Postcards from the End of America
By Linh Dinh
January 14, 2015 "ICH" - I was sitting in the Friendly Lounge, one block from my Philly apartment. Next to me was a 59-year-old man, Robert. Seeing my wedding band, he confided, “You’re lucky to have somebody to go home to. I always had a lover, a boyfriend, but I haven’t had anybody in ten years. And it’s not the,” and he suddenly dipped his head down near my crotch, “but the support, you know. I can’t just go home and say to somebody, ‘Bitch, I love you!’”
I was getting buzzed in Dirty Frank’s, downtown Philly’s second cheapest bar, when an old friend proposed, “You should come over some time. I’ll make you dinner.” She knew I was married. On another occasion, this lovely woman moaned, “I just want somebody to love.” On a third, she called me after 2AM, “Motherfucker, where are you?!”
Sitting home, I received an email from a Vietnamese poet who lives in a sunshiny state. Though I’ve known this unhappily married 40-year-old for more than a decade, we’ve never met face-to-face. In Vietnamese, she wrote, “Crazy teacher, please help me to translate: I’m aroused. I’m horny. I’m a whore. I’m an aroused whore. I’m an extremely horny whore. Thank you very much.”
I cite these handy examples not to embarrass anybody or to, God forbid, present my splotchy carcass as somehow in demand, but simply to point out the loneliness that afflicts this society is so appallingly pervasive and, I suspect, unprecedented. Our infants are immediately removed from their moms, our toddlers are parked in front of blathering televisions when not institutionalized, our dating millennials stare at separate iPads, our married couples hide their sexting and porn habits from each other, our old people blunder down a dark hallway or endless sidewalk alone. Else, they lie unvisited, waiting for death, and when kaput, may not be discovered for a week, as happened to my friend Lee Goldston. Yo, Lee!
In 1970, only 17% American households had but a single person, but it’s up to 27.5% now. Moreover, many of those who live with others may be sharing a dwelling with annoying strangers, or curled up in their parents’ basement. Take Robert’s situation. In a house with four other people, he has a room “the size of a napkin.” Each time he uses the bathroom, he’s “afraid to step on the floor. The ceiling tiles are falling down. The wall tiles are falling out. It’s gross in there!” And Robert never uses the kitchen because that’s filthy too. No one ever washes the dishes. In short, it’s not a home, but then most Americans don’t really have one anyway.
For many, it’s merely a spot to lie down after the long commute. For others, it’s a nest that can be blown away after the next missed rent or mortgage check. Made of sheetrocks, marathon loan payments and always rising taxes, an American home is about as permanent as a bad sitcom. To have no true home is to be constantly anxious, if not panic stricken, and since many of us are also isolated, physically and psychologically, what you have, then, is a society of frustrated, angry, ashamed and nervous wrecks. No wonder we take more drugs than anybody else!
One man who still has his family home is my acquaintance, Bill. For a decade, Bill made beaucoup bucks as a computer technician but, at age 44, had to switch career to become a transit policeman. (He even applied to Homeland Security, but wasn’t hired.) Assigned to a shopping mall, Bill had to occasionally arrest shoplifters or break up fights among unruly teens, but mostly he just strolled around to flirt with selected cashiers. Fresh from Lindenwold, New Jersey, 18-year-old Chelsea with her bleached blonde hair and rose and vine tattoo climbing up one pale arm was particularly enticing. For a few seconds, Bill fantasized about rescuing her from Starbucks. A playa, in short, he doesn’t mind living alone in his eight-bedroom, inherited house, though his winter heating bills are a real bitch. Though a teenager at heart, Bill has also just turned 50, so most nights find him eating turkey, his favorite, while watching Netflix next a huge dalmatian, Myer. Unlike humans, dogs don’t experience drawn out illnesses that may last decades. Bill likes it that way.
Thanks to a large inheritance, Jim also has his own house and, unlike Bill, doesn’t even have to work. A typical day finds him listening to Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra and Abbey Lincoln while browsing Rolling Stone and CounterPunch. After a leisurely porn pause, he might check in on National Public Radio. At 53-years-old, Jim has never had to take care of anyone save a series of tabbies, and his biggest exertion in life, his greatest achievement ever, was his escape from a decade-long crack habit. Further, Jim considers himself a “revolutionary,” though the only people he’s ever fought were his neighbors. With a shovel, Jim shattered a bar window, then hit a homeless man with a rebar, but it wasn’t until he threatened someone with a grass trimmer that he ended up in a psychiatric ward for three days. Out, Jim’s back to his half-listening, half-reading and half-masturbating routine, and he’ll maintain this progressive regiment until social justice is tightly entwined in a 69, yin yang fashion, with equitable wealth distribution. Actually, forget the second part, for there’s no way Jim will share one square inch of his two-story house with anything larger than a slim cat. Jim likes it that way.
In downtown Camden, I heard a street preacher holler, “We are a relational people!” and he certainly got that right. Further, I ardently believe that human bodies are really one continuum that has been tragically yet mercifully broken up. If you’re cut, I should feel pain, and vice versa, and when we’re at our best, that’s exactly what happens. Too often, though, people derive an orgasmic pleasure from watching someone being blown up. Excited, they cheer.
Elias Canetti talks about how instinctively humans laugh at seeing a person falling, and he traces this to our days as flesh hunters. Since a fallen body represents meat, we laugh out of joy. Beside this atavistic impulse, however, we also rush to help the fallen because we recognize the body in distress as our own. Our entertainment industry, though, is relentless in pushing the fantasy of the super predator, somebody who’s capable of destroying countless bodies “of the bad guys.” With its mesmerizing war and “action” films, Hollywood has amplified, to an insane degree, all of our worst sadistic tendencies. Sex, too, has become a matter of body count, but this is perfectly in line with our obsession with numbers. Ain’t that right, Bill? How many have you scored?
The American porch shrank, then disappeared. Sidewalks emptied or became overgrown with weeds. Behind closed doors, an unending cacophony of disembodied voices hyperventilate over nothing or sing the same old songs. Making duck faces or pulling their pants down, a little lower, yeah, like that, Americans snap selfies compulsively to make sure nothing of their noisily desperate lives is lost to eternity. We’ve all become famous to ourselves, and that’s good enough, somehow.
Say, what are the political ramifications of having a nation of inattentive, narcissistic jerk offs? Well, me, myself and I think it’s way beyond divide and conquer, for what it is is rule by fragmentation into 320,159,176 pieces, and counting. Yes, we have this, that and that camp but each takes its cues from the right or left hand of our ruling apparatus. To know what to do, say or even dress, we look towards Midtown Manhattan, Hollywood and Northwest DC. Talk about a disastrous recipe! Unwilling or unable to deal with each other in the flesh, we must plug in to even squeak a dissident note, so it’s no surprise our feeble rebellion remains virtual.
While the internet allows many fringe voices to find their miniscule audiences, its dominant aim is to tease, tickle and titillate the mind into numbness. With multiple windows and everything flickering by, nothing matters. Skimming over bullshit and insights alike, we forget a minute later what we’ve just glimpsed. Swarming with words, the internet desensitizes us to language.
After that last paragraph, my phone rang, so I picked it up to hear Casey, someone I hadn’t heard from for over two years. After the briefest of chit chat, middle-aged Casey spilled that her wife had left her, “I was crazy, she was crazy, but she was even crazier than I was!” Later, her upstairs neighbor, a crackhead, punched Casey so hard, “my brain moved to the other side! After I maced the bitch, I was dragged to court, can you believe it?!” Concluding, Casey said I should come over soon to catch up. “I always have beer in the fridge.”
“How are you making money these days?” I asked.
“Oh, I do freelance art works,” Casey answered rather defensively, “and I get food stamps.”
For a while, the smirking mainstream media celebrated social media as a tool for rebellions or even revolutions, but let’s get real here. If that shit’s effective, the people of Iraq, Libya and Ukraine, etc., wouldn’t have had their countries wrecked by this empire. FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and the rest are no more than means for the masses to report themselves, minutely and in real time, to the authorities.
Faced with an ultra violent enemy with its kill lists, bombs, missiles, bullets, black sites and torture, we bark abstractions or demand nothing as our demand, such is our feebleness and nihilism. Giving up on reality, we claim a speck sized corner of the internet as our free speech zone. Impotent, we wave virtual fists in the direction of Wall Street or 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
To make more concrete statements, true rebels won’t be so vaguely semaphoric. Whether lone wolves or in roving bands, they’ll have to dodge the best technology ruthlessness can buy, however. No pixelated posers, they won’t telegraph their moves in advance but simply act, and though their successes will likely be merely symbolic, at least they won’t be surfing on fantasies.Linh Dinh http://linhdinhphotos.blogspot.comThe
Charlie Hebdo Story Simply Doesn’t Wash
By Paul Craig Roberts
January 14, 2015 "ICH" - The Charlie Hebdo affair has many of the characteristics of a false flag operation. The attack on the cartoonists’ office was a disciplined professional attack of the kind associated with highly trained special forces; yet the suspects who were later corralled and killed seemed bumbling and unprofessional. It is like two different sets of people.
Usually Muslim terrorists are prepared to die in the attack; yet the two professionals who hit Charlie Hebdo were determined to escape and succeeded, an amazing feat. Their identity was allegedly established by the claim that they conveniently left for the authorities their ID in the getaway car. Such a mistake is inconsistent with the professionalism of the attack and reminds me of the undamaged passport found miraculously among the ruins of the two WTC towers that served to establish the identity of the alleged 9/11 hijackers.
It is a plausible inference that the ID left behind in the getaway car was the ID of the two Kouachi brothers, convenient patsies, later killed by police, and from whom we will never hear anything, and not the ID of the professionals who attacked Charlie Hebdo. An important fact that supports this inference is the report that the third suspect in the attack, Hamyd Mourad, the alleged driver of the getaway car, when seeing his name circulating on social media as a suspect realized the danger he was in and quickly turned himself into the police for protection against being murdered by security forces as a terrorist.
Hamyd Mourad says he has an iron-clad alibi. If so, this makes him the despoiler of a false flag attack. Authorities will have to say that despite being wrong about Mourad, they were right about the Kouachi brothers. Alternatively, Mourad could be coerced or tortured into some sort of confession that supports the official story.https://www.intellihub.com/18-year-old-charlie-hebdo-suspect-surrenders-police-claims-alibi/
The American and European media have ignored the fact that Mourad turned himself in for protection from being killed as a terrorist as he has an alibi. I googled Hamid Mourad and all I found (January 12) was the main US and European media reporting that the third suspect had turned himself in. The reason for his surrender was left out of the reports. The news was reported in a way that gave credence to the accusation that the suspect who turned himself in was part of the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Not a single US mainstream media source reported that the alleged suspect turned himself in because he has an ironclad alibi.
Some media merely reported Mourad’s surrender in a headline with no coverage in the report. The list that I googled includes the Washington Post (January 7 by Griff Witte and Anthony Faiola); Die Welt (Germany) “One suspect has turned himself in to police in connection with Wednesday’s massacre at the offices of Parisian satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo;” ABC News (January 7) “Youngest suspect in Charlie Hebdo Attack turns himself in;” CNN (January 8) “Citing sources, the Agence France Presse news agency reported that an 18-year-old suspect in the attack had surrendered to police.”
Another puzzle in the official story that remains unreported by the presstitute media is the alleged suicide of a high ranking member of the French Judicial Police who had an important role in the Charlie Hebdo investigation. For unknown reasons, Helric Fredou, a police official involved in the most important investigation of a lifetime, decided to kill himself in his police office on January 7 or January 8 (both dates are reported in the foreign media) in the middle of the night while writing his report on his investigation. A google search as of 6pm EST January 13 turns up no mainstream US media report of this event. The alternative media reports it, as do some UK newspapers, but without suspicion or mention whether his report has disappeared. The official story is that Fredou was suffering from “depression” and “burnout,” but no evidence is provided. Depression and burnout are the standard explanations of mysterious deaths that have unsettling implications.
Once again we see the US print and TV media serving as a ministry of propaganda for Washington. In place of investigation, the media repeats the government’s implausible story.
It behoves us all to think. Why would Muslims be more outraged by cartoons in a Paris magazine than by hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed by Washington and its French and NATO vassals in seven countries during the past 14 years?
If Muslims wanted to make a point of the cartoons, why not bring a hate crime charge or lawsuit? Imagine what would happen to a European magazine that dared to satirize Jews in the way Charlie Hebdo satirized Muslims. Indeed, in Europe people are imprisoned for investigating the holocaust without entirely confirming every aspect of it.
If a Muslim lawsuit was deep-sixed by French authorities, the Muslims would have made their point. Killing people merely contributes to the demonization of Muslims, a result that only serves Washington’s wars against Muslim countries.
If Muslims are responsible for the attack on Charlie Hebdo, what Muslim goal did they achieve? None whatsoever. Indeed, the attack attributed to Muslims has ended French and European sympathy and support for Palestine and European opposition to more US wars against Muslims. Just recently France had voted in the UN with Palestine against the US-Israeli position. This assertion of an independent French foreign policy was reinforced by the recent statement by the President of France that the economic sanctions against Russia should be terminated.
Clearly, France was showing too much foreign policy independence. The attack on Charlie Hebdo serves to cow France and place France back under Washington’s thumb.
Some will contend that Muslims are sufficiently stupid to shoot themselves in the head in this way. But how do we reconcile such alleged stupidity with the alleged Muslim 9/11 and Charlie Hebdo professional attacks?
If we believe the official story, the 9/11 attack on the US shows that 19 Muslims, largely Saudis, without any government or intelligence service support, outwitted not only all 16 US intelligence agencies, the National Security Council, Dick Cheney and all the neoconservatives in high positions throughout the US government, and airport security, but also the intelligence services of NATO and Israel’s Mossad. How can such intelligent and capable people, who delivered the most humiliating blow in world history to an alleged Superpower with no difficulty whatsoever despite giving every indication of their intentions, possibly be so stupid as to shoot themselves in the head when they could have thrown France into turmoil with a mere lawsuit?
The Charlie Hebdo story simply doesn’t wash. If you believe it, you are no match for a Muslim.
Some who think that they are experts will say that a false flag attack in France would be impossible without the cooperation of French intelligence. To this I say that it is practically a certainty that the CIA has more control over French intelligence than does the President of France. Operation Gladio proves this. The largest part of the government of Italy was ignorant of the bombings conducted by the CIA and Italian Intelligence against European women and children and blamed on communists in order to diminish the communist vote in elections.
Americans are a pitifully misinformed people. All of history is a history of false flag operations. Yet Americans dismiss such proven operations as “conspiracy theories,” which merely proves that government has successfully brainwashed insouciant Americans and deprived them of the ability to recognize the truth.
Americans are the foremost among the captive nations.
Who will liberate them?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.