Empire’s Seamless, Pernicious Perfection

Early in 2003, as the Coalition of the Morally Bereft hyped and prepared its invasion, destruction, and pillage of Iraq, Arundhati Roy made a powerful speech at The World Social Forum in Porto Allegre, Brazil.  She suggested that those of us who seek to stop the  cataclysmic policies of Empire might do so “With our art, our music, our stubbornness, our joy, our sheer relentlessness, and our ability to tell our own stories.”  Fast forward thirteen years, and the “Shock and Awe” which still envelops Iraq has proven to be so lucrative to the economies of the U.S.A. and its client states that our (s)elected governmental officials have decided to share it with the world, by bombing into oblivion an ever-widening sphere of victim countries, and pushing dangerously close to all out war with Russia and China.

Concluding a recent article titled “A World War Has Begun: Break the Silence”, John Pilger begs the questions:

“Where are the dissidents in art, film, the theater, literature?  Where are those who will shatter the silence?  Or do we wait until the first nuclear missile is fired?”

I’ll answer Mr. Pilger’s questions as best I can.  Every Sunday afternoon when I’m at my home on Maui, I meet with a group of friends for a pupus, wine, and sunset event.  Among others, the Sunday Sunset Group is made up of a renowned artist, an actor with a resume’ from television and film, three professional musicians, and a former ballet dancer.  Yours truly serves as the sole representative from the literature and dissident departments.

We’re all in the autumn of our lives.  Baby-boomers.  Progeny of the last World War.  We meet on the rolling lawn at Kamaole III Beach Park, overlooking the islands of Lana’i and Kaho’olawe, and the vast blue Pacific.  As the golden orb which warms our earth and gives us life sinks from view, decorating the sky with colorful splashes of splendor, we chat about all the subjects dear to our hearts.  And by “we” I mean “they”.  For each time I shatter the silence with words of dissidence, the reaction is group eye-roll, and after an awkward quiet moment, a quick change of subject.

“Where are the dissidents in art, film, the theater, literature?”
Not on Maui, or at least not among my friends.

“Where are those who will shatter the silence?”
That would be me, but my words nearly always fall upon deaf ears.

“…do we wait until the first nuclear missile is fired?”
More than likely, for Empire is a runaway train.

And I’ve got some bad news for Arundhati Roy.  There aren’t many Banksys in the art world, nor musicians like Pete Seeger.  Also very few stubborn, joyful actors and just a handful of relentless but nearly impotent authors, ill-equipped to tell their own stories loudly enough to be heard.

Empire functions with seamless, pernicious perfection.  Empire is an eclectic mix of predators and prey, entrepreneurs and wage-slaves, wealthy and destitute, killers and victims, dealers and junkies, bankers and fleeced, cops and prisoners, wardens and inmates, educators and brain-washed kids, priests and grovelers, users and used, consumers and commodities.  Empire is yin-yang.  The forceful and the yielding, flowing into each other, creating a perpetual, maybe unstoppable, interconnection.  The Third World War, about which John Pilger warns us, is well underway, and nuclear holocaust might be inevitable.  Unfortunately hope seems futile and prayer ludicrous.

Which brings us to some important but largely overlooked information concerning the Mossack-Fonseca leak.  In a recent interview, economist Michael Hudson shed light upon the real story behind The Panama Papers.  It seems that Panama was originally bought/stolen from Columbia for two main reasons.  The first is the one with which we’re all familiar; the perfect place for a canal/trade route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  The second and less known is that it became a haven for the oil, gas, and mining industries to launder their earnings.  Soon nearly all major multi-national corporations were taking advantage of Panama’s income tax-free status, effectively placing the entire U.S. tax burden upon the shoulders of the lesser people.

Shortly after President Eisenhower warned Americans about the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex in his farewell address, the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. and the very hot Vietnam War kicked into high gear, sending unimaginable numbers of dollars into the black hole of The Pentagon, draining the wealth of Empire, and endangering the status of U.S. currency.  Faced with the prospect of being forced to sell off Empire’s gold reserves, in 1971 President Nixon abolished the gold standard.  Then Tricky Dick had to figure out how to attract enough cash into U.S. banks to maintain the momentum of the war machine.  The solution was simple.  He sent out an open invitation to criminal organizations and drug lords worldwide, put out the welcome mat, and waited.  The gush of trillions of dollars in drug money must have blown him off his feet.

What this all boils down to is the fact that the proper name for U.S. currency and the world’s fiat currency is the “Narco-Dollar”.  It is drug money which now pays for Empire’s wars.  The U.S.A. is a safe haven for the world’s criminals, and it is their ill-gotten gains propping up the dollar.  Criminal investment in tax-free U.S. Treasury bonds fuels the wars on multiple fronts which John Pilger now warns us is nothing less than World War III in progress.

Empire functions with seamless, pernicious perfection.  It is malevolent poetry in motion.  Through the cold, soulless eyes of Empire, the earth is just a spinning ball of resources to be harvested.  Lucky for Empire, its most valuable commodity, humans, tend to breed like rabbits.  As young people in the U.S.A. and vassal states come of age, they’re harvested and exploited in countless ways.  The luckiest group are the spawn of wealthy industrialists and politicians, who attend Ivy League Universities, so they can grow up to fill their parents’ shoes, keeping Empire on track.  Close behind are the brilliant kids from all economic backgrounds, who manage to wrangle scholarships to attend those same universities, going on in adult life to create the next generation of atomic weapons, invent the new iPhone, or serve any number of Empire’s needs and desires.

The rest of the young folks are screwed in one way or another…with seamless, pernicious perfection.  They are nothing more than commodities to be harvested.  Superfluous flesh to turn into Narco-Dollars.  Many take out student loans (to enrich banks and private colleges), only to be saddled with outrageous long-term, high interest payments which haunt them into their graves.  Upon entering the workforce, they find that the jobs they’ve prepared for have been outsourced to third world countries, where slave wages are the norm.  Others, lacking any clear vision of a viable future, join the U.S. Military, becoming warriors in a never-ending series of wars for profit, fully believing that they’re performing their patriotic duty.  The luckiest of these return to civilian life with only mild PTSD.  Others lose limbs or mobility, only to find that the country they love has denied them medical benefits and kicked them into the gutter.  The least fortunate die in action or commit suicide.

That leaves the vast majority of kids in a desperate scramble for some semblance of a future with minimum wage employment at fast-food joints and other service industry jobs.  Necessity being the mother of invention, many take to a life of crime to supplement their lack of income.  Many more turn to drugs for temporary solace.  A sad situation on the surface, but money in the bank for those corporations which prosper by paying slave-wages, for the illegal drug traffickers, for municipal police forces, for the private prison industry, and for those who make their fortunes through the disposal of dead bodies.

John R. Hall: Meanderer, dreamer, mountaineer, restaurateur, military draft refusing felon, wannabe revolutionary, and citizen of Earth, observes the circus of life, and writes from wherever the north winds blow him. He can most likely be found somewhere in The Hawaiian Island Chain, in Mexico's Corazon, in The Sonoran Desert of Arizona, The Mohave Desert of Nevada, The high deserts of New Mexico, on a Teton glacier in Northwest Wyoming...or at halls245@msn.com. Read other articles by John Rohn.