June 11, 2003
When Is the Last Straw?AOL ran one of its dumbed-down online polls today on whether George W. gets a "thumbs up or a thumbs down." I rarely even look at those things because it breaks my heart to see how clueless the customer base of AOL is, at least the ones who vote in those polls. It always seems to come out even more blindly supportive of "the president" than the polls that are supposedly done with scientific sampling processes, like the Gallup or Harris polls done in conjunction with major media companies. In those the questions are designed to blunt the real feelings of the people (thanks, corporate media). Do you "approve of the job the president is doing?..." yeah, yeah, yeah. Who is this, the FBI?
Tonight I felt curious and wanted to see how many could possibly still believe Bush tells the truth, or just support him blindly on some sort of conformist impulse born out of a deformed survival instinct. You would have to be pretty uninformed, almost secluded from any of the truth about what is happening on a macropolitical level to still believe that Bush is "credible." What could be a more absurd proposition? Painfully absurd. But I have been endlessly amazed at how many people still "approve of the president" according to all those misbegotten polls. So who knows?
This time I voted and then checked the results, and I quote:
How credible is Bush?
46% Not at all 60,497
39% Very 50,981
15% Somewhat 19,651
Total votes: 131,129
How does Bush rate against other politicians?
42% Less credible 54,468
40% More credible 51,783
19% Same 24,751
Total votes: 131,002
Which issue will make Bush most vulnerable in 2004?
67% Economy 86,264
15% War in Iraq 19,209
9% Special interests 11,479
5% War on terror 6,802
4% Civil liberties 4,608
Total votes: 128,362
Since it's a secret ballot, I'm not going to reveal what I voted for. Except to say that my choice won in every case.
This is quite impressive, especially coming from AOL where the "voters" come off like characters from Urban Cowboy. This is from a sampling of people a majority of which believed that Saddam Hussein bombed the World Trade Center right up into the invasion, though there was never any evidence of that connection introduced. So this is a pretty dramatic breakthrough. Could it be that the Bush administration has finally exceeded the tolerance of the American public?
It is not impossible. Given the Bush-Rove axis' unsurpassed capacity to get lies over on the American people, one might resign oneself to their inevitable ability to cover their tracks, to always create one more ever-increasingly spectacular extravaganza to distract everyone from their misdeeds, to create a moving target and always come out the winner.
The string of successes is astonishing, going back to the bogus presidential campaign that presented George W. as something very different from what he really is; through the thuggishly stolen election, which profaned the foundations upon which the Supreme Court was built; through the colossal failure of defense represented by the 911 attacks, and the spin of that failure into a tale of great heroism, which was sung out in unison by all the major media organs. And here we sit, and it's all getting pretty rancid.
There are all kinds of wave forms represented in the progressions of political movements, but one kind of curve could be called a threshold phenomenon. In threshold phenomena things progress inexorably upward until they reach a threshold, at which time the process changes radically. An upward trajectory may reverse. This could be what is happening with the Bush II phenomenon. In threshold phenomena, there is nothing in the initial trend that predicts the later trend.
A fundamental example of threshold phenomena is boiling water. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, 100 degrees Celsius. Under 100 it's liquid, over 100 it's gas. There is nothing in between. The transitional phase when water begins to boil is a mixture of molecules that have reached the boiling point and molecules that haven't. There is no separate state between liquid and gas.
The I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes, says "Uninterrupted increase inevitably leads to decrease." Lightning is a threshold phenomenon. The electrical charges build to a threshold then react upon each other, a spark flies and they change valence.
In spite of the Bush administration's nearly uninterrupted series of victories, it is entirely possible that at any time the bottom will fall out of their house of lies and their game will be up. That's the kind of game they play. It's all based on forcing the sensibilities of their opponents beyond humanly tolerable levels, at least for most people. But not for them. That's why they consider themselves supermen, overmen, because they are ruthless. They are willing to abandon the instincts of humanity and behave as though they were machines, like the Terminator.
This kind of assault, which is the spiritual brethren of the blitzkrieg, is based on surprise, brutality, mercilessness, the will to murder. But it gets over on the masses by means of propaganda, manipulation of the ideas and symbols of the culture.
But when your strategy requires constantly distracting everyone with one more spectacular, horrific or threatening event after another, there is an inherent limit. There is a point at which you can no longer shock or horrify people. How can you outdo 911? Well, the answer to that question makes any sane person shudder. We cannot know what is in store for us next. But whenever the truth of the Bush regime's crimes starts to close in on it, it comes up with something so intense that the population is paralyzed with fear.
It is possible that the regime will unleash something even more outrageous than allowing 911 to take place. But there are risks in that. People may this time actually hold the administration responsible for defending them. This mob has appeared to be expert in assessing risk in the past, but its success is more than anything a result of its willingness to push its agenda relentlessly. They don't even bother to make their lies plausible, they just keep so much going on, it's impossible to catch up to them.
They would rather control by fooling everyone. But they have made it clear that if we refuse to be fooled, they are quite willing to use more forceful measures. The message is clear, it's an ongoing campaign of intimidation from Ashcroft and company. It's a quite well-organized power structure, but its main strength is that it is utterly without ethics. It is pure corporate greed. The assault on the American people, the American social system, has been a relentless multi-front war. They are hammering us in every arena of activity simultaneously.
Someone in conversation recently likened the conditions for the travel industry to "the perfect storm." September 11, the War on Iraq, the recession and finally SARS delivered a series of devastating blows upon the industry like George Foreman, and he likened the industry to a boxer that has been hammered and is staggering around punch drunk and you are wondering when he is going to fall. But somehow the industry as a whole has remained in existence, against all odds.
In the American society at large, the people have endured a relentless, incessant series of blows under Bush. People are punch drunk. But people at times show themselves to be resilient beyond what one could rationally expect. The advantage of being subjected to trials is that you never know your true strength until your back is to the wall.
Of all things I have read lately, the one that most sticks in my mind as though it were a sparkling electrode implanted in my brain tissue, is the interview with Isabel Allende in Counterpunch. The Chileans who suffered a coup on September 11, 1972, were a people with strong democratic traditions. They couldn't believe anyone would have the audacity to overturn their democracy. Thousands of people said to be opponents of the military dictatorship established through the coup were rounded up and murdered.
"It was very sudden," said Allende. "It happened in a day, but we were not aware because there was censorship. All the media was censored and there was now news, only rumors. Also, because we had this long tradition in democracy, we thought that the soldiers would go back to their barracks in a week and they would call elections again. We never - I think that not even the military - expected it to last 17 years and have the brutal characteristics that id had. It was a surprise."
The Chilean coup was orchestrated through the resources and designs of Nixon, Kissinger and the CIA. Nixon, Rumsfeld and Cheney and George Bush Senior's old boss. Kissinger, the guy Bush wanted to head the mini-inquiry he could not totally suppress. These are the same people. They do not take pity. They respect only power. And that is how they must be dealt with. Anything less is suicide.
The Bush II regime has already gotten away with more than I would have ever imagined anyone would even try in America. And there is no reason to think it cannot get worse. There is no reason to think that the Bush mob will restrain itself any more than it feels it has to to obtain its objective. Therefore it is up to us, the people, as always, to reassert our right to self-government.
Here's another threshold phenomenon. Popeye is getting pummelled by Bluto, it goes on and on. Finally, Popeye reaches a threshold. "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more!" He is seized with determination and purpose and only after the transformation of will does he take out a can of spinach and take a hit. But that's only a facilitator. The change of valence was primary, a transformation of will.
No one can predict the future, but it is more or less inevitable that the Bush game of deceipt is going to run out eventually. People will get hip to it and get tired of it. The question is, when will that threshold be reached? The Bush administration is frantically trying to consolidate enough military and police power to maintain power even though a vast majority have finally caught on to them. It's a race against time.
The Bush regime is also racing to get to the next election before people catch on to them and get outraged enough to take action. It has plenty of election manipulation tricks up its sleeve as we saw in the last election. We now see the consolidation of power over the voting machine operating systems by private, Republican interests. There are moves afoot to remove the term limit on the presidency, at which time Bill Clinton had better watch his ass very closely. So it's all a race, for the regime to upgrade its coercive capabilities at a faster rate than the public wakes up to what is happening.
So let's get moving. Pass me that spinach please.