…mlk and that utter disaster among his solid achievements…

…the final granting of a national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. did serve to sedate the restless US ‘natives’, not the real ones, and appeared to calm a world bemused by the constant prattle about the the uniqueness of democracy that is the US…

Chris Hedges uses the occasion of the US holiday to frame the ‘lecture’ of the US President to his citizens on the surveillance practices of the US corporate surveillance state. But before getting to Hedges, couple quick glances elsewhere.

For starters, when even the NYT declares the reforms proposed by the President, ‘…were frustratingly short on specifics and vague on implementation...’ we know that the jig is basically up, though most would observe that the NYT phrase has long been applicable to most of the President’s pronouncements. In any case the thing has just started, for along comes the BBC, which is strictly establishment conformist. One of its reports, Obama’s NSA speech leaves more questions than answers. And here the BBC frames the speech with the US President framed within the frame of his teleprompter. Would that that were all to it, when comes another post from the ‘Beeb’, Obama’s NSA speech reflects American apathy. And from that, we have this critical observation, 

In a poll the first week of January, 48% of Americans said the support the government’s phone metadata surveillance program. While 47% opposed it, these are hardly the type of numbers that will encourage a massive policy shift.

Of course, some may say it is less ‘apathy’ than ‘resignation’, surrender. Interestingly, in each of the accompanying photos the massive, plastic-looking flags as props, evocative of another era in another country, served not only to diminish the stature of the speaker but also to highlight the utter disingenuousness of the presentation.  But we digress. Back to Hedges.

Having closely evaluated the President’s speech, he reworks it and distills the defiance and contempt that laces the speech. From that he gives us in this cross-post over at common dreams, What Obama Really Meant Was … And we see ever more clearly from this well woven implicit declamation.

…I would not be where I am today were it not for the courage of dissidents like Martin Luther King Jr. who were spied upon by their own government. But I, like Bill Clinton, have sold out those true patriots and gutted those government programs that made possible my own education and ascent into systems of elite power. As president I understand, as do Bill and Hillary, that political power is about us, not about you. I know where power in this country lies. It does not lie with the citizen. It lies with Wall Street and corporate boardrooms. And since my vanity demands that I be famous, wealthy and powerful, I work hard for these centers of power. None of these centers of power want to see any curbs on the security and surveillance state. And so I will make sure there are none.

[snip]

Our democracy is a fiction. We seek to maintain this fiction to keep you passive. Should you wake up, we will not shy away from draconian measures. I believe we can meet high expectations. Together, let us chart a way forward that secures your complete subjugation, the iron rule of our corporations and our power elite—at least until we make the planet wholly uninhabitable—while we continue to snuff out the liberties that once made our nation worth fighting for.

One of the things about this superb article is it does express a reality of which most of the great unwashed of the world have long known. very long known – many of whom have made the same observations, though less eloquently. The fact that George W. Bush was also President of the US served only to reinforce and make that fact incontrovertible. For that kudos to Chris Hedges for his refreshing and insightful US perspective.

…and for that Parthian shot on this very Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of the US, over at common dreams comes, President Obama Failed To Mention Why Government Was Spying On MLK, only reinforcing Chris Hedges…

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