Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reap what you sew

My first impression of the WikiLeaks website was that it looks more like a political forum than the domain infamous for spilling more than a million pages of classified government and military secrets. Under their "War Logs" link they ask you to comment on what you see there, and sprinkled here and there, they ask for donations to protect the information and the cause. But as I read further, the seething facts of a dishonest, militant, greedy, self destructive country seep over me, and that familiar feeling of rage, disgust and sorrow overwhelm me.
It's not that it really comes as a surprise to me that our country has blood on its hands. I've known it for a while. Honestly, all you have to do is google it and thousands of links will instantaneously slap you in the face, many of them on government websites, openly chronicling their seedy dealings here and around the world. But even so, that was clearly only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. There was still the "classified" information: the nuts and bolts of invasions, coups and overthrows too horrid to share with the American public. And then along came WikiLeaks. Needless to say, the powers-that-be weren't too stoked about this considerable leak in their intelligence.
Just to name a couple: using US diplomats to spy on foreign political officials, in particular top UN officials, wanting details as intimate as forensic evidence. Our friends the Saudis REALLY want us to bomb Iran, and some really embarrassing details on how we feel about other countries and their governments...oops.
Of course, the Middle East holds most of the spotlight in these documents, with over 15,000 documents on Iraq alone.
With the release of this colossal amount of underground information, the US government is seeking to prosecute and shut down the site and those responsible for it. If you read into WikiLeaks, you'll find that no one man is in charge of the site, contrary to what we're being told. It's a collective effort. But that doesn't sound as good on late nite news...
So, in a classic twist of irony too good for fiction, the US government wants to charge Julian Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917. And as I write this, Interpol has just issued an international warrant to arrest Assange. But let's start with the first bowl of bullshit, shall we? To give a little back story, The Espionage Act of 1917 was passed in July of 1917 during our first foray into Communism Crazyland, and after our entry into "The war to end all wars." (hmmm, clearly the US wasn't there for that naming ceremony). Anyway, the Act prohibits all attempts at interference with military operations (US government...ahem), the support of the US's enemies during wartime (everyone celebrating Ramadan, you're under arrest), likewise the promotion of insubordination in the military (um, don't ask, don't tell) and interference with military recruitment (any picture of a flag draped coffin, de-limbed soldier or just war in general). So, since it appears that pretty much all of us are in some form actively violating this Act, it raises the question whether this is not merely a free speech issue. Ah, got you there too. In 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Schenck v. United States that the act did not violate the free speech rights of those convicted under its provisions. Hmmmm, tricky.
Furthermore, just to pull the leash a little tighter, several amendments were added to the Act via the Sedition Act in 1918. These amendments declared it against the law to use your first Amendment rights to speak "any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States...or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy." Ummmmmm...I'm no spy but I'm pretty sure that's everyone from the First Lady to Joe the Plumber and Victor the Vegan to Gary the gun-toting tea party activist. That would make an interesting prison cell tho wouldn't it?
So, let's break this down. We're charging a guy under the Espionage Act for leaking information regarding our own government willfully and without reserve or remorse putting this country and all its people in ever surmounting danger?
And what about this business about the Interpol warrant? Oh yeah...can you say framed? Just as the first round of WikiLeaks documents make their way out into the world, the founder is conveniently accused of sexual deviance. Oh horrors! And now it went from a Stockholm court to Interpol? What the fuck? How did that happen? As a Swede, I know the amount of bureaucracy you have to go through just to get your address changed.
But hey, what better way to corner your prey than from several angles, under several guises so the unsuspecting public will just continue to wave their flags and boo at the chosen antagonist.
We dug this grave. Whatever is being leaked right now is what we have sewn. We have planted the seeds that formed this sickening weed strangling our rights. Assange is no more a traitor than I am, or you, reading this. Our government and military's history of spilling blood for money and prestige would eventually come to a head, like all good thrillers. The real question is, what will we do with this new information? What will the people do now that we are finding truth in corners we never knew to look? Now that we're being handed information about our government, the people chosen to represent US, will it be more of the same...or will these millions of pages turn the minds of a lethargic and apathetic nation? Stay tuned...

Monday, November 22, 2010

The other CIA

We're not the only country who gets to have a secret society with decoder rings and automatic machine guns. Pakistan has one too. Instead of welcoming them to the club of behind-the-scenes assassins, we're quite miffed at their two-faced involvement in Pakistan's affairs...because after all, that's our playground. Meet the ISI, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's version of the CIA with a little bit of the FBI sprinkled on top.
Since their inception shortly after that of Pakistan itself, they've been highly covert - keeping tabs on domestic and foreign potential threats ; anything from political opponents to high priced diplomats. They also have pretty strong ties to the Taliban. Along with helping the CIA to train members of the mujahedin, they were later one of only three nations that recognized the Taliban government officially, after the Soviets withdrew. Currently, their on-paper agenda includes keeping their main rival, India at bay in Kashmir. Although ISI funding has been traced to several militant groups, including the group responsible for the 2008 bombings in Mumbai, Lashkar-e-Taiba. With all these militants on their pay roll, it isn't surprising that some of them turned to Al Qaida and the Taliban, and in times of irony, turned some of that well set training on Pakistan itself. While that hes led many people to believe that the ISI is backing off support of the famous extremists, there's still a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise. For one, our escapades in their neighbours house. It's been 10 years since we stormed in there looking for one 6 foot tall guy attached to a dialysis machine, and since then, we haven't done much other than kill random militants and bomb some civilians for good measure. Meanwhile, because we're so afraid of those damn shifty militants, we flood Pakistan with money to keep them on our side. Recently that flood flowed to the tune of $2 billion to the Pakistani military...and our soldiers don't get benefits when they come home with a limb missing...but I digress...
This money doesn't necessarily buy loyalty. In fact, it's in their best interests to play both sides of the field on this one. When we eventually leave, there's no guarantee that the Taliban won't rise to seat the government, and when they do Pakistan shouldn't be waving an American flag and whistling Dixie. They will, in fact, be in a unique position, being able to curry favor with President Karzai and the Taliban. A sort of militant diplomacy, if you will. I know that goes against the whole "Mission Accomplished" mentality but in reality, the sooner we leave, the sooner the region will be straightened out by the people who know it best, the ones actually living there. Meanwhile, ISI will do like it's American counterpart, and ensure that their role is unwavering and unquestioned. For example, Benazir Bhutto was on their shit list for accusing them of fixing elections and just being plain corrupt. Well, they showed her didn't they? Silly woman, no place for you in politics. And of course, like the CIA no one actually came out and accused the ISI for this crime, because to do so, would probably gain you a place next to Bhutto on that list. So, we plod along in our winless war, turning our proverbial cheek to the ills our "friends" commit on the side. As long as our money can still buy a facade of loyalty, we'll continue with our secret agendas, albeit more poorly constructed, less politically gainful agendas, but hey, no secret society is perfect.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kopassus backstory...

One of the blog's readers, John, left this as a comment on yesterday's post. A more in depth review of the organization Obama is funding as an anti-terrorist task force. Thanks John.

Indonesia’s Kopassus role in counter-terrorism is minimal. In fact, Kopassus terrorized and killed far too many civilians to count. Its crimes occurred not only in the past, but continue. U.S. training of Kopassus will set back efforts to achieve accountability for past and recent human rights violations and will not discourage future crimes, according to the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (http://www.etan.org).

For decades, the U.S. military provided training and other assistance to Kopassus, despite the demonstrated failure of international assistance to improve its behavior. The widely acknowledged abuses and criminal activity of Kopassus just went on.

Restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia provide leverage to support democracy and human rights in Indonesia. Working with Kopassus, with its long history of terrorizing civilians, will undermine those fighting for justice and accountability in Indonesia and East Timor.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nosy Bastards

Did you ever have a co-worker or friend in school that was always so damn annoyingly nosy? You couldn't get from the front door to your desk without being asked questions on what you did last night, if a Roman orgy is the reason you look tired and you have a slight limp...
Well, that's kind of how we are, or US is...
Obama's little tour of parts of Asia ended with little accomplished other than making a few predictable speeches about partnership and outlining what he expects other countries to do for us in exchange for not being put on our "to bomb" list.
For example, when he visited Indonesia, he praised them for their religious tolerance, remarking how their moderate form of Islam was a beacon to other countries. Simultaneously, however, he was sure to mention the still acute threat of terrorism in the region, and offered financial backing to Kopassus, the anti-terrorism special forces. Interestingly enough, Kopassus is more of a pro-terrorism organization, having more than a slightly checkered past including human rights violations against mostly their own people...hmmmm, well done Obama.
His stay at the G20 summit was about as uneventful as a flight over the desert, and just as barren of fruitful gains. The only thing he really accomplished was argue with China, something of a sticky subject considering they own us. But we just couldn't help but stick our noses in their financial business and smelling the acrid airs of competition, wave our flags and cry out foul play. Of course, we're doing the same exact thing we accused China of: manipulating the currency to keep it at artificially low levels with the hopes of bolstering trade.
From there, Obama's visit in India was just as much a sugar coated gun to the head as Indonesia. He praised India's "beauty and dynamism," prophetically promising that their relationship would be "one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century." At this climax, he furthered the ecstasy of his praise by publicly announcing his support for India's permanent membership on the U.N. Security Council, something India has long coveted. I'm not really sure as to why - the U.N. is more effective at diplomatically wooing hot actresses and taking notes on disasters than actually doing anything, but as per usual in politics, the title is what matters.
As the applause roared through the crowd, Obama turned the speech towards thinly veiled demands, giving a perfect example of what Naomi Klein so aptly named "The Shock Doctrine." He noted how India was too laissez-faire when it came to the doings of it's terrorist neighbours such as Iran and Myanmar. Basically, if you want that seat, you have to be a nosy bastard like us, so get to work. He further chastised India's other neighbour, Pakistan for harboring terrorists and failing to work with the global community in a fight to bring them to justice. Meanwhile, outside Obama's cushy Indian quarters, Hindu extremists slink from injustice to injustice under the noses of Indian authorities who couldn't give a shit how many Kashmiris they brutally murder. As with any political favoritism, there are dollar signs behind this one. India is yet another country supporting our cash flow while recently allowing the US to sell them over $10 billion worth of goods, thereby creating tens of thousands of US jobs. So who cares that you allow atrocious terrorist actions against your own people? Oh, will you sign that check please, thanks.
The nosy bastards have an agenda. The US might suck at governing our own people but we seem very keen on telling other countries how to govern by steering them with our bullying power.
Meanwhile, back at home, our economy is still royally fucked and Obama hasn't said much about it since the heinous results of his midterm elections. He should focus less on funding international guns and dictating their aim and focus more on the doings of his own country.
Isolationism isn't an option anymore but piloting the actions of foreign governments shouldn't be either. We need to back the fuck off. Maybe if we knew more about the countries we so brashly police and attempt to govern, we could support our nosiness with at least a solid base. However, we don't. There is nothing up for debate there. Obama knows dick about Indonesia's governing system, despite his extensive four years there as a small child. He also doesn't even begin to fathom the complexities of a country like India. It's not as easy as saying you support these people and fuck those people. You can't make promises like that, you can't pick and choose enemies when it's not all that black and white.
It's more important for us to mind our own business, particularly now. The more alliances we form, the more people we shut out, the worse it gets for us. Let's step away from the Bush-style "America's the best" mentality and focus in on our needs as a country. Counter-terrorism starts with our mindset, our dealings and workings all across the globe, and this nosy bastard, do this and that approach isn't the answer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Should I stay or should I go?

In case you haven't heard, democracy is in full swing in Iraq, complete with all the stop and go lurches irritatingly reminiscent of LA traffic.
A new government is due to set up its new shiny democracy on December 11th, and it's not the tourist attractions that have us see-sawing with our departure dates.
No, it's more the fact that Iraq is a fucking quagmire, always has been. Say what you will about Hussein but that fucker kept the country in check, a tall order for anyone, particularly a forced democratic leader.
As of now, Nouri Maliki is that leader and it falls on his shoulders to grab enough seats and scratch enough backs to make that happen. As with any functional democracy (not that we would know anything about that), there must be a certain give and take, a certain power sharing, if you will. Last Thursday when Iyad Allawi stormed out of the parliamentary meeting, US officials' palms started sweating. Allawi is our guy, and quite interestingly, the Saudis as well. Hmmmm...meanwhile, Maliki has just received some intense backing from Moqtada Sadr, the militant Shia cleric in Iran. Sounds like a really sick Mid-Eastern version of choosing sides for a kickball tournament. Only two months ago, Sadr was vehemently against Maliki, who gained support from two other parties in the coming weeks, including a hint of support from the powerful Kurds. Also interesting. So, from gridlock to a political tornado in the same time it takes to don a burqa...tricky.
When the winds first started picking up, we were more worried about leaving our fine work to the discombobulated people of Iraq than giving two shits how their government was shaping up. However, the sudden influx of support for Maliki, with Sadr as the catalyst, made us very uneasy in our Green Zone. Sadr has been a thorn in our side for quite some time but we know better than to just openly oppose a candidate's growing popularity. No, we're much more sneaky. Instead, we continued to support our man Allawi, calling for "power sharing" as a truly democratic form of government. He won't win prime minister, that's in the hands of Maliki and the Kurds have a shoe-in for the presidential post. That leaves Allawi with the title of helping hand, if he can swing it. The Saudis involvement may look good from our city on a hill, but on the ground in the Middle East, anything US backed isn't bringing the street cred or popular support one would expect from a colonized country, living in new-found squalor, getting bombed every night. Ungrateful pricks.
With Allawi's power seeping through his fingers like the desert sand, so goes the US influence he stood for...or hung on puppet strings for. However, some believe (and not just us in this case) that Sadr's support for Maliki will put him in a position of repayment to Iran, making an alliance or worse a dictatorial relationship from Iran to Iraq. While most feel that's a bit of a stretch, it warrants mentioning since we suggested it - your classic case of projecting.
Regardless of Sadr's motives, ours are pretty clear: our troops may be leaving but our ideologies and big brother stranglehold wanna stay put, and will spend billions of dollars, break many laws, and kill, buy or strong arm whoever necessary to do so.
The only way Iraq will flourish is if Iraqis run it. Our involvement is not just detrimental to them, it is incredible hurtful to our agenda, our soldiers and our standings in the world, particularly in the Middle East.
But that's how we roll, we don't know how else to do it. With the ashes of countries and their democratic ideals in our past, I wouldn't be surprised to see a staying of US soldiers and an increased interest in their political doings.
We'll keep up the front that we've had this whole time, but as usual, the workings behind the facade will have no parallel to the facade itself.
Sing along with me now: if I go there will be trouble, if I stay there will be double...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No, we’re the best, no, China, no.

So, the G20 summit is in full swing in South Korea - Obama has wandered up from his recent trip to Indonesia where he promised monetary and political support to the terrorists responsible for mass killings in the early 90s, in the name of fighting terrorism...but hey, he was happy to be in his old “stomping ground.”
Back to South Korea, where the other 18 countries pretty much just sit around a table drinking purified water, doodling and looking smaller and smaller behind their gilden penned name tags.
Economic warfare can be far more dangerous than the bang-bang, flag waving kind. If you didn't know it already, China owns us. According to the Federal Reserve in 2005: "At the end of 2005, China, with $820 billion in such assets, was the second-largest holder of U.S. debt after Japan, which held about $10 billion more." The thing is that Japan isn't growing by steroided leaps and bounds like China is. Their economy isn't just booming, it's explosive, which makes us very nervous.
At the summit, the US has already staged a complaint regarding the Chinese currency, the yuan, being kept at horrendously low rates, giving them more than just a leg up on exports and international trade. At the same time, China accuses us of further fucking with the global market with our Fed's recent promise of $600 billion gift to our struggling economy.
So, as per usual, we're holding a loaded gun demanding the other person put theirs down. But China doesn't really want to and who can blame them? Not only that, who the fuck would take economic advice from us? Many nations fear that their rapid rise to economic greatness will come with just as sharp of a downturn, spiraling us and the global economy into a black hole of monetary mayhem.
To fill out the background, essentially what China is doing is manipulating their currency so as to keep it as low as possible, attracting the attention of international buyers looking for imports from other countries. Say, for example, it's between us and them. If our little toy costs 50¢ to make and theirs costs 10¢, they're gonna pocket some extra cash and go with them, leaving our poor abandoned toys to rot in warehouses while their makers watch their houses get auctioned off...or some equally depressing story.
So, in order to fight back, we go to the summit, show some muscle and do exactly what they're doing back home. The sudden influx of $600 billion will weaken the currency to the point that trade competition with China will be much more viable, making them more pissed off and other countries more inclined to ask for some whisky instead of that purified water bullshit.
Time will tell how this pissing contest will play out, but I'd wager that since it's our nuts in a Chinese salad shooter, we'll have not much to say about whatever they want to do with their currency. China is already surpassing us on every front, from green energy to economy to education. Meanwhile we just wave our flag, put our fingers in our ears and shout "USA, USA, USA!"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Red, white and the blues

So, how do we all feel about these election results? I must admit it's taken me a few days to really do some research and try desperately to dig for any real "news." Sadly, but not surprisingly, nothing new.
I will say that there is some admission to the fact that gridlock is imminent, that jack shit will get done while both parties continue to hold staring contests in the halls of the mighty.
Obama said of the future that there will be disagreements and difficulties inherent in governing with a splintered system, but as always seemed boyishly optimistic about the whole thing. "When it comes to something like energy, what we're probably going to have to do is say here are some areas where there's just too much disagreement between Democrats and Republicans, we can't get this done right now, but let's not wait. Let's go ahead and start making some progress on the things that we do agree on, and we can continue to have a strong and healthy debate about those areas where we don't."
A strong and healthy debate? What is this, middle school debating society? Do you get a tootsie roll if you beat the opposition? Come on Obama. This is ridiculous. The only thing the Republicans can have a strong and healthy debate on is who to bomb before going quail hunting...or maybe that's just Cheney. Regardless, Republicans don't debate on anything. They just filibuster, block it and return to corporate agendas. That's not to say that Democrats aren't to blame. As I've said before, they're up to their necks in corporate sponsored shit, they just don't flaunt it as much. They're the corporate bitches who seem to have a tinge of remorse on their way to the bank, hoping the teller will think it's a birthday present from a rich and eccentric grandmother. But that's Democrats: meek and spineless. Obama doesn't seem to be breaking from that mold that much.
For example, the energy bill he refers to in his quote is his "cap and trade" bill which warranted quite an uproar from the right side of the aisle when introduced. You can find an extensive description of the bill on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Clean_Energy_and_Security_Act) but in short, it calls for a "cap" on the total amount of green house emissions, similar to the European version. As we Americans emit the most (by far) per capita, the bill would be put in place to particularly limit the emissions by corporations and new houses. New businesses and houses would be required to have permits to pollute (sounds fucked, I know), being allowed to trade them between one another once they are in place. The more emissions you wanna spew, the more you gotta cough up, giving the government revenue and people less incentive to be dirty bastards. The cap would gradually go down over time in the attempt to curtail emissions over the years.
Republicans hate it. They claim it will make housing costs sky rocket (just like they thought solar panels would...which is totally wrong by the way) and take away corporate ability to be competitive in local and international markets, stifling their American right to prosper.
Well, what did Obama have to say to that?
"Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end. And I'm going to be looking for other means to address this problem."
Ah yes, roll over and play dead and hope they don't maul your pride too much. Republicans, or in fact, bought Democrats (more than a handful) will never agree to any bill that stifles corporations in any way. It's not in their best interest. And that's the primary concern. What's best for you and me and generations to come is far less pressing than the new yacht they promised their family for spring break.
Obama only bolsters that fact. He sacrifices his ideas, of which I must say, many are good, while Republicans armor up and prepare for battle.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed up his parties' views with this ultimatum: "The White House has a choice: They can change course, or they can double down on a vision of government that the American people have roundly rejected. If they choose the former, they'll find a partner in Republicans. If they don't, we will have more disagreements ahead."
To which the Democrats reply, OK, let's work "incrementally" towards change. Just please don't shoot me with your NRA approved rifle.
So, there you have it folks. After the dust from the elections has settled, the only thing that looks different is a few names on some doors, and an unusually open admission that jack shit will get done, as per usual.
God bless America.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fascism is fun

Here in the sunny state of California, the polls have been open for about an hour and a half. NPR news, local news stations all agog with information and news about the coming events for today: who's up for election, what the issues are, who's gonna win, who's gonna make a difference, yada yada yada.
As I drove on one of LA's epic freeways this morning, past gleaming spires of an awakening downtown, I heard Ralph Nader on the radio urging people to vote their conscience. A man had called in yesterday admitting to having voted for Nader 10 years ago but now biting the bullet and voting Democrat in the hopes that they can be pushed to effect the change promised and desperately needed. He said that "if you can stomach it, vote Democrat today." Nader was curious as to what that meant, wondering what people are actually voting for if they ignore their own moral fiber and conscience.
Now, I'm not tooting my horn in the name of Nader over here, but the man made some very good points. To vote for someone in the hopes that they will not fuck you over is not a very firm foundation to stand on. While it can be argued that voting for any other party than the terrible two is a waste of time, I must use a cliche mothers moral here: if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?
Unfortunately, I expect the majority of the American people to take the plunge, running from their own beliefs and opinions, fleeing from the possibility of a minority to the warm, choking clutches of a majority.
I've said many times before that the two party system is dead. Both parties are equally up to their necks in corruption. Both parties heed the call of the dollar far more than the dim din of their constituents.
In 1938, FDR, in his message to congress remarked,
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power."
Holy shit! We live in a fascist country! Fuck - that might actually be worse than socialism! Either way it's European which is terrifying, but at least it's not French...dodged a bullet there.
The thing that makes me cringe most in that message is "if the people tolerate..." Indeed. If the people do tolerate...
Don't act surprised when you're coughing up dirt after digging your own grave. The illusion of voting days making a significant amount of difference is one of the few pillars of our original dream of government that we haven't toppled. If people across the country actually did as Nader suggested and voted their conscience, there would be hell to pay in Washington, all the way north to Wall Street. Those ties would be severed by the powerful slice of public opinion and diligence. Birds would sing, trees would whisper in the sweet breeze of freedom.
But as it stands, the races will end today with no more than a figure head change. The faces, the names, the party affiliation, will change. Some might feel a tinge of accomplishment. But in reality, the corporate base on which our current government rests will be unmoved. They will welcome the new members like a fraternity its pledges, and will demand and ultimately gain their brotherly loyalty. And this will continue on, our rights gradually slipping away more and more along with our engagement, giving rise to the apathy that men like Hitler so admired: "How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think."
...unless, the people don't tolerate...

Monday, November 1, 2010

A comedy of errors

Americans love entertainment. It's kind of like kids and sweets. And if you have a kid or have ever seen one, you know how they feel about eating their vegetables. That's how Americans are with real, hard facts. They shy away from them as if their pure, additive-free existence would do them physical harm, when in reality, it's quite the opposite. So, what do many parents do? Trick their simple minded children into eating fruits and veggies by putting chocolate syrup on a fruit salad or cheese on broccoli.

That's what the truth bearers must do. Many feel that's just what John Stewart and Stephen Colbert did with their "Rally to restore Sanity and/or Fear."
First of all, the fucking rally was packed. People came from all over the country. The trains were jam packed, the streets filled with people carrying signs, dressed patriotically, and genuinely excited to gather in the name of veggies and fruit.
The question everyone wants answered, particularly with the elections so close, is whether it worked or not. Was it enough to get a rise out of the dormant Democratic drive and propel them into not getting totally fucked tomorrow? Was it enough to make a mockery of extremist groups like the Tea Party? Was it enough to move Americans more towards the change we all bitch about and all hope for?

Well, I can't really answer that the day after - kinda like a pregnancy. You might have to wait a few months to see how things are shaping up. In the meantime, just judging by the events of the rally, I'll make my hypothesis.
This won't be the behemoth change that will catapult the average American into giving a shit. However, it's a start. When I was younger, I listened to music not because I was politically engaged but because Axl and Slash proved to me that I could never be a lesbian...and they were just cool. However, as I gained years and wisdom, I looked into the words and found some political ones. Then I dug deeper. I checked out other bands that were politically engaged (unfortunately most of them were from the 60s and 70s) and began my journey on the rocky path of a politically conscious citizen. Like I said, Americans love entertainment.
It wasn't enough at the ripe young age of 8 for my history professor to say politics were important. I needed a little push. I needed to discover for myself through my own avenues, not just having truth after truth shoved in my face. Music was a doorway, a doorway that made that broccoli look yummy, without the velveeta cheese.
John Stewart and Stephen Colbert could prove to be a part of that doorway. Other pieces will need to be set in place, but there was a significant response to yesterdays rally, significant enough for even the most uninterested constituent to at least watch a film clip and chuckle to himself. And that could be a very vital catalyst.
Music, comedy, art, anything that coats the obvious, unfortunate truths of society with a veil of chic, cool, or fun will win more people than a constant cluster fuck of information. It may be sad, but it is true. Those two late night comedic geniuses might just be geniuses for another reason. Getting this country off its proverbial ass and in step with current events, national and international is a tall order. So far, no one has succeeded. Perhaps where the mundane in humanity has failed, the eccentric, artistic and creative can take over and effect the change this country needs.