The Fire This Time
by Bruce Patterson, March 22, 2017
I am the white man, separate and torn apart.
I am the red man, driven from my land.
I am the black man, bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the immigrant, clutching the hope I seek,
but finding only the same old thing.
Dog eat dog, mighty crush the weak.
— Langston Hughes, American poet
The good news is that, of those paying attention, about the only people left in this country who still haven’t noticed that His Highness is not just flea-bit, mangy-dog nasty but lip-strumming crazy are America’s celebrity talking heads: those who ceaselessly break down the surrogate news for us. And now we’re supposed to believe that these very same talking heads that helped make His Highness the Leader of the Free World and the Most Powerful Man on Earth (?!?) are yellowbellied turncoats? That the tattered “failing” remains of our Free Press are now bushwhackers, leakers, liars, stinking liars, dirty rotten stinking liars and the Enemies of the American People? This while, to the exclusion of virtually everything else happening on the surface of this extremely distressed planet, these talking heads are still presenting the crazed babblings of His Highness and his merry band of greed heads, cutthroats and Ayn Randian religious fanatics partnered with demented Confederate leprechauns as the world’s Greatest Show on Earth? With enemies like these, who needs friends?
The Show Biz is just one part of their scam. Before the election, some reputable fact-checkers made a list of 550 times that Trump had uttered verifiable untruths while on the Campaign Trail (his version being more like a travelling one man Medicine Show hawking bonus bargain vials of snake oil elixirs inside interstate nursing home chains stuffed with bedridden, miniature American flag-waving, America Firsters and persecuted Old Testament White Male Senior Citizen crackers of the Unreconstructed sort. No Siree. No more Political Correctness for these ladies and gentlemen. They’re in danger!
Even Hitler and Stalin couldn’t achieve the unanimous Party Unity and Iron Discipline of the “Republicans” under our newest Great Fossil Fuel Leader, and the aforementioned pair stayed busy killing off any and all potential rivals, too, which makes Trump’s accomplishment an even more impressive feat. To hear Trump tell it to the mirror, he’s our True Blue very-high-end knockoff version of Big Brother, the Caped Crusader and Mommy Dearest all rolled into one long Charity Talkathon accompanied by secret code hand signals and lip shapes.
By the way, I was taught in the Public Schools that those who put Party above The Bill of Rights are traitors. Maybe that’s why our zillionaire heirs want Public Schools for Profit. What better way to mass produce predator drones and marching work battalions whistling in cadence than to catch them while they’re as impressionable as newly hatched ducklings? Mussolini graciously granted “Hitler’s Pope” the right to educate Italy’s children, so why shouldn’t we grant the same privilege to our Popes of Wall Street and Armageddon? They know how to make money, don’t they?
What these brave fact-checkers left to our imagination was just how powerful an advantage a pathological liar has when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of people hungry to hear what they want to hear and opposed to hearing anything else. You know, the endearing American model of every ruling junta’s perennial favorites: Citizens John and Judy Knucklehead.
“You want more coal miners living the good life in your Historic and now “All-American” home town? No problem. You want a great glorious wall to keep you safe? Got you covered. Want more cheap oil for your toys and gadgets? Want clean, safe and affordable ENERGY for generations to come? Got you covered, sisters and brothers, little boys and girls.”
Tell so many lies you make people’s heads swim like fingerling goldfish getting flushed down a toilet and, after you’ve seized state power in the Banana Republic (without bananas), you can justify just about anything by claiming you’re only “keeping a campaign promise” or, better yet, “defending national security.” After scratching their lopsided chins and cauliflower ears, and conferring in thick-tongued, whistling whispers, the Knuckleheads fall for it. Bottom line: ruling according to society’s lowest common denominators—ignorance, cowardice, greed, vanity—means most everything you do will be taken as a step up or, at worst, a step sideways.
It’s no accident that all of the 20th Century’s great butchers were pathological liars. The same goes for today’s menagerie of lesser butchers. If you wish to bag pigeons, toss them some chicken feed. But if you want pigeons eating out of your hand, build them a comfortable cage. Any rooftop slum kid knows that.
“Don’t you dare open that closet, Citizen Jane,” warns the Thought Policeman inspecting her house for Unauthorized Leaks. “Only I can save you, but first you must avert your eyes,” says the wolf to the newborn lamb. “If God did not wish them to get fleeced,” testifies Mr. Scratch in his court brief, “God would not have made them sheep.”
There is no damned lie more lowdown than the Myth of a Just World: the confidence that everything happens for a reason and everything is, in the final analysis, A-OK by you. Assuming, that is, “we” could ever get rid of THEM. It’s an intellectual construct so lacking in merit that its real meaning is in what it says about individual (and mass) psychology: it’s a “defense mechanism.”
“Your son was killed in the war. He died instantly.”
“At least he died doing what he loved,” says some grieving relative at the wake. A comment immediately followed by the suspicion it’s a lie and that, in real life, he’d had absolutely no desire to die so young and so gruesomely for such bullshit and so far away from home. The first response is a defense mechanism, the second is a logical response that’s much closer to the truth.
Since demagogues “project” their own mob’s vices onto some “alien” group, scapegoating the weak is the hammer in their toolbox. When a group or ruling clique stoops to attacking problems where there are none—“problems” in the form of some innocent minority that’s without allies and hopelessly outgunned, that’s when you know you’re dealing with scum-sucking bottom-feeders. And remember that nobody has ever instigated a pogrom, a dragnet, roundup, massacre, genocide or shooting war in the name of Satan.
Then there’s Diversion. “Keep your eyes on the pea, ladies and gentlemen. Three walnut shells, one pea—keep your eyes on the pea,” urges the grifter after you’ve placed your bets and he’s letting his hidden fingers do the walking.
While our puffy Pepe La Tweet is busy profiteering, boosting his TV ratings and scandalizing the civilized and scientific worlds, two truly terrorizing bits of information came over the wires recently. This last summer in various parts of the Arctic Circle, the highest temperatures reached between 20 and 30 degrees above normal. It’s now summer at the bottom of the world, and off the Antarctic Peninsula a crack has opened in the Larsen C ice shelf that’s now more than 100 miles long, at least 100 yards wide, over 1,700 feet deep and advancing at rate of approximately 1,500 feet per day. NASA reports that the ice sheet is also fracturing and is doomed to very quickly disintegrate, leaving two of the glaciers leaning on it without support.
Reading those horror stories made me think of old Anderson Valley and the forests I’ve worked in, and I had a vision of today’s AV kids living long enough to see the redwoods, and the rest of the Pacific Montane Forest, bursting into monster firestorms that eventually dry up the rivers and creeks and leave behind wastelands fit for only scrub, methane-tolerant insects and whatever preys on them.
And here we are now with another Texas zillionaire transnational oilman, international racketeer and global earth rapist and Climate Denier as our new Secretary of State. . . Anyway, when it comes to winning battles, the only tactic more valuable than Diversion is Surprise: real, make-um-shit-their-pants surprise, that is.
But what if our Teflon Moses is just a Useful Idiot and the real brains of the outfit is this “Call me Darth Vader” Bannon critter’s old college Fraternity led by old Bannon, of course, his family and business associates? What if it’s the infamous Skull and Bones Secret Society all over again? My god, what if it’s Animal House—Animal House full of bright-eyed boys with bellies full of rotgut Tennessee Whisky and tripping on bad Acid? Anybody know the dirt on that roly-poly zillionaire Wall Street banker/pirate who fashionably forgets to comb his hair? How about the now disgraced Lt. General “Holy Roller” Flynn and that nasty-proud, sawed-off cracker white man’s civil rights attorney calling himself Beauregard? Resurrecting a stiff like Beauregard is one great way to finally calm racial tensions in this country seeing how the whites are finally fed up with getting screwed over by the blacks and the Mexicans, the Muslims, the Chinese and NATO.
You want Diversion? Drive wedges between Jane and Susan, Peter and Paul, Joseph and Mary. Keep everybody guessing about who or what they can trust and where and when and whom will get targeted next and they’ll forget all about your motley crew. Wish to make people entirely self-possessed and preoccupied? Make them think they’re carrying targets on their backs.
Since the devil’s in the details (who gets what?), forget the details or, better yet, invent “new” details: “This just in! Our New Most Powerful Man on Earth seen walking in his bathrobe and red baseball cap on the clouds above his Exclusive Perros-los-Malos Country Club. VIP partygoers awestruck—Juan the gardener drops to his knees, crosses himself and prays,“Ave Purisima Maria…”
If you keep dirty books, hide them. If somebody catches you lying, call them liars. Caught stealing, accuse your victims of being even worse thieves—they owe you! Get caught cheating at cards, accuse your accuser. Get caught betraying your country, claim you’ve been blackmailed and everything you’ve done is only for love of family, your wonderful, innocent and disadvantaged family.
Just because Fossil Fuel Man is an evolutionary dead-end, a biological cull so herd-like dull that no one will ever wish to remember Him, that doesn’t mean we personally hafta be so oblivious. Only the truth about our roles in society can point us toward redemption and ecological salvation. We absolutely have the means but, as of yet, lack the collective Will. Only apprehending the real live truth can make us fully human again. Our birthrights are not just worth saving—they’re all we’ve got and it’s time started winnowing the seed from the chaff. If necessity truly is the Mother of Invention, we’re running awfully damned late and now’s the time to prove it beyond any reasonable doubt. A Bad Conscience makes a resentful servant and pitiless master, and it’s not like we’re helpless. Not like we don’t know what needs doing.