Connecting The Dots: Shock Doctrine And Reality Biting

The final discussion in the This Brave Nation series is up — between Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein — and like all the others, it is fascinating. And inspiring. But, in this case, there is also a moment where Tom and Naomi are talking about how much activity and organization there is online…and how little there is in the streets.

Watching this, I started thinking about the sheer amount of problems we face — and how many of them go right back to the feet of the folks who have been making bad decisions for the rest of us that just happen to benefit their own interests.

Watching the Bill Moyers Journal on Iraq, oil, and the Dick Cheney shock doctrine connection was bad enough:

…Take a look at this headline the other day in THE NEW YORK TIMES: "deals with Iraq are set to bring oil giants back." Read on: "Four western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power." 

There you have it. After a long exile Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP are back in Iraq. And on the wings of no-bid contracts – that’s right, sweetheart deals like those granted Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater. The kind of deals you get only if you have friends in high places. And these war profiteers have friends in very high places.

Let’s go back a few years, to the 1990s, when private citizen Dick Cheney was running Halliburton, the big energy supplier. That’s when he told the oil industry that, "By 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from?" Cheney asked. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East…is still where the prize ultimately lies."

When you dig deeper, as Naomi Klein did in Shock Doctrine, you find that a whole host of familiar faces keep popping up along the twin streams of policy and profit. You remember our old pal Richard Perle, don’t you?  And Henry Kissinger?  And a whole host of neocons and former military brass all with their feet in both worlds. 

And the bulk of the media willing to go along with the charade, kowtowing to the policy wonk facade on air and in print while dining on the profit-margin expense account for access and anonymous quotes.  And protecting all of their reputations whenever they get exposed.  Cozy that.

Digby watched the same Moyers Journal, and came away with a point I want to discuss:  

…And yet, there was one liberal slogan in the past 20 years that was completely to the point, short, pithy and spot on — and it was vilified by nearly everyone across the political spectrum as being just too over the top. (As if "you’ll take my smoking gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers" is a mild little jingle.)"Serious" people could never say such a thing.

As I’ve written before, that slogan was the antiwar chant, "no blood for oil." It was true and yet it was considered "all wrong." It’s a testament to the conservative rhetorical dominance of our culture that it was relegated to the fringe.

What we are bumping up against is a seething anger at a number of issues: poverty, rising prices and energy costs (YouTube), failures in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere…and pouring millions of American taxpayer dollars into those instead of into crumbling infrastructure, collapsing schools, and economic problems here at home.  

When you think about the enormity of the myriad problems we face, why aren’t more people in the streets?  I mean, if Lee Iacocca is pissed enough to publicly rant about the state of things, what’s up with the rest of us?

(This Brave Nation is a combined effort of Brave New Films and The Nation.  And every one of these conversations has been fantastic.  Highly recommended viewing.)

UPDATE:  Meant to also link this piece from Spencer

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