Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Terrorism Is a Cost of Empire

[ Jacob G. Hornberger ]
December 29 2009

To justify the federal government’s massive post-9/11 infringements on civil liberties, the proponents of Big Government have sometimes said, “There hasn’t been another major terrorist attack on the United States since 9/11. ”

I have responded with the following: “But if there had been another major terrorist attack, you Big Government advocates would be using that as a justification for even more severe infringements on civil liberties. So, either way you go, doesn’t Big Government win? ”

No one can deny that if the guy on that international flight to Detroit had succeeded in blowing up the plane, the Big Government advocates would be using that as an argument for having the federal government crack down even more on civil liberties.

And isn’t it interesting that the massive post-9/11 crackdown on civil liberties didn’t prevent the guy from apparently almost bringing down the plane. The fact that he failed doesn’t seem to have had anything to do with any security measures taken after 9/11. U.S. terrorism agents apparently even ignored or disregarded a personal warning from the guy’s father about his son’s extremist proclivities.

Even the anti-immigrant crowd is left empty-handed. It turns out that the guy apparently was entering the country legally, confirming what I’ve been saying ever since 9/11: That if people really want to keep out terrorists, they’ve got to put a total ban on foreign tourism to the United States. They’ve got to hermetically seal the United States, just like North Korea does.

Not surprisingly, the pro-empire crowd is using the incident to show why it is more urgent than ever to continue the brutal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and to expand killing the “bad guys” to Pakistan, Yemen, and who knows where else. The idea is that the government needs to keep killing those “bad guys” over there before they come here and kill us.

But as I’ve pointed out for years, the U.S. Empire has become the world’s biggest terrorist-producing machine. The more people it kills over there, the more the ranks of those who wish to retaliate against Americans are swelled.

In other words, the pro-empire advocates say, “We’re over there to kill them before they come over here and kill us. ” But what’s actually happening is this: They’re coming over here to kill us because the Empire is over there killing them.

What this is all about is the maintenance of the U.S. Empire — the “right” of the U.S. government to impose its will on countries around the world. Those regimes that cooperate receive U.S. taxpayer money. Those who refuse to cooperate receive bombs and missiles, or sanctions, embargoes, coups, assassinations, invasions, or occupations.

What the American people need to finally realize is that with Empire comes costs, including:

1. The meaningless deaths of U.S. soldiers. (No, they’re not dying to protect our rights and freedoms here at home but rather to maintain the hegemony of the Empire.)

2. The out-of-control federal spending that is sending our nation down the road to bankruptcy through debt, taxes, and inflation.

3. The constant threat of terrorist retaliation.

4. Ever-growing infringements on civil liberties.

The only way to avoid such costs is to dismantle the Empire, end the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, close all the overseas bases, and bring all the troops home and discharge them. There is no other way. Either keep the Empire and accept the costs, or restore a republic and get peace, prosperity, harmony, normalcy, and freedom.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Blowback from U.S. Foreign Policy

[ Jacob G. Hornberger ] - 2009년 12월 15일
Some people are befuddled over the 5 young American men who allegedly traveled to Pakistan to take up arms against American troops.

The men have been described by high school friends as friendly, ordinary students of Muslim faith who bore no religious prejudice against Christians.

People who know the men are shocked to learn that they had apparently pursued plans to join insurgents in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Of course, the underlying sentiment is this: How could such fine young Americans end up hating their country and its freedom and values?

Isn’t that the standard explanation as to why people in the Middle East commit acts of terrorism against the United States? Wasn’t that the official explanation for the 9/11 attacks?

Or there’s a variation, one that many pro-occupation supporters use even though it is not the official version provided by U.S. officials: The Muslims hate Christians and are on a jihad to kill them.

Such Americans just don’t get it.

It’s not that those five young men hate America for its freedom and values. And it’s not because they hate Christians.
According to the many people interviewed who know the men, there is not one iota of evidence to support either thesis.

Why can’t we just accept the simple fact: Those five young Americans traveled to Pakistan to take up arms against U.S. troops because the U.S. government is occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, killing, torturing, abusing, humiliating, and destroying people and property in the process?

You see, many Americans look at the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and say, “Our government is there to kill the terrorists. If it wasn’t there killing the terrorists, the terrorists would be coming to kill us here in the United States.”

The problem is that such Americans have it backwards.
They think that the terrorism comes first, giving rise to the necessity for invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan to kill the terrorists before they come and kill more people in the United States.

Actually, it’s the other way around.

U.S. interventionism comes first.
For example, consider the brutal sanctions against Iraq during the 1990s, which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.
Consider also U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s infamous statement to “Sixty Minutes” that the deaths of half-a-million children from the sanctions were “worth it.”

Those two things made people in the Middle East terribly angry.

As year after year went by, with the death toll rising in Iraq, the anger began boiling over into rage.
After all, there was nothing that anyone, including Americans, could do to bring the sanctions and continuing death toll to a halt.
In fact, whenever an American was caught delivering humanitarian aid to the Iraqis in violation of the sanctions, he was prosecuted viciously by the U.S. government.

Moreover, fueling that fire of rage was the unconditional financial and military aid provided the Israeli government by the U.S. government, the deadly and illegal no-fly zones over Iraq, and the stationing of U.S. troops near Islamic holy lands.

The rage finally boiled over on September 11, 2001.

Actually, it had boiled over long before that.
In 1993, Ramzi Yousef committed a terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center.

At his sentencing hearing, he angrily pointed not to America’s freedom and values but to U.S. foreign policy, including the brutal sanctions on Iraq that had killed, even up to that point (1993) countless Iraqi children..

The twisted part of all this is that the U.S. government used the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to take the very types of intervention actions it had been doing before 9/11 — the things that gave rise to the anger and rage that had culminated in the terrorist attack in 1993 and then again on 9/11.

By invading Iraq and Afghanistan, the government continued killing more and more people in that part of the world, arguably many more people than the pre-9-11 sanctions had killed.

There is one — and only one — way to restore a sense of normality to our country: Withdraw all U.S. troops from overseas, beginning with Iraq and Afghanistan.

To think that the U.S. government can continue to kill people without incurring the risk of retaliation from people who sympathize with the victims of occupation is folly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Audacity of Hype

The Audacity of Hype
by Richard W. Behan

President Obama's West Point speech was a brutal disappointment. Arguing to escalate the Afghan war, the President simply parroted the exaggerations, deceptions, and lies George Bush used so effectively in launching it.

The similarity, mostly ignored by our mainstream media, was apparent to the foreign press. In Germany the Spiegel Online lamented, "Never before has a speech by President Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America's new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric..."

Mr. Obama's overarching untruth was his claim the Afghan war was a direct retaliation for al Qaida's terrorism of 9/11. That was President Bush's assertion as well, but it is intractably false. The commitments to invade and occupy both Iraq and Afghanistan were made by the Bush Administration within weeks of taking office in January of 2001, many months before the terrorist attacks.

9/11 was not the genesis of our adventures in the Middle East, and it did not call for full scale military warfare. Other nations victimized by international terrorism have always relied on police action to apprehend the criminals, but the Bush Administration meant to overthrow regimes instead: only warfare would accomplish that.

9/11 provided the Bush Administration a spectacular alibi for warmaking, and a heaven-sent opportunity to disguise its long-planned scheme of premeditated, unprovoked military aggression. The opportunity was seized in a heartbeat: a "War on Terror" -- fraudulent beyond any conceivable doubt -- was invented, and trumpeted incessantly for the rest of George Bush's tenure.

Having spoken the overarching untruth, President Obama then repeated the corollary lies: "We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation's resources."

But Mr. Bush's premeditated wars were designed to do exactly those things, and they have been alarmingly successful.

The War in Iraq

We know of a National Security Council memorandum of February 3,2001 addressing "...actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields" in Iraq. We know Mr. Cheney's "Energy Task Force" at the same time was scrutinizing maps of the Iraqi oil fields and lists of prospective foreign oil company "suitors" to collaborate with Saddam Hussein's oil ministry. (Not a single major oil company from the U.S. or Britain was included.) We know the "Future of Iraq" policy development program was underway in the State Department a full year before Iraq was invaded; among other things it designed the postwar deconstruction and privatization of Iraq's nationalized oil industry. So the evidence is compelling: we invaded Iraq to gain access to the country's immense petroleum resources for American and British oil companies.

On December 1, 2009, the day of Mr. Obama's Afghanistan speech, a New York Times story reported the war's success in doing so. The story begins: "More than six and a half years after the United States-led invasion that many believed was about oil, the major oil companies are finally gaining access to Iraq's petroleum reserves." It tells how British Petroleum will soon be operating in the Rumaila oil field, among the largest on earth, which contains an estimated 17.8 billion barrels of oil. Exxon-Mobil and Royal Dutch/Shell will be working in the West Qurna field -- 8.6 billion barrels. California's Occidental Petroleum will be active in the Zubayr field, thought to contain 4.1 billion barrels. Before the end of the year development rights to ten more fields will be auctioned off to the oil companies.

President Obama must have missed the story altogether. "We will not claim another nation's resources," he said at West Point later in the day.

The War in Afghanistan

Waiting on President Bush's desk when he took office was an offer from the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden. It had been negotiated in the final days of the Clinton Administration, a result of the al Qaida attack on the U.S.S. Cole. The Bush Administration refused the offer three times in the nine months before the tragedy of 9/11, as it bargained with the Taliban for pipeline routes across Afghanistan -- a project desperately sought by America's Unocal Corporation. (Unocal has since been absorbed by Chevron/Texaco.) The Bush Administration offered a "carpet of gold" but threatened a "carpet of bombs," and twice during this period the Administration telegraphed its intent to launch a military action in Afghanistan "before the middle of October," if the pipeline negotiations failed. They did fail, on August 2, 2001, at the final negotiating meeting in Islamabad.

Six weeks later, on September 11, Osama bin Laden struck once more. The Taliban immediately sweetened the offer to surrender bin Laden: now they would also shut down his bases and training camps if the U.S. would forego a massive retaliatory bombing of Afghanistan. Still the Bush Administration refused, and on October 7, 2001, the carpet of bombs rained down -- precisely as the Administration had promised long months before the Trade Towers fell.

Soon the Bush Administration installed Hamid Karzai, previously a consultant to the Unocal Corporation, as the head of a provisional government. He signed a contract with President Musharraf of Pakistan for a pipeline across the two countries, and within a year the Bush Administration stood ready to finance its construction, through three federal agencies. And an oil industry trade journal announced "...the United States was willing to police the pipeline infrastructure through permanent stationing of its troops in the region."

But the immense pool of Iraqi crude -- 115 billion barrels -- was the ace of trumps. Building and policing the Afghan pipeline was put on hold when Mr. Bush turned his attention to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

During the presidential campaign, candidate Obama criticized the Bush Administration severely for doing this. Iraq was a "dumb war." The important struggle was in Afghanistan, and success was mandatory.

President Obama wasted little time in pursuing it. Earlier this year he sent 21,000 fresh troops to Afghanistan. Now he'll send 30,000 more, bringing the total to 101,000 in the country. Unannounced and scarcely noticed has been a 40% increase in the number of paramilitary "contractors" in Afghanistan; 104,000 mercenaries are now deployed there.

The United States has built and maintains 102 military bases in Afghanistan: 32 Camps; 37 Forward Operating Bases; 15 Fire Bases; 2 Compounds, one each in Gardez and Kabul; and 16 airfields. The bases blanket the pipeline routes.

Beyond question the "pipeline infrastructure," when it is built, will be adequately "policed."

How "permanently?" Mr. Obama pledged to start bringing the troops home in 2011, but Secretaries Clinton and Gates quickly assured the nation this might amount only to a "handful of troops." It is not meant to be an exit strategy. Mr. Gates said a significant U.S. military presence might remain in Afghanistan for as much as four years or more, depending on "conditions on the ground."

2013 and counting. Afghanistan will have been dominated by an American military presence for twelve years or more.

Does that not constitute, Mr. President, an occupation?

We have already ripped to shreds in Iraq the entire fabric of cultural, social, political, and economic institutions, for the huge and permanent advantage of Exxon/Mobil, British Petroleum, Royal Dutch/Shell, and Occidental Petroleum. Mission, finally, accomplished.

We have also ripped apart Afghanistan, but the situation there has not yet stabilized -- to provide a huge and permanent advantage to Chevron-Texaco. This mission of the Bush Administration has yet to be accomplished.

President Obama intends to finish the job, it seems.

Author's note: This essay is drawn largely from the author's 2008 electronic book, The Fraudulent War, which fully documents the story told above. The book in PDF format is available at no cost here: http://coldtype.net/Assets.08/pdfs/0308The%20Fraudulent%20War.pdf

Richard W. Behan lives and writes on Lopez Island, off the northwest coast of Washington state. He can be reached at rwbehan@rockisland.com

Monday, December 7, 2009

Et tu Obama?

Barak Hussein Obama: A GW BUSH in Sheep’s Clothing
December 7 2009

Et tu Obama?

It is a theatrical irony and Machiavellian hypocrisy to see that the first black US President, Barak Hussein Obama, issued orders to escalate and expand the imperial war in Afghanistan and at the same time embarked on a trip to Norway, after sashaying through the Copenhagen Climate Conference, in order to receive the Nobel Peace Price 2009...A War President dances as if he is a Peace President.

Imagine the pompous backdrop of Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony: a Negro President with blood-soaked hands solemnly accepts the most prestigious prize at the banquet filled with people in tuxedos, gowns, power, and money, while in remote Afghanistan village innocent children are murdered as the worthless collateral damage...and mumbling himself: “I don’t deserve this prize...but, what the heck, Kissinger, a butcher of Vietnam War got the prize, why not me? Heh! Heh! Heh!”

Old habits die hard, typically an imperialist endeavor to occupy other country, control other’s resources, and exploit other people in order to expand the imperial hegemony in every corner of the world.
To conceal these objectives, all the politicians tell lies hiding behind the rhetorical smokescreen and Obama is no exception no matter whether emperor’s skin color is yellow, black, or white...they all lie out of both sides of their mouth.

The only exception this time is that people, Americans and most of people worldwide, feverishly and jubilantly hoped, aspired, and anticipated that Negro’s ascendance to power surely brings some change or at least a change in the hegemonic agenda of the US imperialism.
From the beginning of the Obama’s Presidential inauguration to his war talk at the US Military Academy at West Point, people have kept a slim belief that Obama somewhat brings a change, even though he has kept Bush’s Robert Gates as his War Minister...and slim finally left the room and hope was snuffed out when he declared at West Point that he is surely a Bush the third (III).

If you closed your eyes and listen to the rhetoric that Obama eloquently babbled to the selected audience of the West Point cadets, you could be fantasized that George W Bush was still masturbating in the Oval Office.

Here are some transparent and white lies that he spewed out looking straight ahead into the camera:
“We did not ask for this fight.”
“We do not seek to occupy other nations.”
“We have not sought world domination.”
“We will not claim another nation’s resources.”
It’s not much difficult for you to tell what Obama claimed was a baloney, if you are not too stupid or dumb enough to be called a dittohead.

Obama manipulates to comfort his financially downtrodden people with the slogan, “Afghanistan is not Vietnam” or with a battle cry, “This time is different”, or a meaningless beyond the political maneuver, “We will withdraw our troops in July 2011”.
Obama knows what’s always in vogue in America...911, terror, and fright that haunt and agonize the American people in drove, as Joseph Goebbels once wrote: we must appeal again most primitive instinct of masses.

So Obama reminded the masses:
“New attacks are being plotted as I speak.”
“Afghan War is a war of necessity because of 911 attacks.”
“Unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan.”
Obama’s ass was exposed earlier by his National Security Adviser who said less than one hundred al-Qaeda remain in Afghanistan, as if GW Bush claimed that Saddam Hussein was involved in 911 attacks.

Then, what’s the real agenda?
Why is the US still digging a hole in the graveyard of Empire?
Why is the corporate America spending billions of dollars when Afghanistan is the most poorest country in the world and definitely not a consumer-heaven nation?

For Big Oil in the US, the Holy Grail is to building the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline, the natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Eurasia avoiding the passage through Russia and Iran.
For the Military Industrial Complex in the US, they are the only one not to be a fall guy in the overall recession nationwide and garner big profit from manufacturing the killing machine continuously.

For the Pentagon, Afghanistan situates at the strategic doorstep to watch over the expansion of Russia and China toward the untapped energy fields.
For the Israeli-firsters, like Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, caging Iran with US forces makes sense to prepare for the next war to finalize the hegemonic war in the region where Israel has been enjoying for decades to be the one and only nuclear state.

For the Americans in general, they don’t seem to mind a war at all...imagine to bring those 150.000 soldiers plus the same number of private contractors home on top of 17.5 percent unemployed roaming around the town with a hat in hand? It’s better to see on a TV screen a trickle of plastic body-bags draped in flag with an Obama salute than a load of PTSD-stricken (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) gung-ho killers occupy at every street corner in cities, towns, and villages.
Only few liberal-minded wackos wave an antiwar placard and write a letter to Obama, believing that the President and his ilk ever read his letter.

Considering that Obama has become a serf of above-mentioned oilmen, CEOes, Generals, and Zionists, the US Military will never leave the region, Iraq and Afghanistan, for many decades to come, when you look at the backdrop of growing tensions in the area.
The Pentagon already mentioned about the South Korean model to be formulated in the dozens permanent US military bases in Iraq and why not in Afghanistan where a US poodle sits a president as a yes-man to his master.

It’s business as usual as in Bush era that the imperial projects and corporate rape of country have not altered under the Obama’s change slogan.
Obama only puts on sheep’s clothing over Bush’s flyboy jacket and talks a peace to end all peace, as if President Woodrow Wilson brayed the WWI as a war to end all war.
In any way, the die is cast, Obama now owns the Afghan war and he can’t say any more that he inherited the war from Bush II.
And while dice is still in the air, I would like to bet my ass: Obama is going to be the first Negro president with one-term Presidency and Sara Palin, a Republican buffoon, will be the first female president in 2012.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Addicted to Nonsense

December 1 2009
Chris Hedges

Will Tiger Woods finally talk to the police?
Who will replace Oprah? (Not that Oprah can ever be replaced, of course.)
And will Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the couple who crashed President Barack Obama's first state dinner, command the hundreds of thousands of dollars they want for an exclusive television interview?
Can Levi Johnston, father of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's grandson, get his wish to be a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars"?

The chatter that passes for news, the gossip that is peddled by the windbags on the airwaves, the noise that drowns out rational discourse, and the timidity and cowardice of what is left of the newspaper industry reflect our flight into collective insanity.
We stand on the cusp of one of the most seismic and disturbing dislocations in human history, one that is radically reconfiguring our economy as it is the environment, and our obsessions revolve around the trivial and the absurd.

What really matters in our lives-the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the steady deterioration of the dollar, the mounting foreclosures, the climbing unemployment, the melting of the polar ice caps and the awful reality that once the billions in stimulus money run out next year we will be bereft and broke-doesn't fit into the cheerful happy talk that we mainline into our brains.

We are enraptured by the revels of a dying civilization.

Once reality shatters the airy edifice, we will scream and yell like petulant children to be rescued, saved and restored to comfort and complacency.
There will be no shortage of demagogues, including buffoons like Sarah Palin, who will oblige.
We will either wake up to face our stark new limitations, to retreat from imperial projects and discover a new simplicity, as well as a new humility, or we will stumble blindly toward catastrophe and neofeudalism.

Celebrity worship has banished the real from public discourse.

And the adulation of celebrity is pervasive.
The frenzy around political messiahs, or the devotion of millions of viewers to Oprah, is all part of the yearning to see ourselves in those we worship.

We seek to be like them.

We seek to make them like us.

If Jesus and "The Purpose Driven Life" won't make us a celebrity, then Tony Robbins or positive psychologists or reality television will.

We are waiting for our cue to walk onstage and be admired and envied, to become known and celebrated.

Nothing else in life counts.

We yearn to stand before the camera, to be noticed and admired.

We build pages on social networking sites devoted to presenting our image to the world.

We seek to control how others think of us.

We define our worth solely by our visibility.

We live in a world where not to be seen, in some sense, is to not exist.

We pay lifestyle advisers to help us look and feel like celebrities, to build around us the set for the movie of our own life.

Martha Stewart constructed her financial empire, when she wasn't engaged in insider trading, telling women how to create a set design for the perfect home.
The realities within the home, the actual family relationships, are never addressed.

Appearances make everything whole.

Plastic surgeons, fitness gurus, diet doctors, therapists, life coaches, interior designers and fashion consultants all, in essence, promise to make us happy, to make us celebrities.

And happiness comes, we are assured, with how we look, with the acquisition of wealth and power, or at least the appearance of it.

Glossy magazines like Town & Country cater to the absurd pretensions of the very rich to be celebrities.
They are photographed in expensive designer clothing inside the lavishly decorated set pieces that are their homes.

The route to happiness is bound up in how skillfully we present ourselves to the world.
We not only have to conform to the dictates of this manufactured vision, but we also have to project an unrelenting optimism and happiness.

Hedonism and wealth are openly worshiped on Wall Street as well as on shows such as "The Hills," "Gossip Girl," "Sex and the City," "My Super Sweet 16" and "The Real Housewives of (whatever bourgeois burg happens to be in vogue)."

The American oligarchy-1 percent of whom control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined-are the characters we most envy and watch on television.
They live and play in multimillion-dollar mansions.
They marry models or professional athletes.
They are chauffeured in stretch limos.
They rush from fashion shows to movie premieres to fabulous resorts.
They have surgically enhanced, perfect bodies and are draped in designer clothes that cost more than some people make in a year.

This glittering life is held before us like a beacon.
This life, we are told, is the most desirable, the most gratifying. And this is the life we want.
Greed is good, we believe, because one day through our acquisitions we will become the elite.
So let the rest of the bastards suffer.

The working class, comprising tens of millions of struggling Americans, are locked out of television's gated community.
They are mocked, even as they are tantalized, by the lives of excess they watch on the screen in their living rooms.

Almost none of us will ever attain these lives of wealth and power.
Yet we are told that if we want it badly enough, if we believe sufficiently in ourselves, we too can have everything.
We are left, when we cannot adopt these impossible lifestyles as our own, with feelings of inferiority and worthlessness.
We have failed where others have succeeded.

We consume these countless lies daily.

We believe the false promises that if we spend more money, if we buy this brand or that product, if we vote for this candidate, we will be respected, envied, powerful, loved and protected.

The flamboyant lives of celebrities and the outrageous characters on television, movies, professional wrestling and sensational talk shows are peddled to us, promising to fill up the emptiness in our own lives.

Celebrity culture encourages everyone to think of themselves as potential celebrities, as possessing unique if unacknowledged gifts.
Faith in ourselves, in a world of make-believe, is more important than reality.

Reality, in fact, is dismissed and shunned as an impediment to success, a form of negativity.
The New Age mysticism and pop psychology of television personalities and evangelical pastors, along with the array of self-help best-sellers penned by motivational speakers, psychiatrists and business tycoons, peddle this fantasy.

Reality is condemned in these popular belief systems as the work of Satan, as defeatist, as negativity or as inhibiting our inner essence and power.
Those who question, those who doubt, those who are critical, those who are able to confront reality, along with those who grasp the hollowness and danger of celebrity culture, are condemned for their pessimism or intellectualism.

The illusionists who shape our culture, and who profit from our incredulity, hold up the gilded cult of Us.
Popular expressions of religious belief, personal empowerment, corporatism, political participation and self-definition argue that all of us are special, entitled and unique.

All of us, by tapping into our inner reserves of personal will and undiscovered talent, by visualizing what we want, can achieve, and deserve to achieve, happiness, fame and success.
This relentless message cuts across ideological lines.
This mantra has seeped into every aspect of our lives.
We are all entitled to everything.
And because of this self-absorption, and deep self-delusion, we have become a country of child-like adults who speak and think in the inane gibberish of popular culture.

Celebrities who come from humble backgrounds are held up as proof that anyone can be adored by the world.
These celebrities, like saints, are examples that the impossible is always possible. Our fantasies of belonging, of fame, of success and of fulfillment are projected onto celebrities.

These fantasies are stoked by the legions of those who amplify the culture of illusion, who persuade us that the shadows are real.
The juxtaposition of the impossible illusions inspired by celebrity culture and our "insignificant" individual achievements, however, is leading to an explosive frustration, anger, insecurity and invalidation.

It is fostering a self-perpetuating cycle that drives the frustrated, alienated individual with even greater desperation and hunger away from reality, back toward the empty promises of those who seduce us, who tell us what we want to hear.
The worse things get, the more we beg for fantasy.
We ingest these lies until our faith and our money run out.
And when we fall into despair we medicate ourselves, as if the happiness we have failed to find in the hollow game is our deficiency.
And, of course, we are told it is.

I spent two years traveling the country to write a book on the Christian right called "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America."

I visited former manufacturing towns where for many the end of the world is no longer an abstraction.
Many have lost hope. Fear and instability have plunged the working class into profound personal and economic despair, and, not surprisingly, into the arms of demagogues and charlatans of the radical Christian right who offer a belief in magic, miracles and the fiction of a utopian Christian nation.

Unless we rapidly re-enfranchise these dispossessed workers, insert them back into the economy, unless we give them hope, these demagogues will rise up to take power. Time is running out.
The poor can dine out only so long on illusions.
Once they grasp that they have been betrayed, once they match the bleak reality of their future with the fantasies they are fed, once their homes are foreclosed and they realize that the jobs they lost are never coming back, they will react with a fury and vengeance that will snuff out the remains of our anemic democracy and usher in a new dark age.