Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hitting the Refresh Button - Redux

The last CTA Council of Representatives meeting was held today at the Left Seat restaurant, the large windows overlooking some alternate runway of Sky Harbor Airport. As we trudged through our agenda, the only aircraft to touch down on this runway passed:

Obama was in town tonight to speak at this year's ASU Commencement ceremony. I was supposed to be there to accept my Masters Degree in Education. My professional obligations (teaching), the weather (blast furnace), and the absurd security precautions (2:30 check-in for a 7:00 Commencement) prevented me from attending. So as Air Force One rolled by, my fellow council members scrambled gleefully to get a photo through the windows, a mere football field away. I snapped the above photo with my phone. As we watched the assembled dignitaries await the emergence of the President, and spied for rooftop snipers across the tarmac, I reflected on the last 4 months or so.

A palpable political shift is taking place, but its precise parameters are highly confused. A sense of polarity is easily discerned by engaging with the "mainstream" media. The details of this left/right shell game are not necessary to go over. ("He's a socialist! No! He's a progressive!) Just think the Glenn Beck/Rachel Maddow nexus. In the so-called "progressive" media milieu (Pacifica/Democracy Now/Alternet), the approach has been slightly more nuanced. There has been a strange mix of revulsion and elation with the new administration, especially in places like Alternet. There may be one story praising Obama's approach to the health care problem, and on the same homepage, another condemning his continuance of Bush era policies on indefinite detention of prisoners. This schizophrenia might appear as evidence that this sector of the media is truly non-partisan, performing in true "watchdog" fashion, not like those "other guys" (Fox News, CNN, etc.).

The boundaries of debate are being re-established by the same internal logic that guided the system of domination and control during the Bush years. Are loyalties are simply being re-polarized for maximum pliability. Meanwhile, the Obama administration quietly, under the radar, radically extends the Panoptic gaze while professing its diminishment; the bombing of civilian targets in Afghanistan increases to grotesque levels; the so-called "black" budget is increased again for undisclosed uses; and torture is outsourced to other client states, or simply justified in public statements. The intelligence apparatus is also ramifying its approach to domestic dissent, while the continued recession propogates the ongoing class war (not the one that is discussed openly). These are not controversial facts, all of this can be found by conducting a simple search of the news media online.

After eight years of engineered popular contempt for the policies of the Bush administration, the Obama administration can now act with the same cool impunity, and in fact, can extend the horrifying effects of global capital and increased social control to the next level. The ultimate PSYOP... again, hitting the refresh button. The recent "Swine Flu" experiment was just that, as was this Somalian pirate nonsense. Just testing the waters of credibility and the current fear response. It has been remarkably effective. People actually believe that Obama wants to "redistribute" their wealth in a socialist coup, people actually believe that Obama will "solve the healthcare problem".

"But Obama has closed Guantanamo, given us a tax credit for first-time home buyers, and wants everyone to go to college! You know, he's going to give us all health care."


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