Tuesday, December 18, 2012

US Media having a field day with Newtown Killings: Politicians cover the bases

Another tragic scene too familiar in the US
The media madness after the mass killings in Newtown continues.  It is yet another unimaginable tragedy and we are filled with sadness for those whose loved ones died here.

The politicians that preside over the mass murders of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children around the world are concerned so they say. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat who receives an "A" rating and no doubt lots of money from the gun lobby says the massacre means, "it's time to move beyond rhetoric". Manchin had  a campaign ad in 2010 that showed him firing a rifle, but notes now that assault rifles with large magazines aren't used for hunting.

Nick Rahall, another Democratic House member from West Virginia also loved by the gun lobby and one of the biggest recipients of NRA money tells the Wall Street Journal that "aggressive action" is needed and points to "gaps in our mental health system" and a prevalence of "violence in our culture."  He only "points" to the gaps in mental health system because it is unlikely he or anyone else will do anything about the fact that thousands of mentally impaired people wander the streets and sleep under freeway underpasses in this country. 

The right wing imbecile and "B" movie actor Ronald Reagan had a lot to do with throwing the mentally impaired on to the streets.  Vietnam veterans, and no doubt veterans of the more recent slaughters are also subject to mental illness, after all, war can make you sick if you're not Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or John Wayne who made millions from propaganda movies glorifying violence.

As we've commented in earlier blogs, the hypocrisy of Obama and other representatives of the corporations in the aftermath of Newtown is sickening.  Obama has waged a drone war abroad murdering thousands of innocent children.  He supports unconditionally the brutal and inhumane treatment of Palestinians and theft of their land by the Zionist regime and will, if need be, slaughter Iranians as well on behalf of the western energy corporations. 

Joe Lieberman, the arch Zionist and warmongering Senator has opened his mouth.  He is another character that supports the massacre and murder of Palestinians and their children.  It's hard to listen to anything this guy says but he told reporters after the Newtown shooting that "These events are happening more frequently and I worry that if we don't take a thoughtful look at them we're going to lose the hurt and the anger that we have now."

Call me cynical but I don't believe these people are experiencing "hurt and anger". I do not.  They are concerned about their political careers and their investments and the dominance of US capitalism.  Neither Lieberman nor Obama have made public statements condemning US foreign policy that has brought about the deaths  of hundreds of thousands of children throughout the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Have they condemned Madeline Albright and her view that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children has been "Worth it?"  They have not because they are, along with their class colleagues, among the orchestrators of this foreign policy.

The NRA has remained silent, Wal-Mart, the largest US seller of guns and ammo has removed a website advertising a gun similar to the one used at Newtown and the California State Teachers' Retirement System is "reviewing" the $500 million investment it has with Cerebrus, the private equity firm run by billionaire coupon clipper Stephen Feinberg. Another dolt, Dan Quayle, is on the board of Cerberus---connections with political families are useful for business. They are scrambling for  cover, temporarily, they hope.  The NRA has been silent.

It is likely that the federal assault weapon ban that expired in 1994 will be renewed and large capacity clips will be banned or limited in some way.  But the constant massacres are beginning to concern them in a real way as these types of killings are of much more concern to most Americans than al Qaeda or foreign terrorists; Senate majority leader harry Reid said yesterday that the government must "accept the reality that we are not doing enough to protect our citizens" and that a discussion needs to take place on "..how to change laws and culture that allow violence to grow."

The problem is that violence is institutionalized in US society.  It is a very militaristic society.  It declares a "war" on everything.  The racist war on drugs is a disaster and has incarcerated over two million people, more than any country in the world.  The (in)justice system executes the mentally impaired and youth.  Hollywood produces endless films filled with violence and macho scenes yet you can't see a naked breast on television, the apparent escape of a nipple from Janet Jackson's dress has the authorities in an uproar and here we are in the porno capital of the world.  It is a running joke that so many Hollywood movies are constant violence and scenes of destruction that so many Americans are unable to sit through a movie with dialogue.

Then we have the video games that millions of young people play. Many of these are designed by the US military as they are good for hand/eye communication.  The problem with these movies and games is the violence is so emotionless. People kill and kill then go sit down have a coffee and chat with their girl; they feel nothing but it is a very traumatic thing to do for a "normal" person, kill someone.  Watch US TV.  and compare how many times guns are pointed at people compared to shows from other countries.  People barely flinch, act like it's nothing, but I have had guns pulled on me, it is a frightening experience.

I was also thinking today about the prevalence of these right wing Christian organizations.  They suppress critical thinking (you don't need to think if you know you're going to heaven); they support a murderous US foreign policy and promote patriotism and blind obedience to god and country.  After 911 the media was full of reports from experts about why these people did what they did. They "Hate us because of our freedoms".  How childish is this, but this was the line from the country's president and many politicians.  They were just "evil" men. I always say that in one sense, the US population is the first victims of US capitalism, we are in the belly of the beast here.  It is a very controlled society when it comes to the mass media, education and such.  A friend jokingly told me that Americans learn about a foreign country after the Pentagon has bombed it and they can see little maps on CNN showing where it is. There's tremendous isolation here.

We'll see where this goes.  But focusing on guns or no guns is a smoke screen.  The US is the worst country of the advanced capitalist countries to be poor in.  The ideology that you are responsible for your own condition is still quite strong so when people have worked hard all their life, done everything right only to see it collapse as they lose all including health care and shelter; they blame themselves and crack up.  The mentally ill who are walking the streets as the mental health services are cut often live under the radar until a schizophrenic out of his meds shoves someone under a train. But it is a credit to humanity that the vast majority of the people left to survive in the streets don't hurt anyone, don't commit violence on a daily basis.  Simply being homeless is enough to make one sick.  On top of all this, more than any other capitalist economy, we live in a 24 hour marketplace, we can't escape it; we must buy, buy, buy and consume the things they tell us we need to be somebody. There's a lot of powerlessness here.

Limiting magazine sizes, banning assault rifles, this will not solve America's problem.  We are supposed to accept, as comments form a reader pointed out the other day, that killings in the ghettos among the poor and people of color is "normal", we are supposed to accept and can always move out if we have the money, but this too is a country not "protecting its citizens" but the Newtown killings are not poor people, not people of color, its more their base of support.  I would love to be wrong but I cannot see them doing much around mental health either as this would be theraputic and here they respond with repression.  My guess is that repression will take first place again, laws that punish as capitalism continues its mad scramble for profits.

No comments: