P.T. Barnum allegedly said that there is a sucker born every minute. Considering the outlandish nature of our politics and the circus in the District of Caligula that passes as a government, we have to start counting the suckers who enter this world by seconds instead of using minutes. If you want to know why I say this, tune in this afternoon to Gina Haspel’s Senate confirmation hearing. The CIA director nominee will be paraded in front of us and subjected to the fraudulence of Democrats and lavished with spurious commendations by duplicitous Republicans. Nowhere in this bazaar of subterfuge will truth be sought; what we will be treated to is a vaudeville of lies and stagecraft.
Spoiler alert! I’m about to break down the carnival that will be taking place today throughout this marathon of skullduggery. First up will be Richard Burr, North Carolina’s Senator and the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. He will give an opening speech where he will wax poetically about America’s role as defenders of freedom and democracy and how the CIA is an indispensable force in the war against terrorism. He will give a nod to the men and women in uniform and how we owe it to them to confirm Gina Haspel. Somewhere in his spiel, he will mention that Haspel’s confirmation will be a historic achievement and an step forward for all women.
After Burr finishes blowing kisses at Haspel and spewing talking points approved by the genocide-financial racket, Mark Warner will take center stage. The Senator from Virginia and the co-Chair of the Intelligence Committee will don the mask of the opposition by pretending to be outraged about Bush’s torture policies and how Haspel played a part in brutally interrogating suspected terrorists during the Iraq War and beyond. His criticisms will be tepid and shallow; Warner will talk in past tense about the CIA’s excesses as if the medieval practices blessed at Langley and implemented at black sites around the world were relics of the past.
Gina Haspel will then be given a chance to speak “from the heart”. This is where she pivots to her canned speech and starts reading from teleprompters placed far enough away from her table so that viewers can’t see them on their screens. Haspel will speak of her long stint at the CIA and in the process transform a career spent mangling other nations and destroying countless lives as virtuous and noble deeds that advanced justice. Nowhere in her speech will she mention the horrors committed by the CIA in Central America, the role the they played in destabilizing Iran which ultimately gave rise to Ayatollah Khomeini nor will she mention the endless countries spooks and jackals continue to hobble as they induce civil strife in every corner of the world. After a few minutes of listening to “Bloody Gina”, you will think you are listening to Mother Theresa instead of a woman who destroyed 92 videos of the CIA’s greatest torture hits.
After Haspel concludes her opening perjury, the scripted melodrama will commence as Democrats and Republicans take turns throwing roses and chucking tomatoes. All of it is theatrics of the highest absurdity. Barring any missteps by Haspel—which is highly unlikely given that she has been getting prepped by high priced consultants, public relations experts and black suit lawyers for months—her confirmation will come to pass by the thinnest of margins. The negotiations and horse trading took place behind the scenes long before this farcical hearing; what we are witnessing is a charade meant to give us the false confidence that we actually have a voice in the direction of our government when all along we are as powerless as Donald Trump’s hair plugs in a wind tunnel.
I’m not sure what will gall me more. Will it be the counterfeit patriotism of Republicans or the full spectrum hypocrisy of the Democrats? When it comes to the former, I know I will be rubbing my temples and saying woosah each time a Republican turns on the mic and starts to feign love for America and piously speaks about values. The GOP are a cabal of pharisees pretending to be disciples of Jesus. As they crucify the poor and the least among us, they have the audacity to lecture their victims about morality and ethics. These same Republicans will be the ones whose job it is to resuscitate Haspel’s image and be her cheerleader each time she encounters a set back from the other side of the aisle.
Democrats are given the task of giving legitimacy to this dog and pony show by making it seem like actions actually have consequences. Their part of the spectacle should be a reminder that the liberal establishment are even more insidious than their conservative counterparts. Democrats make it a priority to speak for the poor, minorities and the marginalized right up to the minute they gain power. After they use their base to cunningly harvest votes, they discard them like used tissues and quickly drop to their knees to take orders from their corporate pimps. As malicious as Republicans are with their piety, the Democrats are even worse with their perfidy. You will see their insincerity in HD glory shortly as neoliberals and faux-progressives preen on TV and profess to care about due process.
Democrats will be up in arms over Haspel’s torture chambers and waterboarding but they will conveniently omit from their screeds Obama’s policies of extra-legal assassinations of citizens and combatants alike. It is on this front that both Democrats and Republicans will reveal themselves as a troupe of scoundrels and charlatans. This confirmation hearing is not about fact finding as much as it is an abortion of justice. Both parties are putting on a pageant to bury the truth of who we have become as a nation. These Senators who will be taking turns distorting history and running interference are not representing any of us; they are courtiers of a corporate state who are getting paid to medicate us through their histrionics. Click To Tweet
We live in the age of zero accountability for the rich and powerful and maximum consequences for the rest of us. A massive failure led to the demolition of the Twin Towers, the cratering of the Pentagon and the deaths of countless thousands. Not one senior government executive gets fired even though intelligence agencies were warning of impending attacks for months. We are led into a war of aggression based on lies that led to a genocide in Iraq, and the people who committed crimes against humanity make fortunes after retiring to public life. The banking mafia colluded to implode our economy and committed the biggest larceny in the history of humanity and they get rewarded by the bank first president with trillions in bailouts while their victims are sleeping on concrete pillows. A lady who oversaw a torture program that once renditioned a pregnant mother and allowed goons to punch her in the womb is now being toasted by the establishment as a symbol of women’s rights—this is the nadir of morality and the apex of mendacity.
I turn to Barnum yet again to put a bow tie on this analysis. P.T. once noted that clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung. My fellow Americans, the circus is the Congress and the White House, the ring leaders are the politicians on both sides of the aisle as well as the punditry in mainstream media and the Barnums are the plutocrats who are making clowns of the rest of us. How much longer will we abide this three ring nonsense? Unless we muster the courage to break the duopoly in DC and starve the beast of corporatism, what we will keep getting are more Haspel shows as the media-politico class torture all of us with policies that kneecap Americans and bleed the entire planet. #TheHaspelShow
“Justice and judgment lie often a world apart.” ~ Emmeline Pankhurst
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
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