March 28, 2007


OUR NATION IS SUNDERED by a huge and worsening schism, its two sides evident in the contrast between the Democrats’ vicious betrayal of their own tax-reform pledge and Bill Moyers’ desperate plea for organization of popular resistance to the ongoing plunge into sweatshop fascism. These two concurrent developments -- or more accurately the contrast between the long term trends they represent -- vividly illustrate the parameters of the class struggle provoked by the increasingly merciless excesses of the corporate plutocracy: on one side the tiny ruling class of obscenely wealthy fat-cats and the increasingly ruthless politicians who are their protectors and enablers, and on the other side all the rest of us -- a far-too-passive citizenry that is nevertheless beginning to react in anger as we are all thrust ever deeper into inescapable poverty and servitude.

Despite the red-herring distraction of the Iraq War (could such distraction be this war’s clandestine purpose?), the intensifying class struggle was a major factor -- for some demographic groups the only factor -- in the deepening socioeconomic desperation that led to the Democrats’ landslide victory in the 2006 election. The Democrats pledged not just a symbolic hike in the minimum wage but genuine economic reforms -- substantial reductions in the deadly burdens inflicted on seniors and disabled people by the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Lord Benefit, restoration of health care cutbacks imposed on the poor (and especially their children) -- in general a widespread rollback of the Bush Regime policies of euthanasia-by-neglect that express the attitude of the corporate ruling class toward those of us deemed “not profitable.” But to finance this rollback, it was necessary to repeal the unprecedented tax cuts by which the Bush Regime and the Republican Party so lavishly rewarded their benefactors -- a repeal the Democrats fervently promised throughout the 2006 campaign but treacherously killed in the Senate last Friday, 23 March 2007. Which killed all the promised economic reforms too -- at least until 2009 -- and proved once again the Democrats are nothing but Republicans in disguise.

Thus Moyers’ central argument -- that only a “Third American Revolution” will save our nation from a final plunge into a perpetual dark age of everlasting tyranny -- is both timely and legitimately prophetic.

Moyers’ great hope, like mine, is that our needed revolution can be accomplished peacefully, by intelligent use of the tools for change uniquely embodied in our Constitution. For if the struggle turns violent, our nation will surely be destroyed beyond any possibility of reconstruction. Never mind that in such a war there is no doubt the ruling class would win: protected as they are in their walled enclaves, their edicts enforced by mercenary armies with unlimited technologies of torture and oppression, no foe could stand against them; never mind that our only hope of “liberation” would then lie in invasion by equally vicious tyrants from without -- precisely the human condition from the advent of patriarchy onward, with the recent years of blessed liberty diminished to nothing more than a fading spark in a seemingly endless darkness. Indeed the only North American precedent for such a conflict is the Indian War, which lasted some 300 years and ended with the near-total extermination of an entire aboriginal people and the merciless subjugation of the few who survived: thus the ultimate either-or mandate for preservation of our Constitution and its mechanisms for the peaceful resolution of conflict.

To be sure, there have been other tumultuous times in our national experience -- the original Revolution and the forever unique Constitution that resulted, the end of slavery via the Civil War, and since then the Constitutionally protected near-revolutions of the trust-busting era, the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement and the far-from-finished Women’s Movement, all of which Moyers defines as the Second American Revolution. But the consequences of each of these conflicts -- even the Civil War -- were ultimately eased by the seemingly limitless resources available to the Caucasian majority, so that what would eventually be labeled the American Dream became sufficiently real it functioned as an ultimate antidote to the sorts of class-war horrors so common everywhere else on our strife-torn planet.

But this time there can be no such salvation: terminal climate change combined with the exhaustion of petroleum supplies will inflict a double apocalypse that has no precedent in human history. While many cultures have risen and fallen, while many economies have boomed and collapsed, human technology remained constant and sustainable; for example the use of draft animals spanned the millennia from the Neolithic well into the 20th Century. But the advent of the Petroleum Age severed all such connections with the past -- and thus when the oil runs out, it will not be merely economy and culture that dies. All modern technology will also be slain. The American Dream is dead, never to be resurrected. The only question -- especially given the ruin inflicted by terminal climate change -- is how far back to basics we will be flung: to a permanent middle-19th-Century, horse-and-buggy technology, to a permanent neo-Neolithic or early Bronze Age technology, or to extinction, the record of our lost species preserved only in ruins and fossils.

Meanwhile, the politicians engage in an ever-more-deafening clash of ever-more-moronic sound-bites, debating not how the government might respond but whether any of these apocalyptic prospects are even real. Given this deliberately distracting carnival of clamor, few of us realize it is all illusion, nothing more than magic-show patter and shell-game sleight-of-hand, a calculated deception that disguses deeds already done. For the hideous truth is that the corporate fat-cats recognized the looming crisis decades ago and responded accordingly; they are now employing the hurly-burly of meaningless noise to camouflage their total assault on liberty and civilization. Thus they are concentrating their wealth and power into a modern-day equivalent of manorial despotism -- the infinitely sadistic Elizabeth Bathory absolutism that is often incorrectly labeled feudalism. They are empowering themselves as the New Aristocracy -- and they are subjugating all the rest of us to neo-serfdom: the strategic motive behind outsourcing, downsizing, pension-looting, the re-imposition of indentured servitude disguised as bankruptcy reform; the strategic motive for euthanasia via destruction of the social-service safety net, via deliberate denial of life-sustaining drugs under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Lord Benefit, and via the deliberate denial of health care in general; the strategic motive for the genocide by neglect in post-Katrina New Orleans and the genocide by deliberately instigated religious war in Iraq. The purpose is simple: the New Aristocrats are ensuring the post-apocalyptic survival of their own kind -- with slavery and death for all the rest of us.

Thus the challenge: if the fat cats can suppress the ideals of democracy here in the United States -- where such ideals have been institutionalized longer than anywhere on earth -- then the fat cats can easily exterminate whatever democratic yearnings might arise elsewhere. Which we already know is their sworn intent.

The ensuing class struggle is the context of the following two commentaries. The first is a revised version of a report I disseminated to everyone on my “Friends and Colleagues” e-mail list on Sunday. The second is a Moyers’ speech that -- though only if our liberty survives the forthcoming conflict -- will no doubt be included (like the works of Thomas Paine, William Lloyd Garrison and Harriet Beecher Stowe), among the basic documents of U.S. history.

How 11 Class-Traitor Democrats Preserved Bush's Billionaire Tax Cuts at Least until 2009

Eleven class-traitor Democrats -- George Bush Republicans in everything but name -- predictably betrayed the newly Democratic Senate’s effort to roll back the huge tax cuts the Bush Regime granted its wealthiest beneficiaries, thereby ensuring that meaningful tax reform is impossible at least until after the 2008 elections.

The 23 March roll-call vote, on Amendment 547 (S. Amdt. 545) to Senate Congressional Resolution 21 (S. Con. Res. 21) -- the federal budget for fiscal 2008 -- failed by 58-38.

Do the math: 58 minus 11 is 47; 38 plus 11 is 49. The false-flag Democrats thus bear solitary, total and exclusive responsibility for the defeat of Amendment 547.

One of these perfidious pimps for plutocracy is Washington state’s own Sen. Maria Cantwell. The other senators who voted to defend and maintain the huge tax breaks the Bush Regime has given the ruling class are Max Baucus of Montana, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche L. Lincoln of Arkansas, Bill Nelson of Florida, E. Benjamin Nelson of Nebraska, Ken Salazar of Colorado, Jon Tester of Montana, Jim Webb of Virginia and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Amendment 547’s author and original sponsor was Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the federal government’s only elected socialist. No doubt merely to further the Democrats’ deception of the electorate, 547 was co-sponsored by Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski. But just as Sanders said in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, the vote on the amendment proves beyond any doubt “which side we consider ourselves to be on.”

Precisely because the Bush Regime’s reward-the-rich/punish-the-rest-of-us tax scheme remains in effect, ALL of the social-service reforms the Democrats promised are now delayed until 2009. Indeed -- having experienced this sort of Democratic treachery too many times (I will never forget how warmonger Johnson ran as the Vietnam peace candidate and how the Clintons sabotaged health care reform) -- I cannot doubt the betrayal was not only planned long ago but is intended to be permanent: continuation of the murderous class war initiated by Nixon and escalated by every DemoPublican president since, no tax reform, no expansion of social services, no improvement in health care or public education, no prospects of betterment for anyone save the aristocracy -- not now, not ever again

That the resultant continued and worsening denial of social services is ultimately euthanasia by neglect clearly delights not only the Democrats and Republicans but especially their pluotocratic masters: there is no other explanation for the vote on 547. After all, the death of every “unprofitable” human -- those of us who are disabled or elderly and the increasing number of us who have been flung into inescapable poverty by outsourcing -- is simply more money in the pockets, offshore bank accounts and Swiss lock-boxes of the corporate ruling class: the grim reality underlying my oft-repeated statement that in this era, survival itself is a revolutionary act.

And this time -- unless the story continues to be suppressed by corporate media -- the Democrats’ treachery may be a real turning point: a genuine moment of infamy, it proves beyond any lingering doubt and for everyone to see that the Democrats are no different from the Republicans, especially in their ideological conviction that the rich should pay no taxes at all -- that the poorer we are, the more likely we are to need government services, and that the tax burden should therefore be shifted accordingly, never mind the added weight is already pressing us into our graves.

Which in turn proves -- more definitively than anything I have ever witnessed -- that restoration of the Democratic Party to its New Deal values is impossible and therefore absurd to contemplate any further: that our only hope of achieving Moyers’ Third Revolution is construction of an entirely new party from the grassroots up.

The U.S. Senate roll-call vote on Amendment 547 is available here. For some reason -- apparently censorship inflicted by the MuNu site server -- I cannot post a working link to Sanders' web site, which includes the C-Span telecast of the passionate speech by which he introduced Amendment 547. Hence if you want more information about Sanders, please Google "U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders" and click on

To me, Sanders typifies precisely the kind of person around whom a new party might coalesce.

But As We Dither, Moyers Warns Us Time Is Running Out: ‘America Is Melting Down’

The following are excerpts from a speech the journalist Bill Moyers gave at Occidental College last month:

Beginning a quarter of a century ago a movement of corporate, political, and religious fundamentalists gained ascendancy over politics and made inequality their goal. They launched a crusade to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that have held private power. And they had the money to back up their ambition.

Let me read you something:

When powerful interests shower Washington with millions in campaign contributions, they often get what they want. But it is ordinary citizens and firms that pay the price and most of them never see it coming. This is what happens if you don't contribute to their campaigns or spend generously on lobbying. You pick up a disproportionate share of America's tax bill. You pay higher prices for a broad range of products from peanuts to prescriptions. You pay taxes that others in a similar situation have been excused from paying. You're compelled to abide by laws while others are granted immunity from them. You must pay debts that you incur while others do not. You're barred from writing off on your tax returns some of the money spent on necessities while others deduct the cost of their entertainment. You must run your business by one set of rules, while the government creates another set for your competitors. In contrast, the fortunate few who contribute to the right politicians and hire the right lobbyists enjoy all the benefits of their special status. Make a bad business deal; the government bails them out. If they want to hire workers at below market wages, the government provides the means to do so. If they want more time to pay their debts, the government gives them an extension. If they want immunity from certain laws, the government gives it. If they want to ignore rules their competition must comply with, the government gives its approval. If they want to kill legislation that is intended for the public, it gets killed.

I'm not quoting from Karl Marx's Das Kapital or Mao's Little Red Book. I'm quoting Time magazine. From the heart of America's media establishment comes the judgment that America now has "government for the few at the expense of the many."

We are talking about nothing less that a class war declared a generation ago, in a powerful polemic by the wealthy right-winger, William Simon, who had been Richard Nixon's Secretary of the Treasury. In it he declared that "funds generated by business... must rush by the multimillions" to conservative causes. The trumpet was sounded for the financial and business class to take back the power and privileges they had lost as a result of the Great Depression and the New Deal. They got the message and were soon waging a well-orchestrated, lavishly-financed movement. Business Week put it bluntly: "Some people will obviously have to do with less... .It will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with less so that big business can have more." The long-range strategy was to cut workforces and their wages, scour the globe in search of cheap labor, trash the social contract and the safety net that was supposed to protect people from hardships beyond their control, deny ordinary citizens the power to sue rich corporations for malfeasance and malpractice, and eliminate the ability of government to restrain what editorialists for the Wall Street Journal admiringly call "the animal spirits of business."

Looking backwards, it all seems so clear that we wonder how we could have ignored the warning signs at the time. What has been happening to working people is not the result of Adam Smith's invisible hand but the direct consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a religious literalism opposed to any civil and human right that threaten its paternalism, and a string of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us.

Moyers’ full text is available here, thanks to the radical news service Truthout.


Obviously I agree with Moyers’ disturbing prognosis: that America is doomed unless a resistance movement with a program of an expanded New Deal arises in the near future, once again grafting the historical truth of class struggle onto the Constitutional principles of liberty and employing the democratic process to avoid the nation-destroying cycle of vengeance characteristic of violent revolution.

Yet despite Moyers’ condemnation of the ever-more-tyrannosauric savagery of post-Soviet capitalism, he fails to recognize the relentless advance of sweatshop fascism for what it is -- the ruling class response to the impending double apocalypse of terminal climate change and the concurrent exhaustion of the petroleum supply upon which the present-day economy, culture and technology are all hopelessly dependent. A practicing Christian, Moyers is also blind to how the ruling-class response embodies the innermost doctrine of Abrahamic religion and indeed of patriarchy in general: not “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” or “share and share alike,” but the ultimate Jewish/Christian/Islamic mandate to divide all humanity into the Chosen (which is how the fat cats think of themselves) and the Damned (which is how the fat cats view all the rest of us): thus to brutalize us not only at every whim but with complete absolution from even the tiniest pangs of guilt -- exactly as the Indians were brutalized from Saint Augustine to Wounded Knee and beyond. The treachery of the Democratic senators merely exemplifies the process of our subjugation.

Because we humans are powerfully intuitive -- never mind that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all vehemently condemn such McLuhanesque insightfulness as deviltry and witchcraft -- most of us have long sensed that our infinitely wasteful world of space ships, airplanes, automobiles, shopping-malls and suburbs is doomed, whether we acknowledge it consciously or not. But nowhere is the collective perception of impending ruin more obvious than in the intensifying nihilism of our young: note how the youth-gang phenomenon, an ultimate expression of hopelessness, has spread from the ghettos (where one is born into hopelessness) even unto the posh suburbs (where not even the most gaudy excesses of trinket materialism now suffice to conceal the fact that -- unless one is born into the corporate aristocracy -- life is ultimately no less hopeless than in the ghetto). African-American, Asiatic, Hispanic, Caucasian, Aboriginal, our young people are increasingly united by the dreadful realization that unless one is born into the aristocracy (or marries into it), the only possible future is steadily worsening poverty -- and thus the young are increasingly united in ever-more-interracial gangs. No wonder too there is such an explosion of drug addiction: beyond all the psychobabble of euphemisms and false hypotheses, the hideous truth is that people become junkies simply because the capitalist world is already so wretchedly hopeless it denies them any other access to positive feelings.

Which is merely further confirmation of the desperate need for Moyers’ “Third American Revolution” -- not just in the socioeconomic and political realms, but in the psychological, environmental and metaphysical realms as well.

Posted by Loren at 07:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2007


IT SEEMS TO ME the Britney Spears antics by which a certain ostensibly "anti-war" cult disrupted the recent Valerie Plame Congressional hearing provide an especially instructive example of how the self-proclaimed “Left” in the United States is not only hopelessly paralyzed by faddism but -- precisely because of the savage anti-intellectuality that is faddism’s essential core -- is unable to achieve even the slightest degree of responsiveness to anyone outside the cult’s exclusive and infinitely conformist ranks. Thus the cult itself (and a cult is precisely what it is, whether exemplified by the prom-queen histrionics of Code Pink or the Mater Dolorosa persona of Cindy Sheehan) fails to address any of the broader socioeconomic grievances afflicting the American public -- much less the underlying socioeconomic causes of the war. Worse, like some spoiled child screaming "look at me" in the middle of a crowded mall or subway station, the cult notoriously favors hopelessly petulant media spectacle over reasoned opposition, thereby conveying the impression all such protest is of no more substance than a pampered two-year-old's obnoxiously disruptive tantrum.

Moreover -- precisely because its patently self-indulgent conduct alienates far more people than it radicalizes or mobilizes -- the cult provides a seemingly natural barrier against the evolution of any broader (and therefore genuine) resistance movement: no doubt the very reason its existence is tolerated by a regime that in every other possible way grows ever more brazenly tyrannical by the minute. The utter shallowness of the post-Valerie-Plame-disruption tactical debate carried on via at least one Democratic Party website -- ultimately nothing more than a sorority-house conflict over fashion (with therefore even less substance than the medieval schoolmen’s arguments over how many angels might dance on the head of a pin) -- is merely another example of the behavior that defines the cult itself.

But is it accurate to label the Code Pink/Mater Dolorosa clique a cult?

Webster (10th Collegiate) describes cult initially in religious or medicine-show terms but then defines cult as “a great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as in a film or book), especially such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad; a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion.” Encarta further defines cult as “a self-identified group of people who share a narrowly defined interest or perspective.”

That these definitions apply to the Code Pink/Mater Dolorosa faction of the opposition to the Iraq War is obvious in the fact the women who became Code Pink reflexively protested not only against the Iraq War, but against the entire so-called War on Terror even before the relevant issues were accorded any significant public debate. The protestors utterly disdained the vast distinctions between Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby demonstrating their sneering contempt for the nation’s post-9/11 anguish, and thus from the very beginning they alienated huge segments of the public. In addition, many people recognized in Code Pink the same aggressive pacifism (and indeed the same membership) that characterizes another cult: the fanatical hysterics who advocate forcible civilian disarmament, compulsory pacifism and mandatory victimhood. More than a few of us -- myself among them -- were thus driven to prematurely support the Iraq War (that is, to accept the Bush Regime’s lies) merely because we had already encountered the infinite hatefulness of these pre-9/11 expressions of what became the Code Pink ideology.

When Cindy Sheehan added the Mater Dolorosa element following the death of her son, it seemed to me not an expression of ethics or ideology but instead nothing more than a public act of private vengeance -- another aspect of the same vapid hypocrisy that had been the faction’s unifying characteristic from the beginning: objection to war not as (yet another) expression of capitalism’s Inner Tyrannosaur, but merely because -- though the cult members obviously thrive on capitalism's trinket materialism -- war offends Code Pink’s sense of stylistic correctness (“guns are ugly and frightening”) and also took away Cindy Sheehan’s only son.

Indeed, I maintain that the snide theatrics of Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan and all their apolitical, anti-intellectual ilk bear substantial responsibility for the public’s initial acceptance of the Iraq War. As I already noted, theirs is protest built on the most narrow (and therefore most exclusive) foundation possible: that the Code Pink/Mater Dolorosa cult is the only faction of the war’s opponents given significant publicity by the corporate media is thus surely no accident. By contrast, observe how corporate media totally ignores organized labor’s massive opposition to the Iraq War -- an opposition far more powerful (and more potentially revolutionary) than anything Code Pink or Cindy Sheehan could ever muster.

In this context it is significant that the sophomoronic prom-queen hissy by which Code Pink disrupted the Congressional hearing and mocked the entire legislative process is -- at least in the eyes of the vast U.S. majority -- tantamount to burning the national flag or spitting in the faces of military veterans: a huge and alienating gesture of disrespect. It surely recruited no allies to the ranks of Iraq War opponents -- or any other cause even remotely associated with socioeconomic transformation. In fact, precisely because corporate media so emphatically endorses its claim to represent “the Left,” the calculated offensiveness of the Code Pink/Mater Dolorosa cult discredits the entire cause of economic democracy. Therefore is it no exaggeration at all to say that the cult’s bottomless disrespectfulness serves the cause of class warfare -- and therefore the purposes of the ruling class itself -- every bit as effectively as any propaganda machine or secret police apparatus.

By the way, my avoidance of the term “anti-war movement” is not an accident. While there is undoubtedly huge opposition to the Iraq War -- 70 percent of the electorate by the most recent polls -- it is hardly united enough to be called a “movement.” The potentially irresolvable class division already evident in the schism between the avowedly pro-capitalist bourgeoisie represented by the Code Pink/Mater Dolorosa cult and anti-war labor (which is increasingly anti-capitalist) suggests that no genuine “movement” -- at least no sustainable movement -- will ever emerge from the present anti-war ferment. The very failure of the anti-war protest to focus on unifying socioeconomic principles is probably the precise reason the ruling class continues to tolerate it -- all the more so since the Britney Spears tactics employed by the Code Pink/Mater Dolorosa cult reliably alienate anyone who might see beyond the war itself to its origins in the tyrannosauric rampage of post-Soviet capitalism.

As for myself, I long ago repudiated my initial support for the invasion of Iraq. Like so many others, I was conned to complicity by the Bush Regime’s expert use of the Josef Goebbels tactic of the Big Lie. Nevertheless I also recognize the Iraq War as nothing exceptional -- just another one of the innumerable ways we working folk are tyrannized as capitalism marches toward its inevitable fulfillment in fascism. And knowing history as I do, I recognize the absolute reality of the Jihadist threat -- never mind how the Bush Regime has manipulated it into a latter-day Reichstag Fire. But I regard stopping the genocidal denial of life-saving prescription drugs -- denial that was deliberately imposed on the most vulnerable of the nation’s elderly and disabled peoples by the DemoPublican Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Lord Benefit -- as far more important than withdrawal from Iraq. Which of course makes me anathema not just to the Code Pink/Mater Dolorosa cult but to the entire self-proclaimed, media-anointed “Left,” whose singular focus on the war is underscored by emphatic and often antagonistic exclusion of any and all issues of broader relevance. Britney would no doubt belch in anti-intellectual agreement with my detractors.

Posted by Loren at 04:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2007


HATEFULNESS IS INCREASINGLY an identifying characteristic of life in the present-day United States. We see it everywhere: the political paralysis inflicted by fanatics, the skyrocketing incidence of road-rage, the spiteful arrogance of bureaucrats and elected officials, and the outrageous rudeness -- especially the defiant, trod-on-our-heels invasion of personal space -- by which the nation’s young demonstrate their infinite contempt not just for their elders but for any semblance of human civilization.

It is therefore probably no coincidence that the Internet -- overwhelmingly the domain of America’s singularly amoral, apolitical youth -- reflects this hatefulness more vividly than any other facet of our society. Indeed it is no exaggeration at all to say that (despite the Internet’s innumerable positive aspects), a rich and pampered techno-aristocracy of skillfully venomous sadists are methodically turning it into a treacherous miasma of malice.

I learned this the hard way recently when someone with whom I am exceptionally close e-mailed me with the very best of intentions a useful-looking document entitled “5 Things Your Cell Phone Can Do.” My e-correspondent had in turn received it from a friend she has known and trusted since her school days; the friend had herself sent it on in nothing less than maximum good faith. But all of our instinctive confidence in one another -- considerably bolstered by the fact we are all presumably sophisticated urbanites -- was betrayed by the malignant sadist who, tens of thousands of e-mailers ago, originated what more properly should be titled “5 False Hopes to Further Intensify Your Terror and Despair in Dire Emergencies.”

Just as most of us were, I was conned by the fact “5 Things” looked cheerily helpful -- exactly the same carefully art-directed quality possessed by a user-manual written in English rather than Nurd and therefore a rare and invaluable find. Thus after noting it was not only written in the clear language characteristic of good professional writing but apparently also had the imprimatur of a legitimate business (and had of course been thoroughly vetted by my constantly updated virus protection), I concluded it was useful information well presented, and I forwarded it without much further thought to all the people on my “friends and colleagues” list.

Most of these folks were all the more vulnerable given the fact persons of my age group would probably never have imagined the ubiquitous cell-phone as the centerpiece of a malicious scam -- its malice inherent in the disappointment and even horror that would surely result were someone to attempt, under emergency conditions, the false remedies and bogus last-ditch measures "5 Things” described.

But another friend and colleague -- a highly skilled and alert woman who is already involved with broadcast media and has several times demonstrated more than enough instinctive reportorial talent to break into serious print -- is also at least 20 years my junior and is therefore in much closer grass-roots contact with just how relentlessly vicious Americans have actually become.

Thus she reflexively submitted “5 Things” to verification by and quickly alerted everyone on my mailing list to the fact it is a fraud. My original correspondent was of course embarrassed because she had forwarded the material to me, I was thoroughly mortified because factual verification is one of my professional obligations, and both of us apologized accordingly

But beyond the red faces and discomfort of being caught up in a con, it seems to me there are at least three vital lessons to be learned from this episode:

(1)-That the Internet, though it contains much that is good and useful, has become a dark and perverse realm in which legions of sadists, vandals and thieves conspire to inflict loss, injury and mortification by every means possible.

(2)-That given this increasingly emergent alternate identity of the Internet, the malevolent intent of its content should be assumed: that is, any message not originating from a recognizably legitimate source should be regarded as a potential attack (whether on one's computer, one's finances or one's credibility) until proven otherwise.

(3)-That we therefore need to maintain not only the long-recognized defense of reflexive skepticism toward any and all Internet financial offers, but to aggressively develop an all-inclusive and overtly hostile suspicion toward anything and everything we encounter on the Internet.

Obviously the “5 Things” scam was furthered by the fact that cell-phone technology -- and today’s information technology in general -- is based on science totally alien to the Newtonian world of my boyhood. It is thus utterly incomprehensible to anyone save esoteric-minded specialists (the modern-day equivalent of witch-doctors) who in any case are never much older than about age 50 maximum because the requisite schooling simply did not exist until maybe 25 years ago. Which makes those of us who are more elderly all the more vulnerable -- especially since today's society of sociopathic spitefulness is such a relatively recent phenomenon.

But whatever our age or knowledge of technology, we are nearly all in absolute denial of the fact that today's Internet -- never mind its other aspects -- is the ultimate example of malice facilitated by wealth: one of the defining characteristics of capitalism. Indeed the Internet has become a virtual jungle prowled by the most scheming sociopaths in human history.

The existence of these predators is proven not only by the viruses and scams that inflict ruinous financial loss but by repeated expressions of unprovoked yet elaborate hatefulness -- “5 Things” and everything like it -- that serve no purpose beyond the sadistic gratification of their perpetrators.

For example someone went to great lengths using computer graphics equipment -- the cost of which is beyond all but the wealthy and the use of which is hopelessly mysterious to all save a college-initiated priesthood -- and deliberately made it appear "5 Things" originated from a legitimate business, its very falsehood undeniable proof of the huge malice with which it was crafted.

Thus we should all adopt as core principles the three lessons set out above, thereby providing all of us some basic protection against the ever-worsening onslaught of Internet antagonism -- sadistically calculated hurtfulness that, alas, is impossible to filter out with even the best anti-virus/anti-spam software.

Discussion of the corollary facts -- that the hatefulness running amok in our nation is a direct measurement of how deeply we are already wounded by class war and how totally the corporate fat-cats have conned us into believing we are helpless to resist -- will have to wait for another time.

Posted by Loren at 10:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack