happy campers all are Republicans? Goodness, they certainly do use a lot of charcoal starter! Maybe that's what's wrong with them. I don't know, a loyal Bushie always throws herself onto a live grenade...and she looks like the type.