Armed Madhouse

Yesterday, I read Greg Palast’s Armed Madhouse. On the one hand, it’s nice to know that I intuitively understood the neo-conservative invasion plan and reason—the so-called “Plan B”—well enough to describe it as “globalization by force” in a paper I wrote for a Political Economy course. It’s also nice to know the vaunted-but-ignored State Department plan was, essentially, the oil industry plan, and not all that much less fanciful (an “invasion disguised as a coup that would be over in three days”—sure).

The climate chaos unleashed by finding large new reserves would make the mere collapse of industrial civilization look like a sideshow bagatelle1

On the other hand, it’s somewhat disappointing to have my belief in Peak Oil skewered so expertly. The issue is not so much that I believed in it, but rather that there is so much petroleum in the world as to make both extreme climate change and further impoverishment of the U.S. poor and middle classes essentially inevitable.

I don’t, however, subscribe to his hand-waving dismissal of the petrodollar theories for the invasion of Iraq, if for no other reason than he does the standard “only on the Internet” shuck-n-jive in lieu of any actual counter argument. Yes, Bush wants to devalue the dollar against the Euro. That does not include throwing the global economy into chaos by letting over three billion dollars sit idle each day—or worse, come back to the Federal Reserve as countries dropped their dollar currency reserves, no longer requiring them to trade oil? Because that is what a switch from the dollar to the Euro would entail.

Americans really don’t care about freedom; they don’t really care about liberty; they don’t care about any of that.2

After that, the book reaches into the various voting scams which allowed Bush to steal the office, again. It covers quite a bit of information, from Ohio to New Mexico, from the more mundanely racist lists of voters to challenge to the more “sexy, Hollywoodish” (the book’s term) machine hacking. On page 243, I read the following, from an African American who was illegally denied the right to vote in 2000 in Tampa, and would have been again in 2004 had Palast’s filming crew not shown up to do a story on him:

I went into the place to vote and I was with my son and there were about 40 to 50 other people around and I got up there to vote and they told me I was a convicted felon. I told the young lady that I had never been arrested. I’ve never been arrested in my life. I I was in the military for four years and have been in the medical field ever since. You can’t even work for a hospital being a convicted felon… I was in the Persian Gulf War in ’91. It’s pretty screwed up how they did me, but what can I say?

I was upset, I was ashamed—with 40 people around—it made me feel real bad. And I’m just hoping I get a letter stating, hey, you can vote again, Willie.

I really feel it was bad for African-Americans—but hey, what can we do sometimes? What can we do?

At which point I collapsed out of my chair with a colossal fucking headache behind my left eyeball. After lying down for a few minutes to get my bearings back (an interesting experience in itself, BTW), I continued reading, eventually coming across another couple gems from New Mexico: Governor Bill Richardson (the only Latino governor in the U.S.) is the son of a Citibank executive and a woman who hails from Mexico City, and the only greater predictor of how worthless your vote is than race is income.

The resistance is just waiting to be organized3

When this is all finally sorted out, the middle class in general, and white people in particular will have a lot to answer for. It may be us, the younger-types in the workforce today asking for the accounting. It may be our kids. People will turn back to the last few generations and ask them: why did you let them get away with all this? Why did you keep your head down, trying to not fight them.

We’re all so busy scraping, just trying to hang onto our own toys, that they can get away with these kind of colossal crimes they’ve been getting away with. And while you’re busy trying not to get fired, they lynch the black guy next door. And that’s just the progressives/liberals/left.

The self-described “conservatives” will have more. One thing I don’t want to see, after the fight has been won, is some kind of phony “healing process” where all the bosses get to pretend they had nothing to do with it—to pretend they weren’t right there at the table, waited on by starving people. Where none of the police can quite remember who was in the K-9 units, and none of the military men can recall who was killing families and raping women in some desert hut, 12,000 miles away.

Ever notice how they never can find the racist cops in those civil rights documentaries—the cop who was siccing the dog on the kid, or the fireman manning the fire hose? That’s what I mean.

  1. Robert Newman’s A History of Oil
  2. Aaron McGruder, on C-SPAN
  3. Ani DiFranco, Millennium Theater

2 thoughts on “Armed Madhouse

  1. The entire quote is:

    Americans are not patriotic. Americans really don’t care about freedom; they don’t really care about liberty; they don’t care about any of that … Because if Americans really cared about any of that stuff, they would have been holding signs that said ‘Sore Loser’ the year before, when America was really attacked, when somebody took over the whole country who was never elected president.

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