Late July, dog days of summer. On the news the doldrums arrive, lazy waves on a calm sea. Beneath this the usual commotion proceeds: more troops to Afghanistan under cover of new words for old thoughts. We’ll pacify them, bring them the glories of democracy, build schools. 30 US dead this past month, we aren’t told how many others we killed in this pursuit, and whatever the numbers they’d be false. Meantime JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs celebrate, having converted the financial panic of autumn into a fiscal killing a mere 8 months later. Capitalizing on panic, like a gang war, they rubbed out, with some help from Washington, some major competitors. Now these two sit on the peak of Wall Street, raking in the money and shelling out billions in reward to those inside the game. Unemployment rises each month, the funny figures jiggled by the statisticians so the official number is 10% for the US, though the real one is likely far closer to more than 20%. The jobs vanish, and politicians promise renewal, but the work is gone and there’s little real reason to think it’ll be replaced any time soon. The celebrated shift to a “service economy” has tanked, the 70% of GDP generated by “consumption” suddenly shrivelled with diminished plastic and heightened extortionary interest rates. Meanwhile Michael is dead, after much distracting hooplah, and now Walter Cronkite, and new news rolls in. On Washington’s C Street, an alleged Christian retreat for hardpressed politicians turns out to have been a love-nest for errant hypocritical Republican “family values” Senators and Representatives. Elmer Gantry is America.
Obama slowly tarnishes, as it becomes clear this Knight in burnished bronze is only the best the political system could offer, but it is still inside the system, and the system is gamed by those of the military-industrial complex intent on keeping and expanding America’s imperium, 700 bases – and building – scattered across the globe. The whiff of Roman decadence becomes a stench. The prison at Bagram in Afghanistan is a political embarassment so the PR machine cranks about the “bad image” and not the actual substance of the matter: that America, in pursuit of its ugly interests, hesitates not to imprison, torture and kill in the most casual of manners. Caesar would be proud. The Romans poisoned themselves with lead linings to their aquaducts; we follow suit with plastic water bottles leaching bisphenol-A (BPA) into us, dicking with our hormones. Our domestic economy wilts as we pour more and more into armaments and money-shufflers, and Obama orates with a silver tongue speaking as his masters dictate. Were he to actually attempt to take on his commanders in the Pentagon, CIA or Wall Street, he’d be gone as a lynching victim in August.
Marion, Indiana, 1930On August 6th, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb in combat on Hiroshima, Japan