On the loose in Obamalandia:
Days of Dementia (‘Is the war over yet?’)
Yes, Baracko, the economy is booming again for Chinese-made mechanical hamsters but homelessness is the real growth industry.
By John Ross / The Rag Blog / December 7, 2009
TRINIDAD, CA. — Each Friday afternoon since Bush’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003, my old friend Janine V. has been standing with Women In Black here near the 101 off-ramp as a silent reminder of the on-going Bush-Obama genocide in the Middle East.
In the early days of this heroic now-nearly eight year-old vigil, patriotic motorists, often on their way to the local Tsuri Indian Casino to swill at the Firewater Lounge, would hurl invectives and sometimes loaded beer cans at the women. But as the war settled into a daily grind and the U.S. body count climbed incrementally towards 5000, the insults and the beer cans diminished and a few locals now even honk their horns in support.
In the seven years that Trinidad Women In Black have held their ground by the off-ramp, the participants, never spring chickens to begin with, have grown older and one now suffers from dementia. Now when the women stand, she turns to Janine and often asks if the war is over yet?
Barack Obama’s nationally televised December 1 declaration of renewed jihad against Al Qaeda’s estimated 100 Afghan warriors that will elevate U.S. troop deployment to nearly a quarter of a million in Afghanistan and Iraq (plus another quarter million mercenary contractors) will keep Trinidad Women In Black in business for at least another decade.
The President’s goal of “disrupting, dismantling, and destroying” the Taliban-Qaeda Axis of Evil is calculated to tickle America’s terrorist nerve. As his grip on the wheel of state grows slack, Obama’s presidency increasingly depends on harpooning “America’s white whale” as Robert Wright recently dubbed Bin Laden in a New York Times op-ed piece. Al Qaeda’s spiritual leader, a Frankenstein fabricated by Reagan’s CIA, probably died years ago dragging his dialysis machine over the Khyber Pass.
Robert Fisk notes that Obama-man’s West Point kowtow to the generals parallels a similar Soviet troop build-up way back in 1980 that was designed to train Afghan security forces to confront the CIA-financed Muhajadeen. We all know how successfully that plan backfired.
With Blackwater loading up the drones in Pakistan, it’s only a matter of months before General McCrystal marches into Pakistan to wipe out the Taliban’s safe havens and the Commander-in-Chief puts another 50,000 boots on the ground to secure that nuclear-empowered nation against “international terrorism.”
Factoring in another 120,000 “crusaders” bogged down in Iraq, Gates & Company is talking about a bigger army — actually U.S. economic calamity has translated into box office business for Army and Marine recruiters who are filling out their quotas for the first time since the 9/11 rush to vengeance thanks to the American “downturn.”
Predictably, the chickens keep coming home to roost. Major Nidal Hasan’s November 5 homicidal rampage at Fort Hood, the most dastardly act of “Islamic terrorism” on U.S. turf since 9/11 as the Glenn Becks vomit, is indeed an ominous sign. Driven by years of hearing out the horror stories of returning soldiers, the Major, a military psychiatrist and a devout Muslim who recoiled at the thought of deploying to Afghanistan to kill other Muslims, created his own horror story. Fort Hood is home to such time bombs. In the month since Major Hasan opened fire with a weapon bought a few yards off base, at least two other Fort Hood soldiers have been killed in soldier-to-soldier violence.
In the first nine months of 2009, 10 soldiers have commited suicide on base — 76 in all at Fort Hood since Bush and his cronies declared war on Iraq. Soldier suicides in 2009 will again set a record (over 140) as they have every year for the past four. Another 1000 members of the U.S. Army are thought to have attempted suicide — numbers are not available for other branches of the armed forces.
Meanwhile, domestic violence is pandemic on military bases. During a visit to Fort Bragg North Carolina, the home of the Center for Special Forces and the much-redeployed 81st Airborne a couple of years ago, I was told of soldiers who returned home at noon and by nightfall had massacred their entire family — local newspapers no longer ran the stories. Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, and Fort Campbell Kentucky have the highest redeployment rates in the military.
The havoc that the Bush-Obama wars continue to wreck upon military families is of course a mere drop in the bucket of blood that these criminal aggressions have poured upon the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan, a million of whose citizens have been slaughtered and maimed and exiled since 9/11. Despite the deadly outfall and the palpable suffering now so evident on the streets of America, Congress continues to allocate hundreds of billions of increasingly worthless greenback dollar bills to sustain this ghastly genocide.
I have been on my annual Day of the Dead pilgrimage to the land where my father croaked. I huddle in the kitchen hard by the carcass of this year’s dead bird and try to divine the future from its picked-over bones. The task is not a thankful one. A full year after Obama’s geyser of hope drenched North America from sea to stinking sea, the forecast is as bleak as a Cormac McCarthy novel. It’s not just the venomous particulate drizzling from those few pulp mills and coal-burning plants that are still operating that batters the physical contours of our befouled lives.
Official unemployment is running 12.5% in California and 15% in Michigan but the real numbers are probably twice that if those who have given up looking for work or whose checks have run out or who are working part-time for less pay are counted into the mix. Despite Obama’s scripted optimism that the “economy is growing again,” there are currently six applicants for every job available and those in the know anticipate double-digit unemployment through 2012 — the end of the world on the Mayan calendar.
A million more workers will soon have no income whatsoever when Congress, in an interlude of maximum callousness, fails to get around to extending their unemployment benefits while it debates the pros and cons of spending billions more that could nourish social lifelines to kill civilians on the ground in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. No dear, the wars are not over yet.
Thanksgiving 2009 was a particularly cruel season for the homeland. Fifteen percent of your fellow citizens — one in every seven families — are struggling to put food on the table if the mal gobierno‘s indicators are to be believed. According to the numbers, 17.5 million Americanos suffer “food insecurity,” that is they have been forced to reduce their daily caloric intake at some point in the past year.
Such belt tightening has not much slimmed down the poor. The physique of poverty is now corpulence — 34% of those living under the poverty line are considered obese and Precious is the new Miss America. And as with every set of stats cranked out by Obama’s bean counters, those of darker hue suffer the brunt of deprivation — 70% of those families who go to bed hungry every night are brown or black. Meanwhile, Wall Street, a gated community where white skin privilege is rewarded, is making a killing again.
The turkey bones yield apocalyptic visions of melting icebergs and Palin/Dobbs in the White House. The portents for this dynamic duo are particularly favorable. As the self-styled “rogue of the right” zooms to the top of the airport best-seller list, Lou Dobbs gloats that times are so tough for “illegal aliens” (read Mexicans) that they will soon be driven from the country — impoverished families back in hardscrabble Michoacan and Oaxaca are now sending relatives stranded at the bottom of the Yanqui Depression money from home. Remittances from Mexican workers in El Norte, the lifeblood of the Mexican rural economy (10,000,000 Mexicans are dependent on them), dipped 35% this October.
To spice up this end-of-the-world scenario (2012 is boffo at the Multiplex), plague stalks the republic. The Center for Disease Control reports 6,000,000 case of H1N1 in 48 out of 50 states. The swine flu is spread exponentially by infected workers obligated to punch in and send their kids to school every day because they have no paid sick leave — 40% of all U.S. workers suffer this affliction. Even those ostensibly covered do not stay home for fear that they will lose their jobs. The New York Times reports on one Wal-Mart worker sent home after he turned pale on the job and who fell gravely ill with the swine flu but failed to visit a doctor because he couldn’t afford the co-pays on the mega-corps’ health care plan.
Nonetheless, this worker’s forced furlough may well have saved his life this past Black Friday when hordes of berserk consumers are wont to break down Wal-Mart doors and trample the help underfoot in their eagerness to spend money they do not possess. This year’s toy to die for is a Chinese-made mechanical hamster at $17 a crack (one to a customer), a no-nuisance substitute for the real thing.
Yes, Baracko, the economy is booming again for Chinese-made mechanical hamsters but homelessness is the real growth industry. 2010 is expected to be a peak year for foreclosures — business is percolating for the Flint, Michigan, sign maker in Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story who has landed a contract from local banks to churn out “Foreclosure” signs.
As evictions soar, the homeless overrun the shelters. Perhaps the cruelest twist of the holiday season was the 90-day jail sentence meted to an elderly rancher in San Luis, Obispo, California, for housing a score of homeless clean-and-sober vagrants on his property.
The mood of the country as the Yuletide season heaves into view is decked with dark resentment. One AP story reports that food stamp eligibility workers in Detroit fear for their safety. Irritated applicants herded into long lines that snake into the street throw chunks of concrete through the windows. The cops are called to control unruly clients.
The rule of thumb posits that hard times drive the underclass together. Class distinctions become viscerally clear and solidarity flows. But given American exceptionalism, this is not a likely trend in Obamalandia.
This is a nation where the Great Unwashed have been coerced by vulture consumerism that puts them at each other’s throats over mechanical hamsters. American workers have become independent contractors battling with their neighbors over scraps. Most of us do not even know who lives on the other side of the sheetrock. Racism has raised the walls even more precipitously in this post-racialist year. Hate crimes are on a roll — how about the thug who butchered a Florida Greek Orthodox priest because he thought he was a Muslim? President Obama is said to have spiked at nearly 400 death threats a day.
Recent revelations by those who purportedly speak for the Left have not been helpful. Moore’s Capitalism seriously soft soaps criminal capitalism. The 1950s and ’60s were hardly the working class paradise the filmmaker portrays — strikers were beaten, workers were red-baited and blacklisted, black people dangled from poplar trees, fieldworkers were poisoned by the Agribiz kings. The bosses may have seemed like so many benevolent Scrooge McDucks to Moore when he was a lad growing up in a Catholic Caucasian industrial elite household but he is indeed spreading a white lie.
Michael Moore’s egregious absolution of Barack Obama for his complicity in beefing up the fat cats while the rest of us grovel for carfare is Capitalism‘s most painful flaw. MM affirms that the Obamanator’s candidacy so discombobulated the rulers that they threw gobs of money at him out of fear of what he represented and abracadabra he became the first Afro-American president of these United States.
We see Obama surrounded by jubilant throngs. We do not see the money. We see nothing about how the first Afro-American president feathered the nests of the Wall Street vultures. Nothing about the sleazy White House backroom deals with pharmaceutical industry creep Billy Tauzin to greenlight the steepest rise in prescription drug prices in 20 years as a prelude to Obamacare. Nothing about dishing up the whole enchilada to the insurance vampires so they can more commodiously gouge the aged and infirm.
Since I was diagnosed with liver cancer eight months ago (now in remission), I have accumulated a foot-high stack of bills and am dunned daily to pay off California-Pacific Medical Center to the tune of $34,000, nearly five times my yearly social security checks — from which Medicare deducts a hundred bucks a month to allegedly cover my health needs.
Obama’s health care pogram has never been about reforming a deformed system to treat the medically indigent. Obamacare was conceived to insure reelection and the health of the Democratic Party and the insurance tycoons. Let’s face it. We’re all on the Jack Kevorkian health plan.
Another apostle of the Left I bumped into during my recent foray in Obamalandia was Amiri Baraka who as Leroi Jones I sometimes ran with back in the Village during the bebop ’50s. Performing before a packed house in an auditorium named for a notorious San Francisco sweatshop at the main branch of the SF Public Library, Baraka read a love letter to Obama written soon after the election of the first Afro-American President and reviled those on the Left who continue to take to the streets to protest his tainted policies, as “infantile anarchists” and closet racists.
The former Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Stalinist poet laureate of New Jersey (a dubious distinction of which Amiri was stripped after claiming that 1400 “Hymies” employed at the World Trade Center stayed home on 9/11 day) raised eyebrows by hailing Obama’s appointment of Rahm Emanuel, a member of the Israeli Defense Forces, as his chief of staff, a clever trick on the Zionists Baraka called it.
He urged his audiences to continue to vote vote vote for fork-tongued Democratic candidates. We have to grow the unlikely coalition that elected these charlatans! Other evasions and foolishness followed. Baraka was not much alarmed by his president’s firing of Van Jones, the first Afro-American green jobs czar.
I was one of the first to take the mic for q’s and a’s. For 22 days prior to Obama’s stirring inauguration on the Capitol mall, I pointed out, the Israelis had rained death down on Gaza, slaughtering 1400 civilians — 360 more have died since — and then the Zionists judiciously paused for Barack’s historic oath-taking. Throughout this grotesque bloodletting, Obama (and Emanuel) remained stonily silent. All they had to say were three little words: Stop the Killing! Why had they not responded?
Barraka was irritated by my question and waved me away from the mic. Then poet Michael McClure pointed out that Amiri had not once mentioned the other elephant in the room, Afghanistan. “He’s trying to get us out of there,” the poet blathered. Sure, by sending in another 30,000 dead soldiers, we yodeled back.
“Is the war over yet?”
With Barack Obama calling the shots, and lefties like Michael Moore and Amiri Baraka defending him, the Trinidad Women In Black will all be slipping into dementia before the war is over.
[“On The Loose In Obamalandia” is the first dispatch from the North American underbelly as John Ross embarks on a monster 2010 book tour presenting his latest cult classic El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption In Mexico City from sea to stinking sea. The author continues to seek midwest, southern, and east coast venues for late March and April. Any bright ideas? Write firstname.lastname@example.org.]