Tag Archives: “The Road”

U.S. now produces only corpses

The body of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi lies on a mattress in a commercial freezer at a shopping center in Misrata, Libya, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. The burial of slain leader Moammar Gadhafi has been delayed until the circumstances of his death can be further examined and a decision is made about where to bury the body, Libyan officials said Friday, as the U.N. human rights office called for an investigation into his death. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

Associated Press photo

This is all that the crumbling American empire produces and exports these days: death and destruction. Gooooo USA! 

A column that Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald posted yesterday is pretty spot-on about what the United States of America has become. Greenwald notes that “there is something very significant about a nation that so continuously finds purpose and joy in the corpses its government produces, while finding it in so little else.” (The occasion of Greenwald’s column is the latest U.S.-government-produced corpse, that of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi [pictured above], whom, like other dictators, the U.S. government opposed, then cooperated with, then opposed again.)

Greenwald begins his column by reminding us of the uber-creepy language that President Hopey-Changey used in early May after the U.S. government summarily had assassinated Osama bin Laden in violation of justice and of international law:

When President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden on the evening of May 1, he said something which I found so striking at the time and still do: “tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history.”

That sentiment of national pride had in the past been triggered by putting a man on the moon, or discovering cures for diseases, or creating
technology that improved the lives of millions, or transforming the Great Depression into a thriving middle class, or correcting America’s own entrenched injustices.

Yet here was President Obama proclaiming that what should now cause us to be “reminded” of our national greatness was our ability to hunt someone down, pump bullets into his skull, and then dump his corpse into the ocean.*

And indeed, outside the White House and elsewhere, hordes of Americans were soon raucously celebrating the killing with “USA! USA!” chants as though their sports team had just won a major championship. …

Speaking of sports teams, that is all that the Democratic Party has become: a sports team that many Americans identify with. This is evidenced by the fact that even when Barack Obama violates the U.S. Constitution (e.g., denying assassinees and detainees due process, unilaterally declaring war, etc.) and international law (e.g., assassinating individuals on foreign soil without the consent of that sovereign nation’s government) and sits on his hands in the face of catastrophe (Obama handled British Petroleum’s destruction of the Gulf of Mexico as effectively as George W. Bush would have) — even when President Hopey-Changey acts or fails to act in the same illegal and/or immoral and/or ineffectual manner of which the Dems would have been critical had it been a Repugnican president in power — the Obamabots, if they can’t exactly find it within themselves to celebrate Barack Obama’s George-W.-Bush-like ways, at least keep their mealy mouths shut, and thus empower and enable the lawless, immoral, pro-plutocratic and militaristic Obama regime through their complicity.

This amorality and immorality is why, as Chris Hedges writes, the liberal class (as he calls the Democrats in name only, those who claim to be liberal or progressive but who don’t actually lift a fucking finger for progressive causes, and who, if they don’t actually engage in evil themselves, at least enable the evils encouraged and perpetrated by the right wing) is in its death throes.

The reason that Obama’s re-election prospects are dim, you see, is that the wingnuts prefer actual wingnuts to “liberal” sellouts like Obama — no matter how many baddies/“baddies” he assassinates with our tax dollars as though he were some Big Fucking Badass — and the so-called “independents”/“swing voters,” the majority of whom actually are center-right or even pretty far to the right, also prefer the actual Repugnican candidate to the Repugnican Lite candidate (like Barack Obama).

Actual progressives like me and the millions of other Americans (and those abroad) who are participating in or who at least sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street movement also have no use for Obama — stick a fork in him, because we are done with him and his false promises and his true allegiances — which leaves President Hopey-Changey only with his mealy-mouthed Obamabots, who are so fucking worthless that they might as well donate their organs now so that others can make better use of them.

We actual progressives can thank Obama, however, for thoroughly exposing how much the Democratic Party, since Bill Clinton, has sold us Americans out to our corporate/plutocratic overlords. Chris Hedges asks us:

What kind of nation is it that spends far more to kill enemy combatants and Afghan and Iraqi civilians than it does to help its own citizens who live below the poverty line? What kind of nation is it that permits corporations to hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves to save their sons and daughters? What kind of nation is it that tosses its mentally ill onto urban heating grates? What kind of nation is it that abandons its unemployed while it loots its treasury on behalf of speculators? What kind of nation is it that ignores due process to torture and assassinate its own citizens? What kind of nation is it that refuses to halt the destruction of the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, dooming our children and our children’s children?

An Obamanation, I might answer.

And Hedges answers, I think, the question of why the Occupy Wall Street movement has been so successful:

The liberal class functions in a traditional, capitalist democracy as a safety valve. It lets off enough steam to keep the system intact. It makes
piecemeal and incremental reform possible. This is what happened during the Great Depression and the New Deal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism. Liberals in a functioning capitalist democracy are at the same time tasked with discrediting radicals, whether it is [Martin Luther] King [Jr.], especially after he denounced the war in Vietnam, or later Noam Chomsky or Ralph Nader.

The stupidity of the corporate state is that it thought it could dispense with the liberal class. It thought it could shut off that safety valve in order
to loot and pillage with no impediments. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And the reduction of the liberal class to silly courtiers, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, meant that the growing discontent found other mechanisms and outlets.

[All emphasis in this block quote is mine. Indeed, the success of the Internet as a political organizing tool is due to the fact that the duopoly of the corporate-ass-licking Coke Party and Pepsi Party stopped addressing the common American’s needs and interests long ago, and thus the common American has found alternative routes, has flowed around the obstruction that is the partisan duopoly that masquerades as “democracy” in the United States of America. And now we see Occupy Wall Street as yet another adaptive response to the utter ineffectiveness refusal of the two parties to represent us, the people.]

Liberals were reduced to stick figures, part of an elaborate pantomime, as they acted in preordained roles to give legitimacy to meaningless and useless political theater. But that game is over.

Human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are brutally discarded. The liberal class, which insists on clinging to its positions of privilege while at the same time refusing to play its traditional role within the democratic state, has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power. And as the engines of corporate power pollute and poison the ecosystem and propel us into a world where there will be only masters and serfs, the liberal class, which serves no purpose in the new configuration, is being abandoned and discarded by both the corporate state and radical dissidents. The best it can do is attach itself meekly to the new political configuration rising up to replace it.

An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope of a correction or a reversal through the formal mechanisms of power. It ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and the middle class will find expression now in these protests that lie outside the confines of democratic institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy. …

[T]he liberal class, by having refused to question the utopian promises of unfettered capitalism and globalization and by condemning those who did, severed itself from the roots of creative and bold thought, the only forces that could have prevented the liberal class from merging completely with the power elite. The liberal class, which at once was betrayed and betrayed itself, has no role left to play in the battle between us and corporate dominance. All hope lies now with those in the street. …

Yup. Because although the United States of America quickly is on its way to becoming something like the way that it is portrayed in the very dark movie “The Road,” we Americans aren’t ready to become cannibals quite yet, and we would prefer that the trillions of our dollars that are being used to kill people abroad (mostly so that the oil corporations can steal and profit obscenely from other nations’ oil) instead would be used for necessities here at home, such as health care, shelter and food.

Because even if we were to feast upon the corpse of Moammar Gaddafi, which reportedly cost us more than $1 billion to obtain, it wouldn’t feed very many of us Americans for very long.

*On May 2, I similiarly wrote:

… More chilling than the words and actions of my jingoistic cohorts, of whom I expect precious little, however, are those of President Barack Obama, of whom, despite his string of broken campaign promises, I still expect more.

“Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can’t do,” Obama proclaimed today about the snuffing out of bin Laden. (“We do big things” is one of the campaign slogans that Obama rolled out during his last State of the Union address, since “hope” and “change” don’t work anymore.)

Jesus fuck.

When we make such feel-good statements as “as a nation there is nothing we can’t do,” are we really supposed to say that about the killing of one individual? Even someone like Osama bin Laden?

Is this what “American greatness” has come to: our ability to kill one man after 10 years, hundreds of billions of dollars and the killing of tens of thousands before him? (That’s a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: Yes.) …

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To hell in a handbasket — on crack



This the is “vision” that the Repugnican Tea Party has for the United States of America.

The members of the Repugnican Tea Party in the U.S. House of Representatives promised to make jobs and the economy their No. 1 issue. But let’s tick off what they’ve actually “accomplished” thus far:

  • They read the U.S. Constitution to us aloud — minus those unpleasant portions about slavery, of course.
  • They have attacked Planned Parenthood and women’s rights.
  • They have attacked the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • They are engaged in a nationwide union-busting campaign that benefits only their corporate and plutocratic benefactors pimps.
  • They have attacked our public servants, even our public-school teachers.
  • They have attacked National Public Radio, and got the scalp of NPR’s president and CEO.
  • Tomorrow they are to began McCarthyesque hearings on what a danger to the nation Muslim Americans are.

In short, the Repugnicans in the House have done nothing substantial toward bringing about national economic recovery.

They know that this is what they should be addressing, however, because they frequently are using the economy as their bullshit excuse to fulfill their Wingnut Wish List.

We can’t afford NPR, they claim, when in fact, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (NPR’s parent) — and Planned Parenthood — get a fucking pittance from the federal government compared to the bloated military-industrial complex, which is draining our nation of its lifeblood, a huge threat to the continued existence of our nation. (Many other empires collapsed due to military overextension and concomitant domestic rot.) Our public servants, too, get a negligible portion of the federal budget, and they’re worth every penny of their underpaid salaries.

The treasonous Repugnican Tea Party House members’ intent in these aforementioned instances isn’t to save us money — it’s to censor/silence NPR (and the Public Broadcasting System), to deny women their right to self-determination of their own fucking uteri, and to destroy every last governmental hurdle to complete corporate control of the nation.

It’s about the wingnuts in the U.S. House of Representatives throwing huge chunks of red meat to their base of plutocrats and “Christo”fascists. (The upcoming House hearings on “the Muslim problem” — remember Adolf Hitler’s “Jewish problem”? — especially are an early Christmas gift to the “Christo”fascists.)

If the Repugnican Tea Party members of the House were serious about tackling the nation’s federal budget deficit that “President” George W. Bush created by giving tax breaks to the rich and the super-rich while wasting hundreds of billions of our tax dollars in bogus warfare, they would make the rich and the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes and they would seriously, meaningfully cut the bloated budget of the military-industrial complex.

Instead, the Repugnican Tea Party is on a campaign to make the United States of America more and more like a third-world nation:

  • Get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency — so that climate change accelerates, making the entire planet resemble the planet in the movies “The Road” or “WALL-E” or “Idiocracy.”
  • Get rid of Planned Parenthood and outlaw abortion — so that we have many more mouths that we can’t feed and many more consumers of the planet’s limited resources, accelerating climate change and other environmental catastrophes.
  • Privatize all of the public schools so that only the children of the rich and super-rich can get a decent education, and institute only right-wing and pro-corporate curricula in what remains of the crumbling, old public school system.
  • Destroy all of the labor unions so that the corporations have no barriers in their mistreatment and exploitation of their wage slaves.
  • Get rid of NPR and PBS — so that the only source Americans have of “news” and “information” is Faux “News” and the other right-wing, pro-corporate media.
  • Continue to ignore homelessness and continue to build gated communities, in which the rich and the super-rich live, protected by their private security thugs, while everyone else lives in crime-infested squalor.
  • Attack Muslims, literally and figuratively — so that we have perpetual enemies/“enemies” and thus perpetual warfare, a la George Orwell’s 1984.

This is some serious shit. Life as we know it — indeed, the very ability of the planet to sustain human life itself — is at stake if we, the people, don’t fight back against the traitors who spend every waking hour calculating how they can destroy us for their own selfish benefit.

We, the people, cannot depend upon the members of what excellent writer Chris Hedges calls the “liberal class” in his book  Death of the Liberal Class.

Members of the so-called liberal class* include such hypocritical cowards as the supposedly pro-labor Barack Obama, who has remained mostly silent while tens of thousands of pro-labor Wisconsinites are in their third week of protests to keep the middle class and the working class in Wisconsin alive, and Vivian Schiller, the CEO and president of NPR who, instead of holding her ground against the right-wing assault on NPR, cut and run in order to appease the right-wing fascists who are out to destroy the nation.

We’re on our own.

No one is going to save us from the fascistic onslaught that we are witnessing now — except ourselves.

*I have a problem with the term “liberal class,” since these cowardly, self-serving hypocrites aren’t actually liberal. They pay lip service to liberal ideals, but their actions and their inaction only help the right wing. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

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Apocalypse right now

Film review

In “The Road,” Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee (above) play a father and a son fighting to survive in a barren post-apocalyptic United States of America where they always are in danger of being hunted by bands of cannibalistic hunters (such as depicted below in another still from the film).

The Road Movie by John Hillcoat

If you’re prone to suicidal ideation during the holidays, then don’t go see “The Road,” one of the bleakest films that I’ve ever seen, but if you are able to gaze into the abyss, as I am (which is why I’m a blogger…), then “The Road” is for you.

“The Road” is a post-apocalyptic tale of a man (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who travel south to warmer climes after some unspecified apocalypse — the aftermath of the election (probably stolen…) of Sarah Palin or her ilk as president, I like to think — has occurred.

“The Road” leaves lots unexplained and has lots of potholes in it, though. In no certain order: It makes no sense how so many humans could survive an apocalypse that even the vegetation and the vast majority of animal life couldn’t survive. Is it really practical or even possible to push a shopping cart along all kinds of terrain? How does the boy have such a strong sense of right and wrong when he was born into the apocalypse? How does the apparently half-blind old man fare as well as he does when the able-bodied, fully-sighted younger man struggles to survive? How do we see a healthy-looking dog at the end of the film when the humans are even eating each other? Wouldn’t any scraps of food that the dog’s owners manage to get go to them rather than to the dog?

There are other holes that I’d divulge, except that it would ruin key parts of the film, which, despite all that it doesn’t explain and all about it that doesn’t make sense, is worth seeing.

The scenes of cannibalism, including the few-and-far-between surviving humans hunting other humans for their meat — and yes, the hunters appear to be the kind of people (survivalist nuts) who would vote for Sarah Palin — are strewn throughout the movie, and most viewers will find these scenes disturbing, but, it seems to me, we Americans cannibalize each other (so to speak) every fucking day. We use and abuse each other without a second thought, and we casually dismiss it business as usual. Everyone does it, right, so what’s the problem? The only reason that we don’t literally cannibalize each other — yet — is that we have such an abundance of fast food, it seems to me.

So to me, “The Road” could be seen just as much as an externalization of the spiritual decay of the common American that exists today as it can be seen as some cautionary tale. The gray wasteland of “The Road” already exists in the United States of America, it seems to me — interiorly, with the exterior only needing to catch up to the interior. Even at this late hour that probably still is preventable, so yes, “The Road” can be, and should be, seen as a cautionary tale as well.

“The Road” also made me think repeatedly of the homeless people within our midst. I live in downtown Sacramento, where homeless people who look like the characters in “The Road” are fixtures. How can we call ourselves civilized when we allow such misery? It’s easy to see how our savagery could indeed lead to something like we see in “The Road,” where we, instead of the homeless people whom we see every day (and take as just a given), are the ones pushing the shopping cart along bleak terrain — if we survive at all.

Which raises the question of whether, when and if the shit ever really hits the fan, it would be worth trying to survive at all. In one scene in “The Road,” Charlize Theron, who plays the man’s wife and the boy’s mother, tells the man that she doesn’t want to just survive.

Which is something that I’ve always wondered about the survivalists, and what you keep wondering as you watch “The Road”: what in the fuck are you surviving for?

Is there more to life than just surviving? Is it only about staying physically alive as long as possible?

That’s the main question that “The Road” asks.

See it and ponder the question.

My grade: B+

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