Saturday, December 17, 2005

Oh goodness, where to start?

Digby has some great stuff, as usual. This is about a college senior who was visited by Homeland Security Officers after requesting Mao's Li'l Red Book through a college inter-library loan.

Josh Marshall has been blowing away every possible rationale for the NSA wiretap problem, and really getting to some investigative journalism into what might be underlying why the administration would have tried to get so extremely extra-legal regarding this issue. I reccomend checking his site regualrly over the next few days.

But what has really got my dander up is this must-read from AlterNet. Basically, beecause of what's going on in Ohio right now, we're really screwed. And I mean long term, just straight fucked.

This is the problem, as I see it: There is no motivation for any powerful information establishment organization to attempt to remedy the situation as presented by the three stories referenced above. The idea that there is an unchecked authority in the office of the President, being wielded in extremly undemocratic ways, should be newsworthy. That internal security is focusing on thoughtcrimes and wiretapping willy-nilly should be preposterous and deeply alarming.

But in fact, we have every reason to avoid looking. Keep your head down, mind your own business, don't challenge the boss when he's in a bad mood.

Furthermore, an ineffective opposition tends to promote cynicism and apathy. Unfortunately, right now the Democrats are relying on the press to be hard-nosed investigative journalists and the journalists are relying on the Dems to make a newsworthy fuss. And of course, as everyone should know, newsroom budgets have been being structured along a for-profit model since the 1970's.

So who can show us the way? What type of dramatic action will frustrated citizens gravitate towards? When, in 2006, after the Dems make disappointing gains and the Repulicans have once again started to dominate the political rhetoric of the day, what will be the impulse of the Democratic Party Leadership?

Will people start ot suddenly challenge this ever more powerful one party state? Hell no! People will hew more closely to the party line and work harder to curry favor with the Despots of Dementia, the Cabal of Morons. With no back up, no exemplar of principle, no community of noteworthy dissent, why should any one stick their neck out? There is no reason to.

Yes, I'm a wee bit cynical tonight, but there is no indication that the Democrats recognize the depths of enmity that the ideologues they are facing bear towards Democracy. And though it is an ugly truth, when we step back and consider the indications of such stories as are making the rounds tonight, it must be our conclusion that that is the dynamic at the heart of our current difficulties. And why not?

Are we to be surprised when a culture of secrecy and power turns against Democratic practice? The mistake was in imagining that with the curtailing and exposure of programs like COINTELPRO that we had somehow turned a tide. In fact we had only made temporary gains. There is no doubt that the focus of power in a militaristic society is what I said: secrecy and power. We have had ample warning that the development of information technologies could only prove too tempting to the domineering tendencies of the "domestic security" establishment. Where do we go now? We shout from the rooftops. The prevalence of this activity is what protects us. We have little else. Certainly we are unlikely to hear the Democrats defending the college student in Digby's story. Even if Paul Krugman or Frank Rich writes about this in the New York Times, it will be a story noticed by few and talked about only in passing. But here, I am telling you, is the seed of a terrible thing.

The question, of course, is how far will the authoritarian right take this struggle. Truly, there can be little thought that they would win fair elections next year. But elections are less fair today.

And let me just restate once more that the old families of wealth and prestige are complicit in these dynamics by their passive acceptance of them. There can be a reshaping of the media landscape in this country with a few high pressure meetings, and it is not happening.

Update: Mathew Gross has some very specific thoughts on the matter as well, as does Steve Gilliard, quoted on Mathew's site. I'm going to sleep now, so you can go find out what those very worth-while thoughts are for yourself.

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