Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"I Got the Wednesday Morning Decline-of-Civilization Blues"

By Peter Rodman

“I woke up this morning.”
Yeah, I know. A lot of blues songs start out that way, don’t they?
This one’s no different...or maybe it is.
See, I woke up this mornin' and the first thing I heard…was my TV.
On ‘Morning Joe,’ Willy Geist said “We’ve got a lot of news to get to this morning--it’s been a busy 24 hours, for sure.”

He sounded more serious than usual.

First came a report that Libyans had stormed the American embassy in Benghazi, and actually managed to kill the United States Ambassador, inside its doors.
“How strange,” I thought.
Embassies around the world are more or less sacrosanct, aren't they?  

Oh, sure…there was Iran in 1978--but for the most part, every nation on Earth has a fairly solid compact not to attack each others’ embassies--at least if they want to have any relationships at all. 
That’s why even Julian Assange sits safely in London today, inside the walls of the Ecuadorian Embassy.  He's wanted for everything from rape to treason in several major countries, but is not in any personal jeopardy, as I write this--because he remains inside that embassy's walls.  
So the first story of the day was this horrible event inside our embassy, in Libya.
Then, it was on to Egypt--where a (seemingly) similar action against the American embassy was underway.
What the…?  All of this, overnight?

'Pastor' Terry Jones
Come to find out, in the words of Geist, it was “all because of a little known, deservedly obscure anti-Muslim video with only 6,000 views on YouTube, put out by Florida preacher Terry Jones"--the same dope who got famous threatening to hold Koran bonfires, putting American civilians and soldiers at risk around the world.
So now this guy has succeeded in triggering riots throughout the Arab world--and at least one prominent American’s death--simply by producing a crude ‘documentary’ online, alleging that the prophet Mohammad was, among other
Well, hold on a minute...

It turns out the Egypt riot was indeed a result of the crowd's fury, over the blasphemous film. 
Note: It resulted in a grand total of two flags ripped, some grafitti, and a lot of horn-honking. (Which, if you have a good TV sound system, might just make you get up and look out the window, like I did.)
Anyway, thanks a lot to the nutball preacher.
It would be hard to calculate the distance humanity has come from following Jesus or Mohammad (both of whom advocated peace) to get to this point, but we'll get to that later.
The Libyan ambush was much more likely a long-planned terrorist attack, timed to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11. This we did not find out, until much later in the day.

As the folks at ‘Morning Joe’ sat around their plexiglass table drinking Starbucks, and lamenting the YouTube movie's cause-and-effect, I realized I was now fully awake.
Mike Barnicle said this: “We live in an age where some guy in his white boxer-briefs can sit at home in his basement and post something in Florida, and people halfway around the world start killing people, because of it.”
"True that," I thought.

 Then I switched over to the always dyspeptic ‘Fox & Friends,’ where they’d already spun the day’s events into a delicious hate stew--stirring their obsessively anti-Obama cauldron as gleefully as ever, well before the 7 o'clock hour.
There sat Gretchen Carlson, a former  'Miss America' whom I still remember from an airplane ride during her 'reign' in the ’80s, as her “handler” relayed the Queen's breakfast choices to the crew, prima donna style.

She's the same arrogant git, decades later--with the same disdainful, condescending glint in her eye, squinting at the camera as if to say, “See? See how Obama has botched everything?”
A true authority, she.

By her side were the two dimpled guys, who trade off carefully scripted anti-Obama banter non-stop every morning, as if they’re worried that they just might miss turning one more Fox viewer against the President. (I'd like to think they've already gotten 'em all, but hey...)

In Fox World, to hear them tell it, all this overnight violence somehow related to the President “dissing” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose hawkish ways got him elected, but might also entangle us all in third World War, if pre-emptive strikes against Iran are allowed to take place--especially before the American election.
In an effort to discourage his crazy-talk, President Obama decided he would not meet with Netanyahu next week in New York, as the world convenes another United Nations season of debate.
You know the UN, right?

That's the place embassies exist for. 
In New York, embassy employees (or anyone with a coveted 'diplomat' license plate) can park anywhere in Manhattan with ‘diplomatic immunity,’ while the rest of us get approximately $1500 in towing fees! 

So, just to review…
Overnight, a dedicated public servant who’d spent his whole life working his way ‘up’ to an important ambassadorship got summarily executed in the American Embassy, in Libya.

In Egypt, the American Embassy got stormed by an angry mob, inspired by a YouTube video virtually nobody knows about here.
Posted by a Christian minister. Exploiting an obscure (Coptic, it’s called) Christian sect in the Middle East. Igniting age-old tribal, human furies that know no depths, between various religions.
Were these two events related?
They sure seemed to be...

Meanwhile, back on ‘Fox & Friends,’ they decide they need an ‘expert pundit’ to help us all sort out the news…so who better than Dick Morris?
You remember Dick, don't you?

You know...the disgraced former Clinton aide, who got fired during the 1996 Democratic Convention in Chicago, after getting mixed up in a prostitution scandal?
Yep, that Dick.
The same Dick who has since dedicated his entire life to destroying anything and everything with the name ‘Clinton’ anywhere near it.
Especially ‘Hillary Clinton,’ about whom he’s written several scathing books: Behind the Oval Office, Condi vs. Hillary, Outrage, Off with their Heads, Power Play, and the most appropriately titled Rewriting History--to name a few.
Morris comes on camera and excoriates President Obama (well, not exactly--on Fox he’s never called “President Obama”…he’s just “Obama”--and there's a certain preferred, derisive tone about it) as having created the whole situation, through his bad foreign policy.

Try it along with me, won't you?
As in, "Abomination."
“This blows wide open the notion the Democrats have been touting, that Obama is strong on foreign policy,” Morris crows. “He isn’t, and here’s the opportunity for Romney to make that point.”
The hosts (shocker, I know) nod their heads solemnly, in agreement.
But they don’t stop there.

An hour later, the Fox hosts are claiming “the United States response  has been to basically apologize” for the preacher’s video.
They merrily bounce off each others' (pre-written) thoughts about how "weak" our foreign policy is, adding well-placed asides, like this one from Steve Doocey:
“And the two Americans shot along with our Ambassador? (nods here knowingly, for effect)...U.S. Marines!”
Guest after guest piles on, and by the 8 o'clock hour, Doocey has honed his act down to its very essence: 
"So!" he demands of one guest, "Act of War?"  

He says it hopefully.
The Foxholes prattle on, about how "this is Obama's Jimmy Carter moment," blah blah blah, "it's exactly like 1978," blah blah blah, until I can no longer listen. 
You get a year's worth of smirks, just watching these three stooges for one morning.  One wonders how even people who agree with them can inhale this stuff each day, without getting indigestion.

Question: Are the two separate events depicted
 in this 'picture' at all related?
Answer: Only if you want them to be.
 Not a word was spoken on 'Fox & Friends' about how some fanatic Christian guy set up the whole firestorm--nor was there much about how the President will have a mere three days after that UN visit, to prepare for his first debate in five years with Romney, who's had 20+ practice debates this year on national TV, against the likes of Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul. 
Should President Obama essentially give up the job,  just to provide some showy 'meet-up' with an Israeli leader who's become a sabre-rattling brat, of late?  
And if he did do this, what about the gazillion other leaders who’d like a photo-op at the U.N. with him?  I mean, hey...if you’re gonna meet with Netanyahu, you’ve gotta meet with every other leader in the Middle East, right? 
Maybe not such a great idea, if all you’ll be talking about is a Terry Jones movie made with somebody’s fLiP camera.
My advice?
Practice for that debate, instead.

Meanwhile, Romney practiced attacking the administration's approach to foreign policy, even before the sun rose. (That'd be before the embassy murders in Libya, for those keeping score.) By the afternoon, it appeared to have been a well-planned terrorist 'precision strike,' not a mob responding to some kook's anti-Muslim film at all.

But early Wednesday morning, you'd have thought the President himself was one of the attackers, to hear the Romneycans tell it.  Sen. Lindsey Graham chimed in (on Fox, of course) about Obama's "lack of leadership that's about to make the middle east explode!
And on and on, it went.  So much for the longstanding American tradition of presenting a 'unified front,' in times of crisis.

Maybe I’ll get out of bed, I thought. 
Feed the cat, get online…
First thing I knew, Morgan Freeman was dead.

One of the many 'amusing' internet ideas that
greeted me this morning on facebook.
A good friend and fellow radio veteran of many decades had posted the sad news.

Wow. Really?
“Oh, dear,” I thought.
I started my first post of the day: “Wow…Morgan Freeman.”  But for some reason, I didn't post it; I took a second to think about it.
I’d heard nothing about that on TV, and I'd been watching all morning!  
Oh well…busy news day, huh?
Still...he's Morgan Freeman, for cryin' out loud!  You'd think they would at least mention it.
As I read back on his original 'Morgan Freeman' post, I saw that it urged ‘everyone who cared’ about Morgan to “comment here” or “click like,” if you've ever liked anything Mr. Freeman ever did. Then I scrolled down my ‘Newsfeed,’ and did not seeing anything else about it.
Finally, I googled “Morgan Freeman dead?” only to find it’s a commonly known internet hoax--and not even a new one, at that.

So I messaged my radio friend privately--not wishing to embarrass him--and went back out on the ‘feed.’ There, I found the usual array of (false) John Lennon quotes; ridiculously over-colorful, un-natural 'nature pictures' that friends thought might 'inspire' me; a YouTube video entitled “Snoop Dogg endorses Obama with Multiple F-bombs;” and then the
photo (at right), captioned thusly:
"Michelle and the girls at the Olympics. Gee thanks for supporting the United States, their country. What a bunch of losers. See your tax dollars at work!!! How patriotic! The Obamas display their colors at the Olympics. Really?  South Africa?? Gee thanks, ladies for your support!!!"
The photo is from a South African visit almost two years ago.
The caption, of course, is false.
As with the Morgan Freeman thing, the Lennon quotes, the Photoshopped pictures, anything attached to the names 'Bill Cosby' or 'George Carlin,'  and that whole thing about Congress making full pay for life, while the rest of us suffer.

It kind of reminds me of something Abraham Lincoln once said: "Don't believe everything you read on the internet...and even less of what you see!" 
Later on in the day, I posted a comment explaining to another friend that the picture they loved of Jimi Hendrix playing the accordion was itself a photshopped fake.  The response?
"so don't wreck it mr. know it all"
It's all harmless enough fun, I guess.
Or is it? morning was. But it turns out even savvy media folks, like my radio friend--heck, like me!--get fooled, every now and again.
And every so often, somebody's head gets blown off, because of some little YouTube video somebody posted.
Or does it?
You'd almost have to watch TV to get the story straight, instead of relying on the internet...right? 


Yes, I woke up this morning.
But other than that, I'm not sure of much.  Everywhere I went it appeared to be the end of the world, as we know it. I just can't tell you why; could be one thing, could be 'nother.
May God help us all.
Or Allah.

Copyright 2012 by Peter Rodman.  All Rights Reserved.
[Graphic by Bob Stillman]

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