written by Chris Hedges. TruthDig
Empires communicate in two languages. One language is expressed in imperatives. It is the language of command and force. This militarized language disdains human life and celebrates hypermasculinity. It demands. It makes no attempt to justify the flagrant theft of natural resources and wealth or the use of indiscriminate violence. When families are gunned down at a checkpoint in Iraq they are referred to as having been “lit up.” So it goes. The other language of empire is softer. It employs the vocabulary of ideals and lofty goals and insists that the power of empire is noble and benevolent. The language of beneficence is used to speak to those outside the centers of death and pillage, those who have not yet been totally broken, those who still must be seduced to hand over power to predators. The road traveled to total disempowerment, however, ends at the same place. It is the language used to get there that is different.
This language of blind obedience and retribution is used by authority in our inner cities, from Detroit to Oakland, as well as our prison systems. It is a language Iraqis and Afghans know intimately. But to the members of our dwindling middle class—as well as those in the working class who have yet to confront our new political and economic configuration—the powerful use phrases like the consent of the governed and democracy that help lull us into complacency. The longer we believe in the fiction that we are included in the corporate power structure, the more easily corporations pillage the country without the threat of rebellion. Those who know the truth are crushed. Those who do not are lied to. Those who consume and perpetuate the lies—including the liberal institutions of the press, the church, education, culture, labor and the Democratic Party—abet our disempowerment. No system of total control, including corporate control, exhibits its extreme forms at the beginning. These forms expand as they fail to encounter resistance.
The tactic of speaking in two languages is as old as empire itself. The ancient Greeks and the Romans did it. So did the Spanish conquistadors, the Ottomans, the French and later the British. Those who inhabit exploited zones on the peripheries of empire see and hear the truth. But the cries of those who are exploited are ignored or demonized. The rage they express does not resonate with those trapped in self‐delusion, those who continue to trust in the ultimate goodness of empire. This is the truth articulated in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and E.M. Forster’s “A Passage to India.” These writers understood that empire is about violence and theft. And the longer the theft continues, the more brutal empire becomes. The tyranny empire imposes on others it finally imposes on itself. The predatory forces unleashed by empire consume the host. Look around you.
By Robert Lipsyte, Tomdispatch.com
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If you are still passionately following football or, worse, allowing your kid to play, you may just be an old‐fashioned imperialist running dog. Not that all football fans are bloodthirsty hounds feeding off the crippled hindquarters of the dying animal of empire. Some are in a vain search for a crucible of manhood that no longer exists. Others are in pursuit of a ticket out of a dead‐end life.
Whatever your reason, this is the Super Bowl to watch, even if you are among those who have made an effort to disregard the game since high school jocks shouldered you in the halls.
This is the Big One. Maybe the Last Big One. Never before have so many loose strands of an unraveling empire come together in a single event accessible to those who mourn or cheer America.
Let’s start with the conceit that this game is the only super thing we have left. Super power, super economy, super you‐name‐it… gone. You can beat the Bushes for that, but we’re all out of super — except for the Super Bowl. That celebration of an all‐American $9 billion industry (estimated because the National Football League has never opened its books), not to mention millions more in subsidiary and dependent businesses, offers us a national holiday that has arguably superseded Thanksgiving (thanks for what?) and Christmas (electronic excess and obsolescence).
Even little Everytrader has a shot here. Without insider connections, you undoubtedly have a far better shot at winning a football wager than gambling in the stock market.
written by Eric Schechter
In the class war, the biggest advantage of the plutocracy lies in the fact that many in the working class are unaware that there even IS a class war going on, or are unaware of its general nature. And the plutocracy would like to keep it that way; hence their propaganda machines, their control of the mass media. The struggle over that awareness is the central struggle, because the bureaucracy of brutality would fall without a shot if its lower‐level employees ever woke up and walked out. [By "working class" I do not mean blue‐collar people; rather, I mean all people who do not own the means of production. For instance, that includes me, a college professor.]
This little note was inspired by my seeing this headline in today's Alternet: Corporate America's Plan to Loot Our Pensions Is the Latest Battle in Decades‐Long Assault on the Middle Class. That article and this essay contain no surprises for people who have been awake to the class struggle for a while, but that article may be a good introduction and summary for anyone who has just begun to become aware of the class struggle.
written by Robert Kuttner/ Huffington Post
Once again, the job numbers are dismal. In January, the U.S. economy created just 36,000 domestic jobs, far below the roughly 145,000 that economists had forecast. The unemployment rate fell, to 9 percent, but only because more and more discouraged workers are giving up and leaving the workforce.
The U.S. still has a jobs gap of about 14 million jobs, and that number is increasing as the labor force grows. Counting people who've given up, or who are working part time when they want full time jobs, the real unemployment number is around 17 percent. America now has about 25 million people either out of work or underemployed.
Meanwhile, corporate profits continue to set records. Profits in the third quarter of 2010 were 1.659 trillion, about 28 percent higher than a year before, and the highest year‐to‐year increase on record.
What's going on? Very simply, America's corporations no longer need America's workers.
You don't get to see this kind of thing on TV very often: