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Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune. 

Noam Chomsky 

I'm all for celebration. Life should be a celebration to the fullest extent possible. But much has changed in our world. It seems that there are fewer reasons to celebrate as time goes by. Even in victory, however well-deserved, we face grim prospects on many levels. Our reasons for celebration are rivaled, dwarfed even, by the challenges unique to this moment in time.

Climate change is not humanity's greatest challenge (even though scientists predict it may unleash public unrest, cross-border conflicts and mass migration in 20 years, and increase the global surface temperature up to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100).

Neither are pandemics, nuclear proliferation, water scarcity, the Middle East conflict, or many other things you might think.

Our greatest challenge is that our institutions can't resolve any of these challenges, let alone prioritize climate change as the challenge that poses the greatest threat if we don't act immediately. Until we address the crisis of the failure of our institutions to resolve the significant challenges we face, don't expect progress on any of them.

Humanity's Greatest Challenge and Its Solution

Modern society has wandered a long way down a bad road. The status quo that I learned to loathe in the 60s has, in many important ways, only gotten worse. The 60s were turbulent times, difficult times, I never thought I'd come to see them as 'the good old days.' But the new normal in America makes me long for the days when people still had rights and when the little people could overcome through organizing, marching and protesting. Back then we could still make our voices heard in Washington, D.C., albeit with great difficulty. Back then the fascist social control mechanisms were not so robust. Orwell tried to warn us.

We live in an advanced technological society with the power and means to lull us to sleep, and this it does masterfully. All the better to get what it wants from us, abject obedience and unquestioning loyalty, while giving as little as possible in return. In fact, the move is on to, once again, take from the poor to give to the rich – and it will likely succeed for far too many of us are still sleeping.

If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion. 

Noam Chomsky

Many do choose to live in that world of comforting illusion. If you have no control over your fate, what could it hurt to think good thoughts...I suppose.
All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume. 

Noam Chomsky

My living memory includes the jfk, mlk and rfk assassinations, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, Watergate, Kent State, Jackson State, Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes. I have seen the ugly underbelly of our nation bared more times than I can count, and there is one thing I know for sure – that ugly underbelly is still there. It's the one thing that never changes.

Never forget the true character of our government of, by and for the 1%, and never forget that our resistance is key. Someone has to stay awake. And if you are, please wake up the guy next to you. We've got to break out of our slumber while we still have a fighting chance. The 1%'s war on the rest of us is not over. November 6 did not change that.

Two enormous goods have come from the reelection of Barack Obama: the Republicans have been kept out of the WH for at least another four years, and the statement was clearly made to the whole world that all the white racism left in America was not enough to keep history's first black President of the United States from being elected - twice.

What's scary is how close the party of hate and ignorance came to winning the presidency and how much power they still wield in our government. It's not like we spanked them and sent them home like they deserve. I know there is a sense in which it can be viewed that way, but look at this:


Only in the context of modern American politics can this be seen as an overwhelming victory, which in that sense it was. But it is still way too close for me. Look how many of our fellow citizens voted for the worst presidential candidate in history.

Just imagine if they had been nicer or less overtly hateful to minorities, if they had just bitten their tongues rather that blathering on about legitimate rape and such, or if that waiter had not taped the 47% speech Romney gave to his rich asshole backers, or if their candidate had not been a blatant tax-dodger and obvious liar. They could have easily won.

Mitt Romney could have easily won the presidential election if he and his party had realized that they were turning people off, according to Matt Taibbi.

"If they were self-aware at all, Mitt Romney would probably be president right now," Taibbi wrote in a blog post for Rolling Stone late Thursday.

He argued that Republicans' message about financial responsibility could resonate with a lot of people, but unfortunately it is a cover for their belief that women and minorities are "parasites."

Modern Republicans "have so much of their own collective identity wrapped up in the belief that they're surrounded by free-loading, job-averse parasites who not only want to smoke weed and have recreational abortions all day long, but want hardworking white Christians like them to pay the tab," Taibbi wrote. "Their whole belief inherently insulting to everyone outside the tent – and you can't win votes when you're calling people lazy, stoned moochers."

Matt Taibbi: Mitt Romney Would Have Won If Republicans 'Were Self-Aware At All'

Way too many people voted against their own economic interests. Way too many voted out of ignorance, hatred and bigotry and with utter disregard for the national welfare.

We have a number of harsh realities to face in this country: that republicans have any power or credibility with anyone at all, that our voting system is contorted and subject to the manipulation of unscrupulous meddlers, and that no matter who wins the national contest for votes, the 1% and the Military Industrial Complex remain firmly in charge.

There is no way in the American political system to vote against the interest of Goldman Sachs. It’s impossible. Or Exxon Mobil.

Chris Hedges

The conventional view is that the POTUS is the most powerful individual in the world. Only that concept is as misleading as it is arrogant. By the time any president takes office, they are thoroughly obligated to the major financial interests, fully in harness to the Military Industrial Complex and under intense pressure from the 1%, who are the truly powerful in this plutocracy of ours. It's the same for any president. Sadly.
We now know the results of such a campaign and, after all the tumult and the nation’s first $6 billion election , they couldn’t be more familiar.  Only days later, you can watch a remarkably recognizable cast of characters from the reelected president and Speaker of the House John Boehner to the massed pundits of the mainstream media picking up the pages of a well-thumbed script.


That, in turn, ensures two different but related outcomes, both little discussed during the campaign: continuing gridlock on almost any issue that truly matters at home and a continuing damn-the-Hellfire-missiles, full-speed-ahead permanent state of war abroad (along with yet more militarization of the “homeland”).  The only winners -- and don’t believe the outcries you’re hearing about sequestration “doom” for the military -- are likely to be the national security complex, the Pentagon, and in a country where income inequality has long been on the rise, the wealthy.  Yes, in the particular circle of hell to which we’re consigned, it’s likely to remain springtime for billionaires and giant weapons manufacturers from 2012 to 2016.

Tom Engelhardt: How This Do-Nothing Election Did Not (and Will Not) Change the World

This is what Eisenhower warned against in 1961. His worst fears were realized. If we can't solve the problem of the utter domination of our country by the Military Industrial Complex, we will never solve the problem of our broken institutions, hence we will fail to solve our most pressing existential problems: climate change, overpopulation, resource management, etc. If we fail, we die.

The modern republican party, being the party of the plutocracy, is the worst thing that ever happened to this country: worse than Al Qaeda, worse than the KKK, worse than the civil-f'king-war. They have all but destroyed public education. They have jailed, tortured, persecuted and killed millions with their hateful pro-war, drug-war, anti-human, profit-over-people foolishness and their selfish disregard for the common welfare.

They have dismantled unions and attacked the regulatory function of government at virtually every level, giving free reign to the unscrupulous exploitation of the environment and the masses by amoral corporations driven only by greed and profit. They have doomed us to the ever increasing ill effects of climate change and non-renewable resource depletion. They have consistently backed all the wrong and most destructive actions and policies while fighting ruthlessly all who would defend humanity and the earth.

These people are depraved and delusional. They have poured billions into denying global warming and pushing their poisonous anti-science, anti-human propaganda. They have kept us embroiled in unnecessary wars to cynically benefit the “Defense Industry” while draining our national coffers and denying proper funding to programs that actually help human beings who need it.

These are among the most heartless and immoral people who ever lived. The only things they truly believe in are tax-cuts for the rich, the natural superiority of white European racists and profits over people. And from those simple wrong-headed notions flows all the mendacity, hatred and evil that is the modern republican party. That they command such a following is troubling indeed. We don't need to cooperate or compromise with such people, we need to shame them into oblivion. It should be socially unbearable to be a rightwing republican. They should be ashamed to show themselves in public. May their demise as a party and as a factor in society be swift and certain.

Still, there is a limit to how much credit we deserve for not being republicans. After all, they have set the bar exceedingly low. And we as democrats have much to answer for and much to be alarmed about from within our own party. We are not nearly as good as I wish we were at seeing our own flaws and shortcomings. Our party has been up to its neck in much of the worst that we've seen over the last few decades – including unnecessary wars and the shameless ass-kissing of the rich in the form of tax-cuts, corporate welfare and 'get out of jail free' passes. There are democrats, of course, who deserve praise for fighting against the worst of these trends but many more who deserve blame either for enabling the opposition or not fighting them hard enough.

To some degree it matters who's in office, but it matters more how much pressure they're under from the public. 

Noam Chomsky

We need to now be applying such pressure that the gates finally do get crashed. We've run out of time for head fakes, astroturf, faux progress and bullshit. I love democrats, but too many of us wear our partisanship like blinders. There is a lot of crass rationalization and selective forgetting going on right here in our community. This is not helpful. The following is from a recent dkos diary:
In a powerful move so close to the election, America's favorite military man Colin Powell endorsed President Obama for re-election, even though Powell is a Republican and has been courted to run for President as a Republican.
America's favorite military man? Has his pre-Iraq invasion testimony before the UN been deleted from history? Do we now only remember what we wish to? Do we now massage history while it is still warm from the oven? Why not alter it while it's fresh, I suppose.

Then comes another kossack who once railed against the police state, called for revolution and castigated OWS for not being revolutionary enough, who now defends the honor and “exemplary career” of rightwing warmonger, MIC kingpin and neocon hero, General Petraeus. Very strange.

Petraeus is no hero. If anything he's the poster child for everything that is wrong in our deeply delusional, shamefully culpable and tragically misguided warrior nation.

Note: I'm not linking to the examples above for it's not my purpose to call anyone out. These are just offered as examples of how insidious the propaganda is.
People like David Petraeus are not heroes. They are psychopaths. They are why we can't have peace in the world. They are a huge part of why so many people are willing to march their children off to kill or die for Goldman Sachs and Halliburton. Oh the honor of it all!
The fraud that General David Petraeus perpetrated on America started many years before the general seduced Paula Broadwell, a lower-ranking officer 20 years his junior, after meeting her on a campus visit to Harvard.

More so than any other leading military figure, Petraeus’ entire philosophy has been based on hiding the truth, on deception, on building a false image. “Perception” is key, he wrote in his 1987 Princeton dissertation: "What policymakers believe to have taken place in any particular case is what matters — more than what actually occurred."
Yes, it’s not what actually happens that matters — it’s what you can convince the public it thinks happened.


But Petraeus’ crash is more significant than the latest nonsense sex scandal. As President Obama says, our decade of war is coming to an end. The reputations of the men who were intimately involved in these years of foreign misadventure, where we tortured and supported torture, armed death squads, conducted nightly assassinations, killed innocents, and enabled corruption on an unbelievable scale, lie in tatters. McChrystal, Caldwell, and now Petraeus — the era of the celebrity general is over. Everyone is paying for their sins. (And before we should shed too many tears for the plight of King David and his men, remember, they’ll be taken care of with speaking fees and corporate board memberships, rewarded as instant millionaires by the same defense establishment they served so well.)

The Sins Of General David Petraeus

Do not let democratic victory blind you to what's what in our deeply troubled nation. The Military Industrial Complex is still the greatest threat to American democracy and to the prospects of dealing effectively with our many converging crises. Do not praise the MIC's leaders or defenders. Do not be sucked into the vortex of false patriotism, military worship and rightwing propaganda - no matter what flag it flies, no matter how many lapel pins, medals or ribbons it sports. No matter what color they paint it, fascism is still breathing down our necks. And the propaganda is thick.
The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control - "indoctrination," we might say - exercised through the mass media. 

Noam Chomsky

Don Siegelman, Leonard Peltier, Bradley Manning and John Kiriakou are all still in prison. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are not. Unnecessary wars, secret and otherwise, go on unabated. Disgraced neocons still, inexplicably, have a powerful voice in our government. Torturers, war profiteers and financial brigands are still running amok at the highest levels of society. The main stream media is still a corrupt and highly deceptive tool of the 1%. The 1% are still firmly in charge and their class war against the rest of us is still very much on. Big Brother is still compiling data on our every move, climate change denial is still the de facto law of the land and racism is still a big ugly blight on the American soul.
Google's released its twice-yearly transparency report, and there's one message within it that rings loud and clear: the US government is spying on us harder than ever.

Google: Government Surveillance Is on the Rise

Not to detract from our victory at the polls, but it was, in many important respects, superficial. It says good things about us, it shows positive trends, but it only moves the ball a few inches down the field. The future of life on earth depends on our ability to overcome the lies and propaganda, and focus on the truth until it triumphs. We must not let up or relent. They say the truth shall set us free, I say the truth shall save our asses.
In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued - they may be essential to survival. 

Noam Chomsky

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