The fog of whoa

(Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks)

(Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks)

There are times when the fog of whoa is so thick in my country ’tis of thee it’s hard to know what to say, words feel so trivial. This week has seen the botched lethal injection of a death row inmate in Oklahoma, the arrest of a 6 year-old boy by Israeli soldiers for throwing rocks and the incineration of activists by the fascist regime in power in Kiev. Furthermore, an NBA owner was outed for saying what the rest of the elite really think about us forcing the NBA to implement ghost protocol. While protestors around the globe hit the streets in defiance of soul-crushing austerity measures by the neoliberal cabal, May Day went virtually unnoticed by the American mainstream. Surely, the ruling class could be forgiven for innocently thinking that International Workers’ Day had already been celebrated on April 15th (for international readers, this is the deadline for the American middle and lower classes to pay taxes while the upper classes say an extra prayer that night for their lawyers and accountants). In New York, a school play was canceled so that Kindergarten students could get “college and career ready” per the new acronym du jour from PARCC, the consortium preparing the next wave of standardized tests for the public schools. I think it was Tim Robbins who once said, “You either get busy getting college and career ready or get busy dying.” Meanwhile, the kill list/drone strike program continued unabated in Yemen and the SCOTUS gave the middle finger to affirmative action in Michigan because, after all, the post-racial times they are a changing’…right, Donald Sterling?

LRAD on Liberty Avenue

(Photo credit: flyingmonkeyair)

The homeland continues to make sure we all feel safe and secure when it tucks us in at night. In Los Angeles, the police have contracted with Amazon to create the Large Emergency Event Digital Information Repository (LEEDIR). This perfectly harmless mobile app will allow citizens to send in videos and photos to law enforcement of “any terrorist attack, large-scale emergency, or natural disaster.” The database was a direct result of the Boston Marathon bombings when citizens allegedly overwhelmed investigators with random pics and videos from their smartphones. And so, the normalization of the surveillance state marches on. Since the state cannot logistically monitor every single American at all times, the next best option is to make the people think they can. Another gizmo at the state’s disposal is the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD…no relation to The Lorax) which was first used domestically, in 2009, during the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. The “sonic cannon” capable of inflicting intense pain, migraines and deafness was developed by the military as a response to the USS Cole bombing, in 2000, (hmm, I’m sensing a pattern here). The Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Wynne, once proposed testing the weapon on American citizens before military use, “If we’re not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation.” Now, that’s Donald Sterling-levels of whoa. The police in San Jose, that hotbed of unrest and insurgency, plan to use the LRAD for crowd control and Missouri wants to use the LRAD for traffic control (Florida may use it to keep the elderly out of passing lanes).

globalization and its discontents

(Photo credit: anjan58)

So, with these epic levels of whoa swirling around us in the political sphere, it is no wonder that more citizens have chosen the path of least resistance. However, as citizens in countries around the globe suffering unprecedented levels of unemployment, poverty and insecurity have learned, austerity is no respecter of sovereignty. The struggle against the forces of neoliberalism and corporate-based capitalism have intentionally created this pea soup fog to obscure the fact that the invisible hand of the market is often attached to the long arm of the law used to enforce the “free markets” which the elite love to mythologize. The suppression of the Occupy movement and domestic dissent has left a gaping hole in the public consciousness that is allowing the corporate media to spin the narratives to mainstream America, virtually unfettered. As fellow blogger Systemic Disorder has stated for a long time now, we need to organize and we need to be willing to link arms in solidarity in a manner that transcends borders, ideologies and ethnicities. All of these individual causes are interconnected and share common oppressors. Howard Zinn once envisioned a world without borders, “The world that I envision is one in which national boundaries no longer exist, in which you can move from one country to another with the same ease in which we can move from Massachusetts to Connecticut, a world without passports or visas or immigration quotas. True globalization in the human sense, in which we recognize that the world is one and that human beings everywhere have the same rights.” Whoa, Howard, is that an LRAD I hear in the distance?

_____________

Update: It appears that law enforcement are being required to sign non-disclosure agreements by private, security firms to utilize national license plate databases (LEARN-NVLS) and cell phone spying software (Stingray)…whoa.

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36 Responses to The fog of whoa

  1. carolahand says:

    Beautifully-said, Jeff!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. smilecalm says:

    thanks for looking into truths!
    sadly surprising to me
    how “whatever”
    has become the new whoa.

    Like

  3. Scary. I have to say though, people with cameras as a means of monitoring may actually mean being able to take photos/videos of abuse of power as well. I think Peter Gabriel has a charity which gives cameras to children so that abuse can be recorded. We can only hope civil society realizes the value of human rights. I have to hope so, otherwise I would end up feeling quite mad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Good points, Nicci. The ACLU designed an app to record “stop and frisks” in NYC. The problem is that the mainstream in America is still willing to submit to abuse of police power in the name of “safety and security”. Turning neighbor against neighbor was a hallmark of the Stasi’s seemingly omniscient surveillance powers and one which the American deep state recognizes as effective. This is why education and information via the internet is so critical to debunking the myths the dominant/power culture spew out and, consequently, why control of the internet is such a focal point.

      Thank you for adding to the discussion, as you always do.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, it’s critical to debunk myths. I think divide and conquer rules do bring such divides. Crime and fear of crime or harm seems to be a good way of dividing populations of people, and that’s really sad.

        Like

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        Your writing reminds me that critical thinking is still alive and well…this gives me hope.

        Like

  4. Well, this blog informed me of some technological “security” items I had not heard of. Unfortunately, it does seem many humans are dedicated to creating the worst of our sci-fi futures. As for me, even the Buddhists, as well as many Indigenous people, say we are living during a most negative time. But, consciousness does triumph. And I like the Zinn quote, many years ago, back in the seventies there was actually an organization that issued planetary citizen passports. Yes, I envision a day when around the world all of us who are breaking down this materialistic, capitalistic, corrupt, “free-market,” power mad oppressive governments – when all of the Indigenous drummers and dancers are joined by other progressive, servers of life to dance and drum in a new world of true justice, freedom, and compassion.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. tubularsock says:

    Jeff ……… excellent review of why Tubularsock is on the verge of going crazier by the minute. But I have to admit that the lunacy of “school play was cancelled” was so fucking crazy that I’ve been laughing all the way to the loony-farm. Unfortunately the loony-farm was closed for lack of funds so I’ve been turned away and sent to the subway station to talk aloud to the random passerby. Thanks again for an excellent post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Hey Tubular, At least you have your ULB to fall back on. The rest of us have nowhere to hide. As for those recalcitrant five and six year olds. Give a Kindergartener a school play…and before you know it they’ll be wanting lunch breaks and non-rigorous unacademic time (recess). That buck stops now.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Cheezus!!!! I don’t if I should go ahead and cut my wrist or just wait in hopes that the iron fist will get to me first. I’m going back to bed.

    Very good reading though I missed a few of those stories and I’m a news hound.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Please, no wrist cutting at my blog. I’m pretty sure that would violate WordPress’s TOS. Naps are one of my default coping mechanisms, too…and good music.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was only joking, but sometimes you just don’t wanna get outta bed. The news in the last few weeks has been grim.

        But I love your blog so these that.

        Like

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        I hear you. This past week the whoa levels seemed even higher than usual.

        Hope your writing project is going well. I’ll bet it’s going to be something really special.

        Like

  7. Whoa on this and double whoa on the sonic cannon.

    Like

  8. Jeff, You do cheer me up. Is there truly a difference between “…getting college and career ready or [getting] busy dying” in our world of shock-doctrine whoe? I can’t tell.

    LRAD? Charming. I did realize we were in trouble when our indomitable military went after the dastardly Manuel Noriega with … rock music. Me, I like the Clash, but tastes vary. This looks like the same brilliant tactic on steroids, with even less humor. Sigh. Hell, on the rare occasions when our fearless leaders aren’t making me snarl and swear, they can always make me cringe with embarrassment.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Nifty_Package

    And speaking of leaders … what a rich source of black humore this “LEEDIR ” nonsense will provide us. Maybe. If it’s still safe to laugh.

    And that does remind me. Maybe I missed it, but has there been comment on the fact that, despite worldwide wall-to-wall surveillance, they still haven’t found a great big missing airplane yet. Unless they are lying about that for their own reasons.

    Thank you for such a well-crafted, informative post. If it gives me nightmares, so be it, I’ll live … to do what I can to ‘wage peace’ — in solidarity with all of us who’ve had enough whoa and then some. – Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Bloggers like yourself give me hope. Along with the untold numbers of everyday people doing extraordinary things in the name of peace and justice. We may not hear about them in the media but as economic conditions continue to deteriorate, more people will start to question the myths they’ve been born and raised on.

      Regarding the missing airline, it is a mystery. The only non-cynical explanation I can offer is if it disappeared in the Indian Ocean there aren’t a lot of cell towers out there but it’s hard to believe that satellites couldn’t track it.

      Sleep well and keep writing, Linda. Thank you for all of your support and solidarity.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I vote lying Linda :/

      Like

  9. thank you so much for following and presenting me with the opportunity to discover your wonderful site! Eddie

    Like

  10. lumar1298 says:

    That’s an ideal world, but higher ups don’t want to relinquish control… It’s all about power, money, and control…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Dreams don’t come cheap these days, not that they ever did. Keeping the arts alive and accessible to the public is a form of resistance that I think we both support. In Detroit, the elite bankers tried to loot the public art troves and they succeeded in postwar Iraq.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Wendy Babiak says:

    Excellent summary. I love your tone. Whoa, indeed. It really is all one big meatball. And yes, divide and conquer is their ongoing strategy. We must continue to see through it, and reach out to our brethren. Onwards!

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Hi Wendy, it’s always good to meet more people like yourself who are interested in a brighter future than the one being offered by the dominant/power culture. I liked what I saw over at your blog as well. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Angela Grant says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Wonderfully said! Brilliant minds think alike. :)

    We, as bloggers do need infrastructures to write in united voices and organize around identified priorities. Would love to talk with you more and planned to.

    Like

  13. Jeff, thank you. I learned too many things that I did not want to know about from this post such as LEEDIR and LRAD etc.

    Like

  14. wow. this post takes one a real world psychological journey

    Like

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