U.S. Dictatorship? Propaganda and Hope

December 1, 2011

The past is never dead. It’s not even past…

- William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

What you will not see advertised or discussed on State (Corporate) Media is Canadian Scott Noble’s documentary Lifting the Veil. You may not see it advertised or discussed at alternative news outlets where its subject is critical of the liberal class’s cover up of its own complicity with the government’s marginalization of voices critical of capitalism and U.S. Empire. I will return to this documentary in a moment.

But first, there is what Glenn Beck characterizes as an example of “insanity.”

Corporations discovered that the media’s potential for educating the public was both valuable and profitable. Millions of Americans turn with admiration to see Oprah sitting side by side with celebrities. Thousands believe they can become the next Oprah. Millions know the latest fashion in designer clothes and home decoration or the latest popular model car or iPod. Millions believe they are informed citizens whether they view Fox News or PBS. The U.S. is still a free and fair nation at Fox or PBS; it still offers the best of all possible worlds.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a key cabinet member of the do-it-better- Obama-regime, believes the State news media can do better than it did under the Bush II regime. Despite the State Media’s attempt to block (censor?) Al Jazeera-English in the U.S., apparently, Clinton, along with thousands of Americans, tunes in to Al Jazeera’s website during the Egyptian uprising and discovers someone else is beating the U.S. at their game!

U.S. scores in math and science skills lag behind that of other nations, including the so-called “developing” nations; the U.S. also falls short in providing affordable or universal health care for its citizen; and despite “deficits” at the federal and state level, the U.S. manages to out spend every other nation combined on its military force, according to the Stockholm International Research Institute. The majority of U.S. citizens are concerned about the quality of education their children are receiving, and they have demanded health care they can afford. They have demanded an end to torture and wars. But the Obama regime knows best, and the regime’s concerns trump the concerns of the American people.

Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton argued that the U.S. is “losing the ‘information war’ in the world” (Huffington Post, “Hillary Clinton Calls Al Jazeera ‘Real News,’ Criticizes U.S. Media,” March 3, 2011). Global news outlets elsewhere “were making inroads into places like the Middle East more effectively than the United States.” Al Jazeera, for example, she said, “was ‘changing peoples’ minds and attitudes. And like it or hate it, it is really effective.’”

Earlier this year, Clinton declared that the foreign news outlets misrepresented U.S. foreign policy. After viewing those uprisings in Arab and in North African nations, today, she has some bright ideas!

The U.S. regime had to ask itself: Is Al Jezeera doing a better job at educating the public and doing so more effectively without, as Clinton noted, “a million commercials” and without “arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news”? After all, “Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news”. U.S. news is “not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.” What is particularly useful in watching Charlie Sheen disintegrate? U.S. news is “not keeping up” with the changing attitudes out there in the world Al Jezeera covers.

The regime itself has already responded: at the U.S. State Department, Clinton has instructed her young computer wizards to educate the American and particularly the foreign public with friendlier and informative programming. This is the Obama not the Bush II regime! We are the Democrats, not the Republicans and the people of the world need to know “our values”! Yes, Clinton said, “our,” American, “values”!

So why is Glenn Beck calling Clinton’s idea—“insanity”?

Leading alternative news outlets critical of Clinton’s comments suspect her motivates are disingenuous. Some note that her comments come at a time when the Obama regime is cutting funding to public broadcasting.

But what is “public” about public broadcasting? Its operation is based on a hierarchical structuring of people and news – as is the leading alternative news outlets. At both the “public” and alternative news outlets, the what, who, where, why, and how is still determined by a handful of whites and liberal facilitators who, despite the recently developments at NPR, posses the same aversion to those who “misrepresent” reality as interpreted by the State news media. Both “public,” alternative and State news outlets agree on the usefulness of Juan Williams, Colin Powell (who could fail to remember how educational and informative Powell’s presentation of Saddam’s hidden weapons sites was?), Jesse Jackson Sr., and other moderate whiners in expensive suits. Their appearance is intended to promote the idea of a democratic America, much like the current regime, sprinkled with an Eric Holder, a Susan Rice, and Obama at the helm of State power. But few are fooled!

I think the secretary of State is proposing less ranting and raving about Blacks, Latino/as, Muslims, immigrants, and “insanity” from the likes of a Rush Limbaugh, a Bill O’Reilly, and a Glenn Beck and more of this appearance of democracy, more of the Obama-brand-democracy. Out educate Al Jezeera! Put American ingenuity to work again with Obama-like experts waiting in the Green room!

What is “at stake here,” to quote Professor Henry Giroux, “is a notion of democracy that refuses to be reduced to the dictates of a market society” (“From “‘Morning in America’ to Nightmare on Main Street,” Truth-Out). This one-size-fits-all State news media Hillary Clinton seems to be proposing unlike Fox News, PBS or Democracy Now! will dependent more on the useful, friendlier Obama clones to sell (inform?) the world about the values of U.S. Empire and its corporate capitalism mission to the world.

As a product of this government’s fear of equality, the Obama clones would be the negation of equality, freedom, democracy. A collective, hands-on project, the carving of these hollow vesicles would demand the resignation of common sense. It has happened before: The Fugitive Slave Acts, the disenfranchisement of freed, the destabilizing of Black leadership, the dismantling of Affirmative Action, and the rise of post-racial discourse (terrorism and warfare), the government led the way in effectively crushing a viable vision of democracy. In the New World of One State TV, these Obama clones, the ideal figure of absolute complicity and acceptance, would posses no memory of the historical past, no ability to understand that the past never happens once (as Faulkner wrote), and no heritage other than the one in which the Empire and State news media has assigned to him or her.

And that is how change comes to America, Lifting the Veil suggests. It comes dressed in the corporate image of change: There is the great orator, the suits and rolled up sleeves, and the paradox: a man covered in brown skin a candidate for president of the U.S. Hope, he said, and liberals nodded. He made promises to revolutionize the U.S. domestic and foreign policies without a rifle or protest, without Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Crazy Horse, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King’s warning about war and the treatment of the invisible workers, without the “anger” and the “inflammatory” rhetoric of his militant and old time pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama promises change is coming to America!

Already, we know the corporate world has spent a record amount of money packaging and selling the Obama to State and alternative news outlets that, in turn, sold this democratic image of change to the American public. Even Hillary Clinton and husband Bill themselves were bedazzled by the shinny new product called Obama).

But American workers are increasingly seeing themselves dislodged from this narrative of American ingenuity.

Now, two years later, we cannot distinguish the U.S. from the dictatorships supported by the U.S. as easily as the Secretary of State.

(NOTE: the following atrocities are listed and visually captured in the documentary, Lifting the Veil. The film may be viewed at the end of this commentary):

The Census Bureau reports that “U.S. poverty rose 43.6 million in 2009, an increase of 3.8 million in the past year,” according to Lifting the Veil. It is the “largest total since the first 1959 estimates.”

According to the Economic Policy Institute, “1 in 4 American children now live in poverty.” For both Blacks and Latino/as, “1 in 3” children live in poverty.

After the “greatest transference of wealth in U.S. history – $12.8 trillion – to bailouts,” the Obama administration “dramatically increases government secrecy, blocking more FOIA request in 2009 than Bush did in 2008” (Huffington Post, March 6, 2010).

And there is no “ops, I made a mistake.” No apology, no blinking of the eyes, only a stead-fast deliverance of smiles and elegance, hand-over-heart, facing the flag, declaring God Bless America and all the while the corporate capitalists, according to the documentary, “earned record profits in the past year, recording their ‘best quarter ever’” (New York Times, November 23, 2010).

Obama “extends the Patriot Act without making any reforms” (CS Monitor, March 1, 2010).

Obama “cracks down on government whistleblowers more than any president in history” (New York Times, June 11, 2010).

Obama “pushes for mandatory DNA testing of those arrested for crimes, regardless of whether they have been convicted” (Politico, September 3, 2010).

“Ignoring the 70 percent of Americans who desire Universal Health Care, Obama cuts a secret deal with Insurance and Pharmaceutical companies to kill the watered down ‘public option’—while simultaneously campaigning on its behalf” (New York Times, March 16, 2010.

Obama “uses a signing statement to ignore labor and environmental standards for the IMF and World Bank” (Huffington Post, July 6, 2009).

Obama “gives permits to BP and other oil companies, exempting them from environmental protection laws” (New York Times, May 13, 2010).

Obama “announces over $8 billion in loan guarantees to promote nuclear power” (CBC, February 16, 2010).

Obama “appoints former Monsanto Lobbyist Michael Taylor as America’s food safety czar…[Monsanto,] named ‘the most evil corporation in the world’ by journalist Jeffrey Smith…provides the seeds for 90 percent of the world’s genetically modified crops” (Huffington Post, July 23, 2009).

Obama “nominates anti-marijuana zealot Michelle Leonhart for head of the DEA” (Raw Story, November, 16, 2010).

Obama “launches FBI raids on anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis” (Democracy Now! September, 27 2010).

“The Obama administration proposes a 3 year freeze on domestic spending, exempting cuts to the Pentagon and Homeland Security…

[Obama] “operates a ‘black site’ at Bagram airbases, where the Red Cross has reported torture of detainees” (BBC, May 11, 2010).

Obama “continues the practice of indefinite detentions for alleged ‘terrorists,’ denying the right of habeas corpus” (Washington Post, May 22, 2009).

Obama “continues renditions of alleged terrorists and ‘militants’ to countries where they could be tortured” (New York Times, August 24, 2009).

Obama “successfully prosecutes child soldier Omar Khadr using evidence obtained through torture” (CBC, November 1, 2010).

Obama “refuses to suspend military aid to Honduras after a fascist coup outs democratically-elected leader Manuel Zelaya” (UPI, October 21, 2009).

Obama appoints Eric Holder, Head of the Justice department. “Holder had previously served as the lawyer for Chiquita Brands International when it was charged with funding death squads in Colombia” (Counterpunch, November 19, 2008).

Obama “appoints Dennis C. Blair as Director of National Intelligence…During the 1999 East Timor massacres, Blair presented Indonesian General Wisanto with an offer of increased military assistance…After the massacres, he invited the war criminal to be his personal guest in Hawaii” (WSWS, January 20, 2009).

Obama “appoints William Lynn as deputy secretary of defense. Lynn previously acted as senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense department contracts” (Washington Independent, January 25, 2009).

Obama “refuses to sign a treaty banning the use of landmines” (MSNBC, November 24, 2009).

Obama “eases restrictions on the use of child soldiers in Africa” (The Cable, October 26, 2010).

Obama “announces a $60 billion sale of arms to the Saudi Arabian dictatorship, the largest arms deal in history” (CBS, September 13, 2010).

Obama “promises $30 billion in military aid to Israel over the next decades” (Truth-Out, February 16, 2010).

“Only a few months earlier, the UN’s Goldstone report charged Israel with massive war crimes during its assault on Gaza, including the targeting of schools, mosques and medical personnel…

[Obama] awards $250 million in government contracts to notorious mercenary outfit Blackwater aka Xe” (The Nation, June 28, 2010).

Obama “authorizes the assassination of U.S. citizens abroad, and an unprecedented declaration of executive power” (New York Times, April 6, 2010).

Obama “dramatically increases the use of drone bombers in Pakistan, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties…

[Obama] uses “cluster bombs in Yemen, resulting in the deaths of 14 ‘militants,’ and 35 women and children” (CS Monitor, June 7, 2010).

“Obama reneges on his promise to exit Iraq, announcing that 50,000 troops and over 100,000 ‘private contractors’ will remain…Instead of removing the troops, Obama simply renames them ‘transitional’ forces” (February 26, 2010).

“Obama back tracks on his promise to leave Afghanistan by July 2011…Mark Sedwill, the top civilian NATO representative in Afghanistan, claims the ‘transition’ to ‘independence’ could run ‘to 2015 and beyond’”(June 24, 2010).

And the gulag at Guantanamo is still open for the dissemination of American values…

Adopting the enemies of the U.S. will set you free? NO, Barrack Obama! No more lies, Hillary Clinton. No more propaganda. No more exclusion of voices deemed too radical for State and Alternative news media outlets. No Orwellian Big Brother TV screen, spewing more of your values!

The majority of American people reject these changes offered by the current regime.

The majority reject the creation of a U.S. dictatorship! That is why you will not see Lifting the Veil on the current or the new and improved State news media outlets!

What is happening to the planet and its people is not the result of individuals, says economist Richard Wollf. It is about a system that cannot be reformed but must be removed!

Lifting the Veil is not all doom and gloom: it is not simply the unraveling of the “insanity” of electoral politics or the political empowering of the wealthy elite and their corporate wars.

Lifting the Veil is about Hope! It is not “hope” as defined by this current regime, for this Hope, Chris Hedges says, is not in the vocabulary of the powerful. It is that Hope that only the people themselves own and nurture from generation to generation, from one uprising to another, from one civil disobedient act to the upheaval of unjust laws and dictatorships. We still posses this Hope, the documentary shows. But if we are to “fight for something that is real,” my colleague at the Black Commentator Larry Pinkney says, we must “translate Hope into action.”

Hope precedes the appearance of Brand Obama. It was present in the uprisings of workers, Blacks, Latino/.as, says John Pilger. This Hope is present in the “activism that doesn’t give up. Activism doesn’t fall silent.”

“Something is coming again. The signs are there.”

“What Obama, the bankers, the generals, the IMF, the CIA, the CNN and the BBC fear is ordinary people coming together and acting together”:

Ordinary American people for too long have been misrepresented by stereotypes that are contemptuous. The progressive attitudes of the public have seldom been reported in the media because they’re not ignorant. They’re subversive.

Lifting the Veil is the subversive message that…

Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risks. It is not about the right attitude or peace of mind…Hope is about action. Hope affirms that which must be affirmed! (Chris Hedges).