The aftermath of the Arizona shooting reminded me of how much support there is for the Second Amendment compared to other amendments. No one — left or right — believes that guns will be restricted in any way.
Not so with the other amendments. The ruling class has figured out how to make the Bill of Rights irrelevant.
The First Amendment now means we have the right to assemble in cages far away and out of sight of our political leaders at their conventions. (If dissent falls over in a cage does it make a sound?) Freedom of speech now only has real meaning and impact if there are millions of dollars of TV and radio advertising behind it.
The Fourth Amendment was KOed in the phony war on drugs but its body is still kicked about the ring in the phony war on terror. Waking up each day in America means learning how many new ways we are spied upon and not free. Now there’s an ever-growing number of places where we are not secure in our persons and effects — homes, phones, vehicles, cameras, computers, airports and, soon, bus and train stations and malls. (I absolutely draw the line at my favorite station — the Magnum roller coaster station at Cedar Point.) I fantasize about tens of millions of crazed Fourth Amendment fetishists. You’ll only pull that probable cause from my cold dead hands.
The Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments are a nightmarish parade of absurdities where it’s entirely possible to be an illiterate Afghan goat herder kidnapped by a criminal gang ( “He was Osama bin Laden’s yogurt man!”) and sold to the American military for a lottery-like pay out and then be jailed and tortured (if tortured to death, stop here) without charge or trial and, years later, stood up in a show trial held out of sight on an island nation (which Americans have always been taught hates freedom and democracy) and have the torture-induced false confession used as evidence against you and then, when you are miraculously found not guilty, you can continue to be held and put into however many jeopardies it takes to keep you locked up forever and then thrown into solitary confinement in a Supermax prison, like 25,000 Americans, where your mind will be destroyed in a most definite cruel and unusual punishment, and all of this is just a pit stop to your ultimate destination on a gurney where you can, finally, wrongfully, legally, be tortured to death in a “botched” execution. And your kidnapping, false imprisonment, torture and death will be proudly used by politicians to drum up money and votes. It may not be George Mason and James Madison’s cup of tea but it hits the spot with the Tea Party, most of the United States Congress and President Obummer — and these highly evolved superior beings are all that matter.
And yet the Second Amendment seems immune from any encroachment. But I put it to you that we don’t know how strong the Second Amendment muscle really is because it never gets a decent workout. And here’s how to exercise it: I urge all animal liberationists, eco-warriors and every Latino and Muslim in America to assemble the vast, but perfectly legal, arsenals that many on the white right have always had. Then we will see how well-tolerated the Second Amendment is, something the Black Panthers learned long ago. I expect that we would see vegan compounds — bloody Rutabaga Ridges and Bac-Os — being stormed by the ATF and FBI.
My favorite headline about the Arizona shooting came from the January 8 Trentonian which threw in everything but the kitchen sink: “Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot in head in terrorist attack: federal judge, 9/11 girl killed; is Sarah Palin responsible?”
Here’s a quote from the article:
Giffords is known in her southern Arizona district for her numerous public outreach meetings, which she admitted in an October interview with the Associated Press can sometimes be challenging.
‘You know, the crazies on all sides, the people who come out, the planet earth people,’ she said following an appearance with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Tucson, where Mullen was questioned by a woman who wanted the military to start ‘building cities instead of destroying them.’ ‘I’m glad this just doesn’t happen to me.’
Right. The crazies, the planet earth people who would rather see money spent building cities than destroying them. The crazies who don’t like mountaintop removal and fracking and unconstitutional wars and extra-judicial assassinations and indefinite detention and giving away the public treasury to thieving bankers, or the ongoing spectacle of Senate warmongers like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman pushing for turning Iran into thousands of bloody Safeway parking lots.
McCain was quoted in the same Trentonian article from Colombia, America’s favorite human rights abuser in Latin America, where he was visiting its president. Arizona is a mere anti-union “right to work” state but oh what a free market paradise Colombia is — there, right wing death squads successfully compete against labor organizers by routinely killing them. I’m sure Sen. McCain was raising (Arizona?) hell about all those murdered union organizers. It’s more likely that the senator was ascertaining how well American tax dollars are being spent to exterminate leftist guerillas under the cover of a bogus “war on drugs” and ginning up trouble against Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela next door.
The United States Congress feels no urgency about the following: On January 7 the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced there are 14.5 million unemployed Americans, 8.9 million others who are working part-time but who want full-time work, 1.3 million who looked for work in the preceding 12 months but not in the four weeks leading up to the employment survey and 1.3 million discouraged workers who have given up looking for work altogether — for an official grand(ly understated) total of 26 million unemployed or under-employed. Contrariwise, the United States Congress moved heaven and earth in one week in 2008 to prop up insolvent zombie financial institutions with a potential $20 trillion, according to SourceWatch, of which the bankers took millions for Christmas bonuses and kicked back a tiny amount as the Congressional bribes known as campaign contributions.
Trillion$ to pay off the gambling debts of zombie banksters, 26 million Americans without jobs. A joke of a country. A lawless country — with more repressive laws than ever — socially, morally and financially bankrupt, that rightly commands no loyalty or respect. Fast action and trillion$ for bankers, millions of jobless Americans fighting for every little scrap they can get, whether it’s food stamps or unemployment benefits. That’s the priorities of the sanctimonious corruptatons in the United States Congress who call for civility in public discourse while they spend trillions of more dollars on the slaughter of innocent people in unconstitutional wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Arizona shooter is presented as an aberration while the CIA and young men at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada kill hundreds of times more civilians in Pakistan (over 2,000 murdered since Obama took office) in their computer-guided drone strikes.
The Arizona shooting will evolve from ruling class hand wringing about the rabid right’s rhetoric to concrete actions against Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, eco-activists, Hugo Chavez, the FARC, Iran, Hezbollah and any entity effectively resisting the American empire.
I fluctuate every day, sometimes every hour, between hope and despair. My hope is the destruction of the American empire — my despair is that it might not happen in time for millions of people. At this moment, I’m unexpectedly bullish on its demise. I’m totally confident, for the next ten seconds, that something this arrogant, bankrupt and nakedly hypocritical is creating the courageous and determined people all over the world — in the jungles and deserts and even in the belly of the military beast itself — who will bury it, and have a good laugh doing it. Hallelujah, brother!
Oops — too late. Back to the shit. This country is in permanent lockdown. We have the right to dream and the right to blow off steam but not the ability to change anything. Every day we slog on, on fire but insensate, through the perfectly calibrated Hell of America where nothing positive can happen for the vast working class majority unless it first, and mostly, benefits a tiny minority of rapacious parasites. The money is for THEM, the mainstream news is for THEM, all the worry and concern and action in government is for THEM, everything is for THEM and we are of no consequence.
Dictators of the world, come visit America and see how it’s really done: Here the slaves believe they are free because they can buy iShit in ten different colors. Here it’s a way of life that the majority NEVER gets what it wants whether it’s universal single-payer health insurance, an end to wars or an end to bailing out the rich. Behold the narcissistic obedient subjects, with their phenomenal tolerance for dark-skinned pain and death, who have the exact government they deserve — watch them work until they drop because Wall Street fleeced them of tens of trillions of dollars in fraud-filled pump and dump asset bubbles. Behold the Marlboro Man dreams floating above the foundational cowardice of the American working class, ignorantly proud that, unlike the French and Greeks and Tunisians, they would never cause any trouble for their capitalist masters. Behold the Extermi-Nation, where the only honorable place to be is six feet under or the penitentiary.
Martin Luther King knew it then, Bradley Manning knows it now. Listen up, Obummer: Manning is closer to King than you have ever been and will ever be.