I don’t mean to run down my favorite country, but...


by QRStuve

I like to think of potholes as our little contribution to the war effort. The money we could have spent filling them is going to support our boys over in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and Czech Republic, Nigeria, Colombia, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and all those other places where the War With No End In Our Lifetime Against Terrorism is being waged. Our streets might be a little bumpy, but they’re safe, by god, thanks to our brave men and women and contractors. And though I myself can’t lay down my life for my country, being a little long in the tooth and also a little too engaged in other activities, like Pres. W during Vietnam, I’m proud to offer the upkeep of our streets. And I don’t mind if Halliburton and Blackwater and Lockheed Martin directors and shareholders make a few bucks instead of the local paving contractors. The money’s got to go someplace, right?

As I have said, I’m glad I don’t live in the times of the Vandals and the Horde, but like I also said, at least in those days people called a spade a spade. Though I doubt that the spaded ones—the pillaged and the raped—took much consolation in knowing what to call it. These days, in this democratic system of ours, the bosses have to get the victims to consent to being pillaged. Or at least not object too loudly, though lately they seem to care less who squawks or how much.

How do they do it? Well for one thing, they don’t call things by their names. The war for hegemony, for instance, is called The War on Terror. Cutting school funding is called No Child Left Behind. The privatization of the national retirement system is called Social Security reform.

For another thing, the pillage isn’t direct. Bureaucracy and the Federal Reserve Bank have replaced the Mongols’ horses. Not a bad thing—the application of rules and regulations is surely better than brute force—but it’s also a good cover for theft.

And for another, the rape isn’t physical, except in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and over there that’s a war going on, after all, and anyway you know boys will be boys.

I don’t think most people are fooled when Fox News reports that ExxonMobil’s profit margin last year was lower than your corner grocery’s. But people must not be seeing beyond their initial skepticism. They can’t be putting the pieces together. Do they see the pieces? Do they even imagine there’s a picture to be seen? What happened to critical thinking in America? Certainly they’re not asking questions. Look—I’m an American; I can’t help comparing the Europeans I know, the Iranians, the Arab Middle-easterners—they ask questions. At least, they ask each other; some places, understood, you shut up before you get arrested. Here in America nobody asks.

(Though I do know a couple Americans who asked too often, or the wrong things, and ended up in jail here—my son, my daughter, my ex-wife, my dad. Okay, they did more than ask: They asked while standing with some other people on a sidewalk, or in a parking lot, or walking across a bridge. They thought there was something in the Constitution that gave them the right to assemble and the freedom to ask. Well, there is. But that part isn’t operative everywhere nowadays. Live and learn.)

You ask questions when you don’t understand something. One reason you may not understand is that something is being obfuscated. In that case, a question may make people notice that the truth isn’t being spoken, that there is dissimulation, lack of frankness, outright lie. Bosses don’t like questions and suppress them one way or another.

But generally, nobody asks. Why? Here’s a probably over-simplified suggestion: Americans believe in individualism and capitalism, and that each person can develop his talents, be the best she can be, be what you want to be, or, to boil it down to what really counts, get rich. Every two-bit Cadillac dealer in Middle America thinks he can get the franchise for the whole state and get rich—if the god damned regulators would get off the businessman’s back and give him a fighting chance. So to preserve his chance he votes against his day-to-day well-being. Give me riches or give me death!—well, give me crappy schools, but give me a shot at the lottery.

And for people capable of thinking past their own noses, the intellectuals in this country lead whatever debate there is along a narrow path. Questions are reasonable only if they remain within well-defined—though not necessarily overtly stated—bounds, and only reasonable questions are allowed. But this is well known. Edward S Herman and Noam Chomsky wrote a good book about it, Manufacturing Consent. We all know this.

This being an election year, the manufacturers are spinning away. Have you noticed? Have you noticed the false choices being offered? Democrat/Republican. Continued presence/endless war. Obama/McCain. Flip a coin—whichever side comes up, it’s still the same coin. What about off the coin? Why aren’t the media, even the so-called progressive media, reporting on Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, Lyndon LaRouche, Ralph Nader? I only ask. —And of course you’ve noticed. You’re Iranians. You grew up skeptical.

Actually maybe Americans do vote more for their real interests than it appears. Maybe the outcome of the last couple of presidential elections wasn’t what most voters had voted for. But that couldn’t happen here, where we all know elections are free and fair, and sons don’t inherit their fathers’ offices.

Sorry, everybody. I don’t mean to run down my favorite country, the place of my birth and tabernacle of my heart. Sometimes fantasy carries me off when I irresponsibly skip my meds. Or maybe it’s my subversive Iranian wife. I don’t know.

I just want to say that I’m proud to drive over potholes and thank you for joining me.


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How right you are

by shirazie (not verified) on

1. It is called Intellectual laziness / brain washed.
2. we are not allowed to voice an opinion or ask questions of USA policies. We are only visiting ( 40 years later)
3. nationalism means accepting the gov. at its face value - after all its is people that elected it


Euphemism IS a potent brainwashing drug

by Jaleho on

Demonization of target governments, dehumanization of the people of the enemy government, and using euphemism to hide the dirty tactics of their own, has been a potent brainwashing tactic of the Washington to enlist Americans in the wars.

Take Iraq war for example. Like you said, call it War on Terror, a very noble war indeed! Saddam of course was Hitler and he even didn't recognize Israel, so for sure he was the modern day Hitler. Not to mention that he had CHEMICAL WEAPONS. Let alone that we provided him those weapons ourselves at the time he actually had them, and pretended that we didn't see him when he was using those WMD against civilians, and we supported him in the UN . Iraqis themselves were dehumanized to the state of bugs, kosher to be crushed.

All known tactics that the powerful US media uses to project on the people. Other countries have their brainwashing methods too, but the American one is really subtle and that subtlety makes it much more powerful. Euphemism is for example quite unique here. For example, Americans were all disgusted with their government's use of napalm during Vietnam war after pictures of burnt children were shown to the public. So, what happened in Iraq when US invaded to supposedly route out WMD?

Well, they used "something" that burned like napalm, and when government was questioned and denied using it, and later was proven to have actually used the incendiary stuff, they said "oh, but that was not napalm, it was "Mark 77" .

Mark 77? Sounds to me a like a nice student class of 77! But it is very much like napalm.

Another example was the use of the nasty chemical weapon "white phosphorous," cutely nicknamed "Willy Pete". Is it just me, or does willy Pete bring out a cuddly image similar to "Winnie the Poo" instead of a nasty chemical weapon to you?

One of my all time favorite euphemism used in this war was "rendition" and "extraordinary rendition". The word Rendition always linked my neurons to one kind of art or another. An oil painting rendition of... a new rendition of Paganini's music... I mean which genius tried to hide torture and CIA kidnappings under such fantastic words as RENDITION EXTRAORDINAIRE with an artistic connotation??!!


What's the matter with you Stuve?

by Eligible Iranian Bachelorette (not verified) on

Why do you keep marrying subversive wives? May I humbly offer you an alternative? I might be able to help you overcome your ambivalences and nudge you in the direction of a more rewarding path in life. I guarantee that you will afford a better car with good shock absorbers so you won't be bothered so much by potholes. And forget about funding for public schools. We'll put the kids in boarding schools in Europe -- I know a few good ones in Switzerland. My assets were just protected by Uncle Henry. What are you waiting for?