Washington: Hollywood for ugly people
Barack Obama is George Clooney
The same blend of narcissism, confidence, moral flexibility, and desire for fame and wealth that motivates people to go to Los Angeles to compete for roles as “stars” in Hollywood movies is what motivates people to go to Washington to compete for roles as “politicians” in US political theater. Becoming an “elected representative” is just another path to stardom, fame and wealth.
The lives of politicians differ little from that of celebrities. They’re treated like movie stars, posing for photos, signing autographs for admirers, treated to dinners for “meetings” at exclusive restaurants, weekends at luxury resorts to attend “conferences”, concierge service at airports and hotels, "donations" from corporations and billionaires, and as a plus, have access to insider information on stocks.
“Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.”― Harry S. Truman. This also applies to women who get rich by being a politician, such as multimillionaire Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and just about everyone else in the Senate.
Washington is “Hollywood for ugly people.” They're ugly not only in their appearance (e.g. Mitch McConnell), but in their sociopathic disregard for the rapidly deteriorating plight of America’s working class and their unwavering support for the US imperial brand of foreign policy it has engaged in since World War Two that has resulted in the deaths of of millions abroad, “failed states” in the Mid-East, murderous dictatorships in Latin America, and the forced migration of tens of millions to Europe and the US from the global south.
Washington and Hollywood offer Americans an almost identical escape from reality. For decades we’ve watched countless videos revealing systemic nationwide police brutality and murder of unarmed non-violent citizens, yet Hollywood movies and TV series continue to glorify and romanticize the police. For decades we’ve known about the brutality, torture, murder, and massacres of unarmed non-combatant citizens by the US military, yet Hollywood movies (e.g. “American Sniper”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Zero Dark Thirty”) continue to portray US military conduct as “heroic” in wars known to be based on lies. And since the 1994 NAFTA Trade Agreement caused the elimination of millions of well-paying US manufacturing jobs, we’ve known about the resultant extreme wealth inequality that has eviscerated the US middle class, yet Hollywood movies rarely depict this reality.
To close the circle of this propaganda, the corporate media is Hollywood for actors posing as “journalists”. The US broadcast media is populated by men and women “of color” stereotypes and Barbie Doll “commentators” whose job is to reinforce and legitimize Washington’s and Hollywood’s depiction of America’s domestic, political, and military conduct. The Washington/Hollywood media alliance completes the fictionalized “American Dream” that corporations, billionaires, the police, and the military-industrial complex want to instill into the American psyche despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
What accounts for this complete disconnect from reality? Why does “liberal” Hollywood refuse to produce movies that depict the reality of police and military brutality and murder? What accounts for the corporate media’s silence about the neo-feudalism that employees of Amazon, Walmart, McDonalds, et al, experience?
An American president’s popularity is greatly affected by the performance of the US stock market as opposed to the deteriorating state of our actual domestic economy. Understood in this context, America didn't "lose" its wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Syria, that resulted in the needless deaths of millions. Despite periodic downturns, those who can afford to invest in stocks have enjoyed a booming stock market for decades, and a substantial percentage of the corporations that comprise the US stock market are directly or indirectly involved in the US “war machine”. Weapons manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon that are paid billions to provide surveillance on American citizens as well as citizens abroad on behalf of the national security state made huge profits from these wars, and this helped create the “booming stock market” that Wall Street, banks, weapons manufacturers, and millionaires enjoy. In fact, defense stocks outperformed the stock market by 58 percent during the 20 year war in Afghanistan. This is why our wars never end: war is America's “business”. Next stop: Ukraine.
We live under the governance of vapid, vain, amoral thespians, not “elected representatives", and US politics is little more than scripted theater, a sort of ongoing, cliché-filled, “patriotic” Hollywood war movie. Our politicians are the “stars”, and US corporations, Big Tech, billionaires, and the national security state are the writers, directors, and financial beneficiaries of this theater of the absurd.
Barack Obama is perhaps the best modern day example of a political celebrity. We should forget his legacy as a shill for Wall Street, a warmonger who expanded the two “Bush wars” to seven, choose to enrich instead of prosecute the criminals who created the 2008 financial crisis while at the same time allowing millions to be evicted from their homes, bragged about his skills as a “killer” in his drone assassination program (in which over 90% of those killed were innocent civilians), and prosecuted more whistleblowers than all his predecessors combined. Notwithstanding his actual record, Obama remains a wildly popular ‘celebrity’ who retired at 56 and lives in a multi-million dollar estate on Martha’s Vineyard entertaining other celebrities such as George Clooney, Oprah, Beyoncé, and J-Z.
Does anyone believe we can trust self-centered, amoral opportunists to effectively address the imminent existential threats to human life on earth, i.e. the destruction of Earth’s climate, and the even more imminent threat of nuclear war?
From time-to -time it’s important to remind ourselves that government employees, from the mailman to the President, are public servants on the citizen’s payroll—not “celebrities” for us to worship as their “fans”. We should demand the same basic social programs that even “center-right” capitalist European democracies like Germany provide to their citizens such as free high quality healthcare and education, and demand an end our murderous brand of foreign policy that consumes over half of US discretionary spending which in turn precludes funding healthcare and education and is directly responsible for America’s rapidly shrinking middle class, converting them into “serfs” for the likes of Jeff Bezos and the Walmart family.
The US is ruled by opportunistic political thespians who are in reality contract employees of the US corporations who finance their political campaigns. They keep working class Americans too busy trying to survive financially and too propagandized by the corporate media to protest their plight while our military invades sovereign nations “of color” for their resources and to fabricate new enemies for them to claim they need evermore funding to defend us against.
Ironically, America could have achieved “world domination” and a "booming stock market" by building bridges abroad instead of bombing them, but that's not on the agenda of Wall Street, elites, and the national security state.
The devolution of American democracy and the rise of “right-wing extremism” began not with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 or Donald Trump in 2016 as some journalists posit, but with the rigged nomination of Harry S. Truman, a “machine politician” from Missouri who replaced FDR’s choice, Henry Wallace, in 1945. It was Truman who authorized the first and only use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was Truman who invented the CIA, created the Cold War with Russia which was our ally during WW2 and suffered over 25 million casualties compared to 450 thousand US casualties. It was Truman, who without congressional approval, ordered the US Army to fight in Korea’s civil war which resulted in the deaths of over 4 million civilians—a larger proportional civilian death toll than in World War II or the Vietnam War. To paraphrase “The Godfather”, “It was Truman all along”.
If you like this article and wish to contribute my journalism, it will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. —Jim Gala