Skip to main content

The oxymoronic protection

in a testy conversation with the press yesterday the president said:

"I was elected to protect the American people from harm."

this was of course as part of his defense for authorizing warrantless wire-taps. 'i'm spying on you to keep you safe from harm; i'm torturing them over there until i torture you over here to keep you safe from harm' i have trouble wrapping my head around the full insanity of this administration. i wonder if anyone has the complete view of how much damage this administration is doing to us; not just how we are diminished now, but the extent of damage to our ability to recover from them. in addition to some of the more obvious deficiencies of these guys, detailed by john aravosis at americablog, and added to by kos, how many government officials have quit, been fired, demoted, punished for competency? does anyone know how many individuals who have tied their entire careers to their work for the government who are no longer there? how many articles have i read with a statement buried in the seventh paragraph like, "after 27 years in the justice department Mrs King is going into the private sector." we know with what sort of people bush replaces these people when he replaces them at all. we also know how well he governs. who's going to fix this mess when he's gone? we can't even predict how extensive his mess is because his every act is obscured. it's beyond ironic that through presidential decree this public servant hides his actions and record from the public while throwing open the public's records and lives to random microscropic scrutiny.

the illegal wiretapping story hasn't really been connected to another story that came out about a week before. it has perhaps obscured that story somewhat. it has been speculated that journalists might have been some of the targets in the wiretapping, suppose it's the activists too? we know that activists groups have been under pentagon surveillance. for example, there was a quaker anti-war group in lakeworth, fl listed as a threat. their meeting was 1 of 1500 suspicious incidents detailed in a 400 page document. according to the olbermann report the pentagon was aware of increased internet communication between the groups, they were aware of individuals, and vehicles at various protests and gatherings. with the nsa wiretaps bush says they're only going after bad people, people who blow up churches and trains. i've always heard the quakers' silent meeting was a hot bed of fanaticism. because the nsa wiretaps lacked any sort of scrutiny, we don't know how they were used or how the information was shared or if there is any connection to the pentagon surveillance.

i admit that my interest in this story is pretty self-serving, though the possible repercussions are enormous. during the republican national convention i was one of several hundred people arrested. when i tell people that, especially people who have known me for a while, they always want to know what i did to deserve it. they are almost always annoyed by my answer. i was charged with marching without a permit, and failure to disperse, but the truth of the matter is that i spent almost 48 hours in jail for following a marching band for a block and a half. all charges were dismissed, still, "i was arrested for following a hot beat," is for some reason not an acceptable answer. when i finally convince people they are incredulous and angry. i suspect that they are perhaps also a little frightened. for some people learning of the mass arrests is to be confronted with the arbitrary nature of power. for a lot of people i know, people of color, activists, abuse of power and disregard for the masses is to be expected from the political/economic elite. for the comfortably middle class we are entering a period wherein for the first time it's possible for them to get swept up in the arbitrary power exercises of their oxymoronic protection; even they are now potentially the "enemy". suposedly all of the documents connected to my arrest were destroyed. in light of the 400 page document detailing 1500 suspicious incidents i find myself wondering.

i don't want to sound all paranoid and tinhatty, but nothing these guys do surprises me anymore, which is pretty sad since it keeps just getting worse. but with these guys, last year's conspiracy theory is this weeks news story:
energy plan designed by industry lobbyists
iraq war based on misleading intelligence
detaining innocents
torturing combatants
spying on us citizens
manipulating the media
culture war as cover for class war
martial law declared and the 22nd amendment nullified
ok, so the last one hasn't happened yet, but who would go to so much trouble to concentrate so much power in his hands if he were willing to give it up easily? we are at war and who knows when the war will end especially when it's executed as poorly as his war on terror has been. you know that we going to come to the next election and there's going to be another attack that necessitates our further protection and bush will pull a giuliani and offer to guide us for a few more years until we can regain our footing again. i think it's growing obvious to an increasing number of people that these guys have to go before they break us completely. perhaps he will unite the nation after all. perhaps we are starting to see through the illusion of the bogeyman to the truly frightening monsters manipulating us from behind the curtain.


Popular posts from this blog

If You Love Your People, Set It Free (or How an Identitarian Came To Prefer Universal Policy Over Identity Politics)

This post is late because I was in LA last week, where I made a point of walking as much as possible to enjoy my audiobook. Although I still have 20/20 vision I have been slow to accept that aging has made it more difficult to read, making it feel increasingly like a chore. In fully embracing this I've finally started looking for audiobooks I might find engaging enough to not be constantly distracted. For my trip I chose Mehrsa Baradaran's The Color of Money, which looks at the persistence of the racial wealth gap in the US.  It was incredibly striking and depressing listening to The Color of Money while accidentally walking through encampments of the unhoused, watching new encampments sprout up in the short time that I was there. This is who we've always been. If you have any doubt, the history recounted in The Color of Money makes it clear that capitalism has always been about extracting wealth from Black people and keeping poor people poor. On checking into Twitter I wa…

Anti-racism - Class = Status Quo: The Neoliberal Argument Against Coalition

I was approached a few months ago around the idea of collaborating to make the progressive case for reparations. I've said before that while the idea of reparations is morally appealing I don't believe in them as an immediate political project. It's not clear to me that it's possible to build a coalition around a reparative justice focused on just 13% of the population. Encouraged by a recent Twitter conversation that included economists Sandy Darrity and Darrick Hamilton where they suggested that saying reparations will never happen is cynical I've begun trying to think of them as an eventuality and lay out the steps to reaching them. Doing this has made clear that our understanding of reparations as a form of compensation to the descendants of the enslaved is not the reparative justice that we think it to be. If we were living with the kind of understanding of justice that made reparations possible we would not be a nation where war, healthcare, education, and cr…

Why Are We Expending So Much Energy on Something Barely Half of Black People Want?

Presidential contenders are being asked about their support for reparations. One could be forgiven for assuming that reparations has broad support within the Black community, it seems like an easy bet. But only slightly more than half of Black people support the idea. So why has the idea suddenly gained so much traction? Neither Yvette Carnell nor Antonio Moore, originators of #ADOS (American descendants of slaves) have the following to drive a topic supported by less than a quarter of Americans into the national conversation. I suspect that it has everything to do with Bernie Sanders, the obvious frontrunner since announcing, and the ongoing attempt to portray him as racially blind and unaware. When asked directly about his support of reparations in 2016, Sanders answered, "Its likelihood of getting through congress is nil. Second of all I think it would be very divisive." He then went on to explain how his policies would have a disproportionate positive effect on the Blac…