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?
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).
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.