*** Apologies – NJ.Com took down the photos, which were originally published on my “NJ Voices” column at NJ.Com. I was able to save the text, but not the photos. What assholes.
Below is the post that got my blog banned by the Star Ledger on June 10, 2009.
So I thought it would be a good first post to use to launch my new blog, “WolfeNotes.com” .
That banned post illustrates the reasons that I blog and some of what I hope to accomplish. I try to combine serious ideas, visual images, and analysis to call out the bullshit I see in government, politics, and media every day.
I will focus primarily on environmental issues, not only because I love the natural world, but because the same forces that are destroying the environment also are responsible for our current accelerating economic and political collapse.
Hopefully, I will remain too controversial for the Star Ledger. And perhaps someday we all will recall that I.F. Stone famously said, “all governments lie“. Yet our media institutions have lost touch with that fundamental truth and not only fail to hold government accountable, but often accept government spin at face value, which then becomes the dominant narrative (conventional wisdom, or propaganda) .
But, lets not blame government per se. Scratch the surface of almost any government lie and you find a cover for corporate power and economic interests.
As political scientist Sheldon Wolin wrote in “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” (excellent review here), our democratic institutions have been hijacked by corporate interests and our Republic transformed to a global empire.
And there is little indication that the Obama “change” is anything more than rhetoric.
According to an interview with Wolin in Chris Hedges’s new book “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (Hedges interview here):
The basic systems are going to stay in place; they are too powerful to be challenged.” Wolin to me when I asked him about the Obama administration. “This is shown by the financial bailout. It does not bother with the structure at all. I don’t think Obama can take on the kind of military establishment we have developed. This is not to say that I do not admire him. …I think he is well meaning, but he inherits a system of constraints that make it very difficult to take on these major power configurations. I do not think he has the appetite for it in any ideological sense. The corporate structure is not going to be challenged. There has not been a word from him that would suggest an attempt to rethink the American imperium.”
So, this is the frame of reference I will try to apply to the more circumscribed world of NJ environmental issues and politics.
Let me know what you think – one of my aims is to spur dialogue.
Thrifty Individual Reducing Carbon FootPrint
“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.”
George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946
(warning – graphic images on the flip)