Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Watched All The President's Men last night with someone who hadn't seen it. It'd been ages for me, so the film felt fresh as well. Not only is ATPM a time capsule in style and subject matter (remember investigative journalism?), it reinforces how imperial corruption has sharpened.

"Jeez, that Nixon was a piece of work."

"He was a brutal, paranoid fuck," I replied. "Sad thing is, Obama's worse."

Oh man is he ever. Difference is, Obama's smoother. No self-pitying rants from him. Obama makes you feel good about awful things. If you're predisposed to it, that is.

The past four years will do little to dampen liberal spirits. They're already revved up, intent to keep fascist Republicans out of the White House. That no Repub running can match Obama's authoritarian record is beside the point. If anything, it deepens liberal love for Their President. As the year slogs on, this mindset will intensify. By election day, the only way decent Americans can forestall a Nazi putsch is to give Obama another term.

Again, it's a great system for those who own it.

Liberal propaganda is already piling up. On Facebook, claims about the Democrats' progressive nature appear hourly, the most brazen (so far) insisting that Liberals Are Cool. To support this theory, a checklist of liberal social achievements appears. Victories for workers' compensation. Protection for seniors. Civil and voting rights. Reproductive freedom.

Impressive. Thing is, that Great Leap Forward hit the wall with George McGovern's defeat in 1972. Since then, it's been a rightward retreat.

Under Carter, Clinton, and now Obama, the clock has been steadily set back. Policies that would make Nixon blush with excitement have been championed and enshrined by liberal heroes. Small wonder why Obama supporters reach through time to justify their present acquiescence.

Obama's expansion of Bush/Cheney police state measures isn't as sexy as Medicare, though there are those who'll defend surveillance and endless war as well. Recall liberal orgasms over the Bin Laden hit, or defenses for the Just War in Libya. Whatever it takes to elect Democrats. Our sole hope for survival.

Didn't catch the State of the Union speech (or SOTU, which to my weary, dyslexic eyes resembles STFU). What's the attraction? Arrogance and pretense are rubbed in our faces. Adults who buy into this bullshit, or worse, believe it has something to do with them, are tragic souls.

If you're paid to watch and regurgitate SOTU talking points, that's one thing. But to feel that it's your "democratic duty" to watch a president boast and lie as the corporate-owned Congress claps along, all I can say is "Netflix."

Noam Chomsky said that Watergate demonstrated how the system polices itself. Woodward and Bernstein weren't all that interested in COINTELPRO, the FBI's program of surveillance and disruption of dissident groups and figures. They probed Nixon's spying on the Democratic National Committee, an action that stepped on numerous elite toes. Nixon and his henchmen overreached with that operation and paid the political price.

Lesson: Don't fuck with those with serious political power. It's a reason why the Reagan gang got away with Iran/contra. Or Bush/Cheney with the Iraq war. Or Obama with the NDAA. I doubt that Romney or Gingrich will be elected; but if one of them is, he has a lot of ground to cover.

Still, I enjoyed watching the pre-Internet research dramatized in All The President's Men. Imagine, actually poring through books! Lots of them! With hundreds of pages! Jotting down notes and quotes with pen and paper! Countless hours of intensive mental labor!

Who among the eager young devotes that kind of effort to expose today's political criminals? I know of a few with the desire. And of course there's WikiLeaks, or what's left of it. In this age of streamlined corruption, digging deep while keeping pace is the current struggle -- if you'll excuse the retro-jargon.