Beyond the Dog Days of Summer: After August, Reality

As Summer Ends, the Campaign Begins and the Challenge Remains

Traditionally, time seems to slow down, I mean slooooow down, at
summer's end. The phone calls taper off along with the emails. We have
now had endless gold medals and the Guns of August. Obama stirred his
hoojie with his Biden moment, sliding into centrist field. That's done
now. What "action" there is has moved to Denver.

There are but a few days of respite before the month goes from the
quiet of the countryside to simulated excitement and high-flying
convention oratory. As THEY wait to pounce; we wonder who will get the

Barack Obama accepts the nomination on the 45th anniversary of the
March on Washington of 1963. He pursues his dream on the Day of The

Yet, another August day has a memory for me: August 24 1967, to be
exact. That's when my deeply missed pal, Abbie Hofffman, and a band of
fellow Yippies, threw money on to the floor of the stock exchange to
mock the greed in full display below.

The Exchange later spent $20,000 to enclose the gallery which is now
closed in keeping with post-911 paranoia. Abbie's stunt was in its own
way a protest against the crimes of Wall Street, and a prophecy of what
was to come. Perhaps he foresaw the breakdown that the global economy
is threatening us today.

Soon it will be Labor Day, a day for Labor in name only, and, then,
we are off to the races. Everything will speed up. Politics will
dominate, schools will reopen, and life will hurdle on into whatever
abyss we are headed. Surge on o' ship of state, surge on.

We do know that there are certainties however much we want to avoid
or deny them. The economy will not be bouncing back any time soon. The
political race will get nastier, even more dangerous. Our wars will not
end. And our press will not improve in an age when media snacking
replaces real information absorption, much less digestion.

Behind the scenes, out of media glare, is the real battleground we
rarely see, much less understand. It involves the agendas of elite
power centers and key decision-makers, as Jessie Richard makes clear:

"The battle over who becomes president does not take
place (only) among the citizens of this nation, it takes place among
groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral
Commission and the Bilderberg Group. Let me tell you something...the
Cheney/PNAC cabal= stole the elections from George H.W. Bush, James
Baker, George Schultz and associates, not from the Democrats. They are
the ones who assembled the Bush administration and rigged the 2000
election to place them in power as a proxy presidential administration.
The problem was that the Neocons, once in office, took control and did
what they wanted to do, not what their sponsors wanted them to do.

Here is how it used to work. The media, which is controlled by the
real power brokers in this nation, have controlled elections in the
past by presenting and withholding selected information from the
public in order to influence their voting. By doing so, they pretty
much guarantee the outcome of an election. Do you think that if the
media did their job and actually informed the public accurately about
who George W. Bush was and what his qualifications were he would have
stood a chance of becoming a US President? This guy was less qualified
to be president than Britney Spears is qualified to be a parent! ...."

Maybe this is too harsh for you, too simplistic, too conspiratorial?
It pictures politics as the work only of forces in the shadows when in
fact, as Mike Whitney writes, all of us have to do more soul-searching
and introspection.

"America needs to spend a little time on the couch reassembling its
shattered psyche and reconnecting with its inner-self. That means,
sorting through the rubble of the Bush years and getting back to
basics; a strong commitment to justice, human rights and personal

Well said, Mike, but there are interests out there who like things
the way they are, and are determined to keep them that way. In an era
where the consumer economy is going to pot, they take refuge in the war
economy which seems to be working overtime. I was surprised to find
Paul Farrell's article for Marketwatch reprinted on the Fox Business
Channel site:

"There really is only one answer: Deep inside we love war. We want
war. Need it. Relish it. Thrive on war. War is in our genes, deep in
our DNA. War excites our economic brain. War drives our entrepreneurial
spirit. War thrills the American soul. Oh just admit it, we have a love
affair with war. We love 'America's Outrageous War Economy.'"

I don't love it and I don't believe we all do. Not at all.

Selling war is part of what our media culture does. When I used to
work for ABC News, a list of staffers was referred to as "the troops."
Look at your neighborhood movie theater and see how many violent films
are there. Athletic contests are spoken of with the metaphors of war.
Ditto for political campaigns. Hooray for "Team America." It should be
Brand America.

In this August interlude, with many of us still in an escape or
vacation mode, perhaps there is time to reflect, and to think about
where we are headed and where we really want to go or be. We can't
control everything, but on the other hand, we can't accept everything

Will we, when the "real world" resumes, hold out for what our hearts
and our values tell us are needed, or will we succumb to what we are
told is the politics of the possible?

The latter all too often leads to rationalizing the unrationalizable
and succumbing to the logic of the market and the conventional wisdom.
That is the path to compromise and what often becomes self-delusional.
It leads us to suspend belief because we want to believe so much. Who
wants to vote while holding your nose?

The challenge we face as the "new year" begins -- once you have been
a student, the New Year seems always to start in September -- is to
think about what really matters to us and for us. Yes, we need new
political leadership, But we need more than that too. Do we ever!

To me the question and the need goes beyond party politics. It goes
to how we work for a just economy, defend the vulnerable and assure
more equality and fairness. Throwing money at the stock market has been
done. Throwing heavier rules and regulations at Wall Street must be
part of a strategy for the deeper changes that we really need.

That's a tougher face-off than Dems vs Repugs. It's a collision with the real powers that be.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.