Evil remains ascendant

According to Reuters,

The chief of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, acknowledged on Sunday that the government is forced to rely on BP and the private oil sector to try to plug the gusher. At the same time, BP said the containment method it was attempting on the ocean floor was capturing much less of the leaking oil than three days ago.

Thirty-three days into the spill, it is still gushing. Government and BP estimates of the amounts are simply not credible and the damage that remains to be done is simply incalculable, both in terms of the economy and in terms of the ecology. And the Obama administration’s response has fallen short both in terms of real action and in terms of accountability.

Meanwhile, it is evident that Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan lies in ruins except that the country serves as a setting for prisons where detainees can be held indefinitely (Bush’s error in attempting to remove detainees from civilian judicial oversight appears to have been in choosing Guantanamo rather than Bagram).

I will confess to some surprise that it appears we might actually leave Iraq but what passes for accomplishment there is actually the result of ethnic cleansing. Violence continues and elections there have produced a result even less conclusive than the presidential elections in the U.S. of 2000, in which suspicions persist that Bush stole the election.

The broadest Bureau of Labor Statistics U6 measure of unemployment is at 17.1 percent, just three tenths of a percent shy of its October peak. Shadow Government Statistics pegs it at close to 22 percent. Gallup’s survey puts underemployment, as of yesterday, at 19.2 percent. But the Obama administration seems to view a shortage of jobs as a public relations problem rather than a situation to be dealt with in any meaningful way and many economists who simply don’t want to face reality enable him.

No matter how some faux-Progressives might plead, we have little to be thankful for. I shouldn’t be surprised. I shouldn’t be disappointed.

By July 2008, I knew I couldn’t vote for Obama due to statements he made on late-term abortion. In August, it was clear he had deviated far from the positions that had earned him the nomination. In December 2009, it was clear he was a failure.

It’s the end of another semester, grading time again. And Obama remains a dismal failure. But to say so is now trite. What remains to be remarked upon is something that Charles Krauthammer points to in his denial that the U.S. has become ungovernable.

Krauthammer points to example after example where he claims that bipartisanship is possible. Every single case is in fact an example of capitulation to the right wing. We remain at war, spending trillions of dollars that are desperately needed at home. Obama has not merely refused to prosecute Bush administration criminality; he has embraced it. The accumulation of executive power remains unchecked, civil rights have not been restored, and the Supreme Court continues a rightward shift that embraces corporate influence. And of course, there is so much more that I just can’t remember it all.

But just as it is inadequate to point at Tea Partiers and snicker, so it is to do so with the government. It is not even sufficient to point to the faux-Progressives who betray us or to point out how so many of us remain steadfastly silent under Obama about that which we so vociferously protested under Bush. For while much of what is happening compounds a central problem, it remains evident that an elite whose only interest lies in the acquisition of power will not solve global food insecurity that arises both from climate change and an increased reliance on meat, will not address the loss of glacial water resources upon which billions of people rely, will not even end a crusade against Islam that perpetuates war, and will continue to substitute fine-sounding words for urgently needed actions.

And we should by now have learned that substituting one elite for another will not solve these problems, that voting is fundamentally inadequate, that any economic system of exchange does not merely reward individual greed but promotes an individualism that disregards a greater common interest in our fellow humans and in the planet upon which we depend, and that we will have to solve all these problems ourselves. No one else will do it for us.

But we have not learned these really very simple lessons. So perhaps the title I have given to this entry is incorrect. Perhaps it is not that evil remains ascendant but that ignorance itself is evil, that those who embrace ignorance are evil, and that we fully deserve the extinction which heads our way.

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.