“Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.”
by Hannah Arendt
As Chechnyans this week looked out their windows and shushed their children to listen for the unmistakeable buzz of the Predator drone, the talking heads in the mainstream press were all a twitter over the fact that the surviving brother and alleged Boston Marathon bomber was not Mirandized by law enforcement when taken into custody. Once again, the forest burns while an olive tree is shaken in the hopes that an orange will fall out. The Miranda statement is basically the justice system’s polite way of saying you really should shut the puck up because we can and we will use your words against you. What 19 year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev needs now is not merely his rights read to him, he needs a legal advocate, aka an attorney, and he needs it STAT. Tsarnaev needs Lynne Stewart but unfortunately she’s serving time in federal prison for standing on the side of the poor, dispossessed and Muslim, more casualties of the unending War of Terror™. Tsarnaev has been surrounded for the past week by alpha males who feel they have the moral winds at their backs because America is Boston Strong©. He needs to not just remain silent to avoid self-incrimination, he needs witnesses to his detention. Legal and journalistic representatives who will document every word spoken to him, ensure that his rights are not further violated and report the interactions in an open courtroom vis-à-vis Bradley Manning. Even if Tsarnaev is completely and one hundred percent guilty and acted without any outside influence, he is a naturalized American citizen (like myself) and is entitled to legal counsel. Until then, cold case investigators everywhere may have found the ultimate patsy. For all we know, Tsarnaev and his brother were the ones who took out JFK from the grassy knoll, flew Flight 77 into the Pentagon before ejecting at the last minute and double-handedly rigged the elections in Venezuela.
While Americans were following the bouncing ball and clapping like trained seals, our newly crowned Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, pledged billions of American
pesos dollars this week in military aid to Israel. According to The Guardian, this would include “the sale of KC-135 aerial refuelling tankers, anti-air defence missiles and tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey troop transport planes to Israel.” These weapons of kinda mass destruction will no doubt be used in “self-defense” when the big, bad Palestinians huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down of a nation that has thermonuclear capabilities and forces its subjects to submit to degrading checkpoints to move from one colonized area to another for work and survival. For those students who were fortunate enough not to have lazy, good-for-nothin’, union loving teachers, they will surely be able to read between the lines and draw the conclusion that all of this military hardware will not be used to make the life of the Palestinians in the occupied territories any easier. In fact, its a good chance that one of those tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey troop transport planes or anti-air defense missiles will have the name of a Palestinian man, woman or child on it, a notch in the belt of Israeli supremacy and domination of an endangered and indigenous population that is clearly outgunned and virtually defenseless in its ability to protect its civilian population. But end times Christians can keep telling themselves that Israel has carte blanche to oppress and subjugate the Palestinians because they are the “chosen people” of God, while conveniently ignoring the part of the Bible that states, “Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Fortunately, there are people of this Earth who have not forgotten the worn paths.
Finally, a fellow blogger, The Secular Jurist, shared a report that debunked the “fuzzy math” that formed the basis of the central premise of austerity which claims that “high debt stifles economic growth”. The critique by Thomas Herndon, a 28 year-old graduate student at UMass, of Reinhart and Rogoff whose Hahvahd study the proponents of austerity, such as Paul Ryan, have used as a justification for privatization, deregulation and massive social spending cuts found that “coding errors, selective exclusion of available data, and unconventional weighting of summary statistics lead to serious errors that inaccurately represent the relationship between public debt and GDP growth among 20 advanced economies in the post-war period.” Hmm, sounds like another report I’ve heard of…one that was used as a rationalization for No (Wealthy) Child Left Behind, the most punitive federal education initiative ever devised in the dark hearts of our nation’s think tanks. With all due respect, the errors in coding, exclusion of data, and unconventional weighting were not “miscalculations”, they were deliberate obfuscations intended to further serve the narrative being propagated by our nation’s storytellers, i.e., it was good old fashioned propaganda and many citizens have bought into it because it offers a scapegoat, namely, irresponsible debt accumulators who expect the government to bail them out such as the too big to jail banks and corporate jolly green glowing giants, ahem, I mean the “deadbeat” mortgage scoffers, public sector workers and pensioners, i.e., the middle class of most developed countries. The theater curtains on the Age of Austerity™ are unfurling in America as it has it in Europe. The poor, well, they’ve always been the gum under the wing-tipped shoes of the uber-wealthy, global capitalists. In this stage production, every one has a role to play and every voice counts but it will take moral courage and unwavering focus to earn our kleos, our songs of songs.
Peace to all readers.