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Shock and Awe

I think I finally understand why McCain is still in this thing: We are a nation that loves all things martial; military heroes, military uniforms, military strategy. So it would only make sense that a certain portion of the country would have a collective warm and fuzzy feeling for this fossil of a man. I dig it. I can’t get with it, but I dig it.

But I do find it odd that the only time we know how to use military strategy (versus the reactionary tactics that reign supreme in Iraq) is when it comes to duping the American people. We’ve already discussed “divide and conquer,” which involves splitting the troops to dilute their power. That’s what is at play when we hear stories about how Latinos will never vote for a Black candidate, which a Pew Hispanic study found to be patently false, as 66% of Hispanics registered voters are planning to side with Barack Obama in November.

Now we’re getting a face full of “shock and awe.” Now you might say, “Hold on, there, Kenrya. Isn’t that what we used when we first started this war, bombing homes and killing an estimated 6,616 civilians? No one’s dropping any bombs on my apartment building.” But I’d haughtily tell you that you’re wrong.

Here’s a definition of shock and awe that is so dead-on that it makes me feel sick to my stomach. According to a memo from the U.S. National Defense University, it’s officially called “rapid dominance,” and it means to “impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary…to paralyze its will to carry on…[to] seize control of the environment and paralyze or so overload an adversary’s perceptions and understanding of events that the enemy would be incapable of resistance at the tactical and strategic levels.” In short, scare folks until their fear overrides their ability to reason and fight for themselves. Merde.

The early “October Surprise” that is our current economic situation is just the latest tactic in this strategy. From capitalizing on the fear following 9/11 to picking our pockets last week, it’s working. Let’s see: First we gave up our privacy rights with the USA PATRIOT Act and let the administration pay their homeboys to manage the war on terror. Then we sat idly while developers rushed in to turn the Ninth Ward into condos and casinos following Hurricane Katrina. And now we’ve allowed our so-called democracy to socialize the financial system, making us pay for them to take ownership of private banking centers and the shitty securities they sold, but not cutting us in on the profits that will come when the market rebounds in a couple of years. Unbelievable. Meanwhile, we’re stomping all over the idea of the capitalism we claim to support, looking for a political solution for a problem that the free market is, by definition, supposed to solve.

I’m not the only one who sees how our government uses fear to take away our rights, one by one. Naomi Klein wrote an excellent book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, about just that. I bought it for the hubby last year and never got around to reading it myself, but the current situation has made me pull it down from the shelf. Klein’s site tells visitors that “information is shock resistance. Arm yourself.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

—Kenrya

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Last 5 posts by kenrya

  • Diane

    Hey you,
    You said something key in your column – ‘we sat idly’ – and that’s the biggest shame on US.

    I can only hope Americans get off their bums and take back their power. And it’s not just by voting for one or the other. Clearly one person CANNOT make the difference.

    There’s nothing to say we cannot impeach/throw out every last Congress person and Senator. Each and every one (yes, including the prez candidates) have agendas for themselves. We have allowed them to rape our country, for their own gain as well as that of their lobbyist cronies.

    We allowed the CEOs to do damage to environment and economy – and sat, open-mouthed each and every year when we heard the packages and bonuses of said CEOs. Not once did shareholders say enough and vote a big NO to this.

    We have CEOs on the Hill this week – saying they are upset they lost x amount of money and so only got $345 million? Kiss my arse. Each one should be handcuffed.

    Let me throw this out: AIG went on a retreat last week (that would be the top guns). They went to an oceanview hotel (rates starting at $589 a night) to do what? Talk about their portfolios? Anyhoo – in case you’re not getting this – this is on your BAILOUT money. And CEO of AIG begged off his stint on the Hill today/tomorrow, feigning sickness. Kiss my arse.

    Fannie/Freddie. The resting place of many ex-hillers (and yeah, McCain and Obama both have ties).

    Shame on US for being so lazy and allowing ourselves to be treated like 4-yr. olds. Meaning, big business/the Hill shoved this awful things down the US’s throat and we took it, few questions asked.

    And until we change our mindsets, and find the government really does work FOR us, and not DESPITE us… we’re destined to repeat this cycle.

    Americans do not need to support the NFL, NHL (both dear to my heart…), NBA, NASCAR to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars each season.

    Save your money. Find a good CD rate from a reputable and solvent bank. Don’t play the market, don’t GIVE your money to the cretins who lied to you about profit margins/returns. Return to the market only when the CEOs are driven out, and the politicians become a tad honest (I don’t hope for total honesty).

    Enough of the free ride and the ostrich syndrome. Wake up, work for your future, and VOTE FOR YOUR FUTURE.

    We can make a difference if we stop giving away our power.

  • Derek

    Yes yes! And now on our behalf, the Fed is about to go deep into the “commercial paper” game — the bailout was just installment number one. All because we’re skeered.

    Great stuff, K. And kudos on the POTUS candidate interviews.

  • Diane

    And somehow this ‘bailout’ isn’t doing anything – we’re still tanking in the market. And the foreign markets just keep following suit.

    So, since they have yet to do anything with this bailout money, why not take it back and just let the markets fall naturally?

    On a quasi-POTUS note: I’m thrilled to be in a battleground state. My vote – if I have a provisional ballot…. – might actually count.

    Must pick up the Klein book…

    (Hey Derek!)