Home | About | Donate

Insurrection, Pandemic, and Censorship

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/01/14/insurrection-pandemic-and-censorship


Democracy requires an informed citizenry and reliably informative media.

A perfect argument for burning FOX SPEWS, ONE AMERICA SPEWS, and other propaganda spewing sites, to the ground.


Here one of the ironies. Peoples that stormed the Capitol were carrying Confederate flags. Some 160 years after that war there millions that still embrace the “Confederacy” as some lost and Noble cause suggesting it was a struggle for “freedom and liberty” rather then one to preserve slavery.

150 years from now what is left of Humanity in the USA will see half the population wearing MAGA hats claiming the electoral loss of Donald Trump was a loss of “freedom and liberty”.

It hard to educate out that type of willful ignorance. It predates FOX news by centuries and more.


"This eruption of paranoid fantasy is likely just a preview of what we may see as the real challenges of the century begin to bite—including climate change, resource depletion, the deflation of the global debt bubble, and the ending of our decades-long orgy of economic growth."

  • Richard Heisenberg, this article

Good article, as always by this thoughtful man.

It is also possible that it takes a crisis to wake people up -

Right now, all of a sudden, a lot more people have skin in the game than before. Here I am thinking of the political elites, now facing actual physical violence and death threats to them and their families.

The corporate elite have apparently had an “AHA” moment - maybe Karl Rove was wrong - just as Alan Greenspan was wrong -

OK - that’s a stretch - they’re probably just doing PR.

Nevertheless - it’s progress from before.

I wrote down four points this morning, trying to get to the heart and root of this storming of the Capitol - of THE SYSTEM -

  1. Are neo-liberalism & neo-conservatism the root problem(s) ?
  • Answer - YES !
  1. Is Biden/Harris?Cabinet going to promote neo-liberalism after the storming of the Capitol ?
  • Unclear
  1. What to make of 74 million votes for Trump ?
  • ???
  1. Even FDR regulated capitalism provoked an attempted coup by Big Business - but it was popular with the people. Is this what we should return to - an attempt to reign in capitalism ?
  • ???

I am getting some excellent views and information these last weeks from the mainstream media - especially the New York Times and the Washington Post - so I buy in totally to this part of Heisenberg;s argument - i.e., we have been too dismissive of the mainstream - have become our own echo chamber.

No more echo chambers OK - New England style town halls - and let’s start right here on Common Dreams.


It’s a crazy world out there, and it’s getting crazier. Don’t add to the insanity.

It sounds like Heinberg’s modesty is laudably asserting itself in the face of persistent social madness. My own background as a survivor of abuse informs my intention to speak truth, to be a truthteller. Because you’re still a victim if you feel you need to stay quiet to feel safe, and you know you’re healing if you’re able to say things which are hard to say, which few others have the guts to say out loud. Even if people ostracize you for speaking truth, there’s simply no other sane or healthy path for an abuse survivor.

Abuse depends on hierarchy depends on control depends on permission. Ultimately, abusers entirely depend on our assent to oppression. We can refuse, and turn that around, but only if we grant ourselves permission to speak the truth.

For some reason there’s been very little discussion of the global pandemic on CD lately. In the ensuing week, USA’s outbreak has not subsided, but the relative concentration in various states has shifted. Our digest of Johns Hopkins test-positivity stats looks bad for simmering Oklahoma this morning:


Ranking is momentum-based on Johns Hopkins’ test-positivity factored with “per-capita newcases” (daily cases per 100K) & “immediate mortality” (the ratio of death to case tallies, analogous to case-fatality).

>                       JH     per-capita   immed
>                   positivity  newcases  mortality
>                       %          %%         %
>  1. Alabama          40.8       77.1       1.73
> --- --------------------- ---------- ----------
>  2. Oklahoma         20.8       89.7       0.75
>  3. Georgia          19.4       77.4       0.77
>  4. Arizona          15.9      107.1       1.57
>  5. Pennsylvania     39.9       63.0       2.47
>  6. Utah             22.2       84.2       0.51
>  7. Kansas           33.6       70.3       2.06
>  8. Kentucky         21.0       69.6       0.83
>  9. Arkansas         19.8       84.5       1.57
> 10. California       12.9      105.6       0.93
> 11. Tennessee        20.2       95.3       1.40
> 12. South Carolina   14.7       74.9       1.04
> 13. Idaho            47.6       55.1       1.23
> 14. Texas            18.6       65.5       1.24
> 15. Iowa             37.9       46.5       2.09
> 16. New Jersey       11.0       60.6       1.52
> 17. Florida          12.1       61.7       0.91
> 18. Nevada           15.4       71.2       1.66
> 19. Mississippi      29.5       71.3       1.80
> 20. Ohio             17.0       66.1       0.99
> 21. North Carolina   11.4       66.6       0.99
> 22. Virginia         13.9       51.5       0.90
> 23. South Dakota     33.7       46.9       2.80
> --- --------------------- ---------- ----------
> 24. Louisiana        11.7       63.1       1.40
> 25. West Virginia    10.0       75.0       1.78
> 26. New Hampshire    11.8       54.7       1.27
> 27. New York          6.9       69.4       1.16
> 28. Missouri         15.7       46.9       1.99
> 29. Indiana          11.1       71.7       1.54
> 30. Delaware          8.8       72.6       0.86
> 31. Massachusetts     6.8       77.2       1.26
> 32. Connecticut       6.8       66.5       1.59
> 33. New Mexico        9.9       60.5       2.12
> 34. Wyoming          10.2       51.0       2.37
> 35. Rhode Island      6.2       90.4       1.49
> 36. Wisconsin        11.1       50.5       1.44
> 37. Washington       10.4       31.6       1.29
> 38. Nebraska          8.7       51.1       1.78
> 39. Maine             6.5       37.9       1.46
> 40. Maryland          6.7       44.6       1.54
> 41. Illinois          7.5       50.5       2.13
> 42. Montana          10.1       45.4       1.70
> --- --------------------- ---------- ----------
> 43. D.C.              4.5       37.1       1.45
> 44. Colorado          7.0       43.6       1.68
> 45. Michigan          7.7       33.1       3.04
> 46. Oregon            5.9       27.5       1.62
> 47. Minnesota         6.0       34.2       2.20
> 48. North Dakota      5.6       29.7       2.75
> --- --------------------- ---------- ----------
> 49. Alaska            3.6       41.2       0.50
> 50. Vermont           2.4       20.4       1.44
> 51. Hawaii            3.0       10.5       0.89

Being crazy seems to be fun for many folks. Turn off the frontal cortex and run with the last thing that one is told. Easy peasy. No fuss no muss. A good German as it was called in the middle of the twentieth century. Q has the answers, of course, and like stealth aircraft is conveniently invisible. A lot of Americans have energy for just about anything other than thinking. A ball? Let’s play! Porn? Let’s stroke! Someone different than us? Let’s hate! But think? Why bother! It hurts! When Donny’s gone who’s going to tell them what to do? We know it is not going to be themselves, they have shown their stripes and they ain’t going to change. Cruz and Hawley blew their shots. Cotton? Buckle up.


I think you are making the same mistake the entire middle class has made these past decades - i.e., if I’m OK - the country is OK.


I’ve adopted Don Gibson’s heartfelt song “Sea of Heartbreak” as my way forward -

The lyrics are impressive - outwardly about a broken romance.

I’m a toner - so I can like a tune without ever knowing the lyrics. But here - the tune and the lyrics are magic in describing one’s love of country:

" How did I lose you - Oh where did I fail"

"Oh what I’d give to sail back to shore - back to your arms once more"

There’s more - listen carefully - and the retro vid that accompanies is about people - you and me - and that is the key to this whole shooting match ~


PS: The retro vid is from “Cry Baby” - and that’s a very young Johnny Depp.

It doesn’t hurt that Don Gibson has indigenous roots.

It’s OK - you can call me crazy - finally I am fitting right in ~

This time - we need to find our hearts again - we can rationalize later - after we win back what we’ve lost.

I think @Maineac and @Roberto and @Elcil will understand ~


You mean Tom Cotton? Seems to me he’s the one to watch out for. Like Liz Cheney, bright enough to conclusively sever his ties to COVID-45: the dead weight dragging down much of the GOP. Another clever one is our Kevin McCarthy – Bakersfield’s nice guy angling to inconspicuously dog-paddle away from this mess as fast as he can. What with the failed coup and all, it’s a freaking shipwreck already.


They all scare the hell out of me. Cottonmouth is particularly poisonous.


Those of us who understand the systemic crises we face have a special responsibility to build our own emotional resilience and to be open-minded so that we can help others in our communities, who don’t have that same clarity, to navigate the craziness to come.

I’m awarding this sentence the 2021 Common Dreams Narcissism and Elitism Prize. It is what the right most hates about the liberal “elite.”


Yea - but give him a break.


Please don’t misunderstand me. While I am more or less OK myself (and largely a loner as you self describe), I am packed with empathy and feel genuine pain for those who have been crushed by the cruelties of this country. I drive by the infamous Rosewood, FL about eight times a year and force myself to get out of my vehicle to reread the historical marker to remind myself of the pathology that still plagues our nation. Where I was born there were two sets of drinking fountains. I know people of all backgrounds that are in genuine pain now, many going well back before the pandemic. This nation is not an easy place to navigate for many, nor is it an easy place to save the vast numbers who need help.


I know WiseOwl - I know.

It’s really a question of where to start on the road back to sanity.

It may be completely out of our hands right now - Trump has a plan - I’ll bet you a nickel.

Just chuck the policy issues for now - these insurrectionists believe - they are an immediate physical threat - right now it’s fight back and win.

Next - recognize that it is a lack of heart that got us here - we have been “persuaded” by advanced PR.

I don’t know if you catch my drift on that song I linked to ?

There are other words which say the same thing:

"ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

We all need something bigger than us ~

Here’s a good article from the NY Times (todays)

The impeachment of President Trump for a second time — in a Capitol ringed by troops — seemed like the almost inevitable culmination of four years that left the nation fractured, angry and losing its sense of self.

Note that the headline is wrong - the country has never lost its sense of self - bit its people have.


The best I can suggest is that we as a society draw the line at physical violence and direct calls for harm to others. Prosecute anyone who vandalizes property or injures other people in the process of making their point, along with those who knowingly incite them. Take down message boards used to plan efforts to overthrow elected leaders.

I agree that dehumanization and violence against people is unacceptable. Yes, the message of the Capitol insurrectionists was a message of white supremacy, entitlement, hate, and violence. My sense is that many of these folk harbor so much hate towards BIPOC folk, such as me, that, if they could get away with slaughtering me and my masses of folk in my community, they would. But, while I disagree with where they stand, ideologically, I can see the influences that led many down that path. These influences rest on a capitalist manipulation whereby they are led to believe that the ravages they face from neoliberalism, are the result of BIPOC folk rather than the plutocrats who run the US. I see tackling this, and developing a critical analysis in those, among the 74 million Trump supporters who are able to think, as one of the core challenges.

I think the insurrectionists have a valid point that US governance is profoundly anti-democratic, does not meet the needs of the majority, and in need of revolutionary change. We need to renounce all violence against people, but I am not opposed to efforts to shut down business as usual or to render, inoperable, instruments/property that is used to harm society such as weapons of mass destruction and pipelines that cause harm to indigenous communities.

I find Democrats in positions of political power, and many folk who are not in positions of political power, including many progressives, are too broad in their critiques of the Capitol insurrectionists and of mass action in general. The uniform critique of all revolutionary mass action, and calls for increased State repression against people who damage property, will have a profoundly and violently repressive impact on folk such as indigenous water protectors, the plowshares, and other folk who seek to prevent the State from harming the society at large.


That’s nice - why don’t you go talk to Boogaloo on Jan 20

1 Like

I organized and led an expedition to climb Mount Rainier back in '77 when I was at the University of Regina. I was raising money for the venture, and in a prof’s office trying to answer some of his questions - basically “was I crazy ?”

I pointed out the window, across the flat sweep of prairie that is Regina, to the southwest - in the direction of Washington state, and I said:

'I can see that mountain from here - it’s right there - and we’re going"

He never did understand - but we did go - a fabulous success even though we were turned back by weather at Camp Hazard.

That’s what is required now - heart and passion.

Know how you can tell a great mountaineer ? By their smile.


I have been trying to engage with some of these folk. I see it as a long and challenging process , fraught with pitfalls, and lacking a guarantee of success. However, I feel that some of these conversations have been more productive, and led to greater appreciation for one another’s humanity then some of the interactions with self declared progressives who harbor profound dehumanizing attitudes, engage in white supremacist practices, and are absolutely closed to other perspectives.


Wow. @manysummits brought me here. I am thankful for that.
(I needed this cheer up from my vegetarian war thoughts comment.)
I was going to ignore this opinion piece, which was a pretty good.
The comments here for this article, so far, are probably the most thoughtful I have read on the Commons in a while.

I used to have this ridiculously long and deep philosophical discussion with a person I worked with. We would bounce thoughts, dissect and digest for hours and hours, day after day. ( I am suddenly struck by my deep regard for this person and my sadness of this loss of friendship. ) Outside of our debates we knew the bare minimum of each other and never spent time together outside of work. ( I miss those hours of silence as we contemplated ideas, then blurted out a thought to be silent again for hours more.)

We had a rule, just one.
We could not talk about anything if we didn’t agree on it’s meaning.
We could, we would, we did spend days breaking a word, or a concept, down until we agreed that’s what it meant. Then the debate began.


Hopefully we are all doing some deep thinking Elcil ~

We’ve let our countries down - taken them too much for granted.

Too much me - not enough we.

Saludos !


1.) Our government isn’t prepared to make any such statements. How can a political and economic policy that’s perfect need any reform?

2.) See 1.

3.) See 1.

4.) See 1.

Text at end:
Unless people know the truth, they cant have such discussions. Because they are barking up the wrong trees. The real problem is the hijacking of our policy space by trade agreements that make everything we could do corporate property.

Its not Trump, or the right wing goon squads.
The infantilization of society is part of it.

The renaissance we need needs honesty that TPTB dont want because their global grab is non-negotiable.