Saturday, November 08, 2008

My Barack Pages

Memorizing politics of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow - Bob Dylan

Just because there's a Democrat in the White House is no reason to stop reading Lovecraft.

From "The Shadow in the Attic":

There was a moment that was as if the Earth had taken a half turn backward or something of that kind, and I had not gone along with it but were suspended somewhere far out in space at the instant before plunging into orbit of my own - and then the moment passed, the Earth resumed its regularity of turning, the room lightened, the flame in the lamp steadied.

It was the longest moment for some, lasting eight years, since the done-deal that was Gore's Florida flipped columns. Old certainties, even among cynics, of how bad things could get, suddenly seemed wretchedly naive as the Earth staggered like a drunk, with Dick Cheney its designated driver. As kleptocracy and high crime compounded illegitimacies and low comedy, many millions - conservative Republicans and conspiracy debunkers among them - came to feel themselves in a strange place, with unlikely companions and no sure footing, and entertaining hypotheses they had once thought unimaginable. And as the years dragged, it became difficult to conceive of anything different, or to reflect upon what "different" might even mean.

And now, it would seem, the moment has passed. The Earth has resumed its kinder, gentler course, and the shadow in America's attic has been dispelled by - I dunno; shall we call it a thousand points of light? Democrats can awake from a nightmare and fall into a dream, and conspiracy theory can once more become the property of the "patriot" right.

I think the worst of conspiracy theory - actually all theory, and no conspiracy - must be the unfalsifiable, post hoc prediction. If you haven't seen it yet or don't know what I'm talking about, you will, as theorists retool their cottage industries to react to a Democratic administration. Fintan Dunn calls it the "Red Coup gambit" of the New World Order, absurdly describing Obama as an "undercover Marxist ideologue." Webster Tarpley gets in on the action with his book The Postmodern Coup, which shoe-horns Obama into his meta-analysis as the next, inevitable Manchurian Candidate of the Brzezinski faction. Alex Jones, like some Star Trek energy entity that feeds on pure hysteria, is whipping up a new batch to keep those cards and letters coming. ("Congressman, are you feeling the dread many of us are feeling right now?")

But it's neither that complicated nor so ridiculous, is it? Real history, even in the living of it, isn't a seamless narrative that enfolds all events into a single narrator's construct. As recently as September, I thought there was no clear path for an Obama victory. Still, the election didn't need to be staged, not with a vetting process designed to winnow out all contenders who don't know what and to who they owe, who might do something, even by chance, that could divest the true rulers of their rule. (And McCain didn't actually run to lose, not really, though the creepiest incompetent campaign in American history might as well have been managed by Kid Gleason.) That Obama could be taken for a progressive, even in the beltway sense of the term, is a testament to the polish of his blank slate and the desperation of an orphaned Left anxious for a win, even if it means their loss. To whom the coming surge in Afghanistan, the likely deferral of a meaningful withdrawal from Iraq (one that might include private armies and troops that have had the "combat" redefined out of them), the appointment of Rahm Emanuel and other "moderates" will smell like...victory.

Last Thursday, as President Elect, Obama received his initial briefing of classified intelligence pertaining to national security. Friday, CNN's Candy Crowley asked "whether anything's given you pause," to which he replied "I'm going to skip that." Whatever he heard, and however long he paused, I'm fairly certain he didn't hear anything like what Evo Morales means to brief him:

Bolivian leader Evo Morales on Thursday accused the US government of encouraging drug-trafficking as he explained his decision to banish the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).... "The worst thing is, it did not fight drug trafficking; It encouraged it," the Bolivian leader said, adding that he had "quite a bit of evidence" backing up his charges.

Presidential Minister Juan Ramon Quintana presented a series of documents and press clippings at a news conference, which he described as "object data" that had influenced Morales' decision to suspend DEA activities last week.

Quintana said Morales was ready to present the evidence to incoming US president Barack Obama "to prove the illegality, abuse and arrogance of the DEA in Bolivia."

When Bill Clinton entered the presidency, he sought some back-channel answers to questions not addressed in his classified briefing. His Deputy Attorney General Webster Hubbell wrote in Friends in High Places:

Clinton had said, 'If I put you over at Justice, I want you to find the answers to two questions for me. One, who killed JFK. And two, are there UFOs?" Clinton was dead serious. I had looked into both, but wasn't satisfied with the answers I was getting.

Clinton might have curried the Deep State's favour in Mena, but it withheld its deeper secrets from him and his Arkansas capo as from middle managers just passing through without a legitimate need to know. (The seeming otherworldliness of the Bush/Cheney years is largely accounted for by the broad, intuitive dread that Cheney knows.) Obama doesn't even display Clinton's idle curiosity, though he and his Chicago Mafia do show some of his hubris. Should he change in office, and light a lamp in America's shuttered rooms, he may feel the Earth take a half turn backwards, while its true rulers decide what to do with him.