Capture the Flag: Just Another Divine Comedy

Does anyone else here remember the years 1959-1962, playing capture-the-flag with your friends late into the summer twilight on dead-end streets peppering small hometown communities across America? Well folks today we are witness to the biggest game of capture-the-flag one could ever have imagined.  I think some of those guys with whom I played back in the day just took the whole game way too seriously. Now they magically believe they are perched at the right hand of their god (multiple choice: Allah, Christ, Yahweh), preparing us all for the final accounting. Things are just beginning to get interesting, folks. Perhaps another game of childhood make-believe is in order. Unfortunately, it is too much of a strain on my overworked imagination to make believe all this stuff is not happening.  However, the news is no less imaginative than is the frightful reality of their conquests.

In a world of professional propagandists, is it any wonder that even those who seek to present unbiased, no less, critical commentary, end up being the hapless dupes of the official promoters and fakirs of the State.  Even media outlets intent on providing dissenting views find themselves reporting what is released by the charlatans as news.  Further investigation beyond the official headline takes time, money and intelligence.  So when the hegemony tells us that the latest drone strike in Pakistan targeted a “top al-Quaeda figure” even Al Jazeera must report the headline; and if one digs no deeper, the magical thinking of “protecting the Republic” goes unexamined.

So, as our spiral into the depths of this Inferno continues apace, we are told that the muscle of US warships are loading up their guns and heading off into Asian waters, while the feckless leaders of the free world continue publicly to fret and frig over who is to blame for the “Syrian problem.” Indeed, it is interesting how the USA and its allies can unrepentantly kill women and children in Pakistan or Afghanistan while going after our “targets” without so much as an international whimper; yet the civil war in Syria is branded a humanitarian crisis and a horror by our press.  Meanwhile, on the homefront, the body politic continues to burn in its own private Purgatory, with the most recent Jobs Report indicating that Americans are in fact losing more ground within the greatest economy the world has ever known, while the powers that be blame it on manipulation of oil prices. Unfortunately, too many of us believe their bullshit. And while “hosed” Mubarak faces life in prison for his years of free-wheeling complicity with Western power brokers, other more dangerous players – W, Straight Shooter, and Rumy – roam freely over the fields of this artfully constructed Paradise. Meanwhile, Obama – the Crown-Prince of Peace – finalizes his “kill list” in the quasi-religious confessional of onetime CIA reject, John Brennan; three new drone strikes inside Pakistan in just three days, folks. Dante’s epic poem could not have been more divinely inspired, nor could he have invented a more motley crew for that Divine Comedy.

In short, it appears that the militaristic expansion of the American hegemony continues at an unforgiving pace, as we the people sit on our ass and let the whores, thieves, and gangsters who run this increasingly frightening comedy do what they please to us and to the rest of the globe.  This week in Al Jazeera we read:

New York, NY – Even as the Obama campaign ramps up its operations for the 2012 presidential race and seeks to gin up its liberal base, the White House has become increasingly more assertive in pushing for a global network of US military bases. Indeed, if the progressive community was paying attention, it might be somewhat surprised to find that Obama has been even more militaristic in some ways than predecessor George Bush, the long-time bane of the US left. In particular, Obama has been quietly constructing American bases in the remote Southern Cone. It’s an intriguing news story which has received scant attention in the US media, much less the so-called progressive media.
In a recent column, I discussed the novel story of Obama’s new military base located in the Chaco region of northern Argentina. Officially, the Resistencia base forms part of a joint US-Argentine initiative which will provide joint emergency services and eventually deploy troops for “humaninatarian relief”. Local authorities have emphatically stressed that the installation is a civil base only, and will be subject to the oversight of provincial authorities. Nevertheless, the Argentine left claims that Resistencia amounts to a covert US intelligence operation, thinly disguised as humanitarian relief. One Argentine legislator has even called for an investigation into the “Yankee base in Chaco” and recently political and environmental activists held a demonstration against the installation.
If the Resistencia story was not outlandish enough, now comes word that the Obama administration has pushed for yet another base, this one located just across the border in Chile. The installation, which has cost the US taxpayer nearly a half million dollars to construct, is situated in the port city of Concón in the central Chilean province of Valparaíso. In Chile, the political debate surrounding the Concón base mirrors the previous fight over the Resistencia installation: while local authorities and the US military claim that Concón will be used for training armed forces deployed for peacekeeping operations, the Chilean left believes the base is aimed at controlling and repressing the local civilian population.

So, before the federali set up military outposts on every street corner, with their death-dealing drones lurking overhead in our own “land of the free and home of the brave”  (all of course in formal compliance with the newly signed NDAA), perhaps we should encourage our protesting colleagues, the OWS occupiers, to surround the White House and the Capital and make the leaders of this institutional oppression an “offer they can’t refuse.”  God, where is Marlon Brando when you really need someone with his talent?

Instead, we linger here on the frontlines of despair, angst-stricken wayfarers continuing to debate calmly the pros and cons of permaculture, pacifism, and polity. This certainly is the strangest of times in an increasingly strained world. All the while, the boys and girls of Wall Street maintain their death-grip on the 99% as they continue their wholesale fleecing of America with the devil’s advocate at their disposal. So, what are we to do? That was the hot-topic (no pun intended) of last week’s discussion.  And I imagine the issue will continue to elicit further reflection and commentary.

In truth, I am not sure there is much more to be done.  After all, the boys and girls in charge of this erstwhile comedy are doing quite enough already; and their effectiveness is all too obvious — collapse in progress. But, as Chris Hedges recently noted, fear not because extremist elements around the globe are coming into their own, with increased political clout helping to flex their HGH-injected muscles.  Just take a look at Greece, France, Austria, Norway, Hungary, Denmark, or the Netherlands; those prone to violent response are gaining ground politically, as this beast continues to tumble and fall.1  Yet, is Chris himself trying to frame the debate as a battle between good and evil; does he not realize that the Curriculum is driving both sides of the coin?

Unfortunately, the paid mouthpieces will not be silenced, their voices continuing to fuel the expiatory fires of this modern-day divine comedy. Odd militant shooters and solo suicide terrorists may soon give way to armed militias on both sides of the street. And, while the enforcers of the State together with their corporate paymasters are certain to respond harshly to any sustained heterodox challenges, perhaps they will not be swift enough to stop all of the cascading violence. Those of us who remain unarmed and caught in the crosshairs may not live to see the consequences of such escalating belligerence. However, I believe that our own fascist regime is well equipped to snuff-out most opposition, armed or otherwise.  Even now, the FBI is using paid instigators to entrap wayward individuals who the Feds have identified as potential troublemakers; all to set an example.  Just as they are doing with Pvt. Bradley Manning. And this betrays the psychotic structural violence conceived of and nurtured by the outstretched hand of the State, in short by those claiming to represent the alienated, civilized horde.

(Sorry, just couldn’t help myself)

While he was suspicious of the unharnessed exercise of our feral instincts (he called the Id), Freud was also clear in his warnings about the inherent discontent produced through the repression and sublimation required and enforced by civilization.2 What we are now witnessing around the world today, both in fact and in its myriad representations, is a game of capture the flag, and it is like any other competition conceived by the guiding principles of our contestual culture.  It is a function of the models we have so diligently crafted and exported around the globe. And the chickens are now coming home to roost.

39 Responses to Capture the Flag: Just Another Divine Comedy

  1. murph says:


    Did you catch the article posted on ZeroHedge written by Branden Smith titled “Defience, A Lost Virtue?”. I’ve been seeing a lot more commentaries, essays and rants speculating on rebellion, revolution, opposition. I figure when an individual starts becoming desperate, it changes the way you think and behave. If enough folks are put in that position………………I fear there is going to be concerted effort by the elites to turn this desperation inward on society. Fight amongst ourselves rather than those with the boots on our necks. If this happens, it’s not gonna be pretty. Wonder how many folks worldwide will be able to discern the true state of affairs.

    It’s gonna get even more interesting.

  2. bmiller says:

    As a Louisiana boy I can tell you that a dying alligator can still break your leg with its thrashing tail. The reality is that all governments have the ability to inflict damage for a long time after the head has been severed.
    Knowing that fact and it is still hard not to be engaged in the game of capture the flag. I found myself this week discussing with real vigor the outcome of the Wisconsin recall vote…as if it mattered. Maybe if we listen closely we can hear mom calling us in for supper.

    • Good analogy. Those who profess to be the leaders, are really just the severed nerve ends , twitching uselessly as the body dies…though some of them may be like the Cape buffalo, which if you don’t kill it, will stalk you for hundreds of miles over days til it gets the chance to kill you

    • kulturcritic says:

      Son – dinner’s on the table!

  3. Excellent post Sandy. For me the jangling disconnect between what the masters want us to hear, think, believe and what some of us know is going on is amazing. More and more commercials to buy more shiny new stuff, that’s all brought to us by petroleum powered vehicles, mostly on rubber wheels. The local electric company is all enthused about their new coal fired plant set to go on line in 2015, while mountain top removal to get to the coal continues, blighting the land. Then there are the vids of Canadian tar sands extraction plants…more ripping the life out of the land.It goes on and on while the masters continue to tell us all will be well if we just go shopping, science or technology or god will provide us with an abundant source of energy. I ‘v gotten to the point I only watch the “news” for the weather reports, the rest is bloviating blather designed to keep us lulled in a stuporous haze. Our masters and most of the population do not grasp that the ship is sinking, and they will go down with it too, and there are no rescue ships to pick up any survivors bobbing about in a polluted ocean in too few fragile lifeboats. We can’t save all the cars, much less all the people or nations, though the masters every where are spending massive resources trying to do just that, “try” being an attempt to fail, and seeing the world as it is, we know how well that’s working. The Curriculum of the West is devouring it self and the world, the lie of constant and greater growth and expansion not yet acknowledged as such. As far as the US presidential election, all the chattering about Mitt and Barry is silly….both are hand picked by different factions of the masters, I’ll say Barry will be re elected, cause he is even more a Friedman “free” marketeer than Mitt, and the masters know it.

    • Aids to Navigation says:

      “Our masters and most of the population do not grasp that the ship is sinking […]”

      Oh yes, they certainly know! Like Sandy said, it takes incredible imagination to see something that’s just not there… There are so many recent popular books about societal collapse, there are many more blogs about survival in times of peak everything and climate uncertainty, there are prisons in Greece running seriously out of food for their “inhabitants” and 50%+ youth unemployment in Italy and Spain, I’ve even seen a prime time TV feature on the inevitability of collapse on a respected German news channel…

      The situation is clear to everyone who dares a look (although people like to rotate freely through Kübler-Ross’s phases of grief). It’s just, as Orlov put, that we don’t know how precisely the system behaves when collapsing, because it was designed to be up and running.


      • Maybe I ought to have said they cluelessly waste time and effort pretending the ship is not sinking, which can appear that they don’t grasp that it is? Like the masters on the Titanic..and what a microcosmic analog of the culture of the west that was..

    • kulturcritic says:

      Marlena – indeed the disasters heaped one upon another is overwhelming. The waters polluted as you mentioned. Now they are recognizing that the Fukishima disaster has hundreds of tons of debris (much of it toxic) heading straight for the shores of the western states. There is no escape route for this culture… there are only life boats for those who prepare well.

  4. Aids to Navigation says:

    bmiller, the alligator allegory is a nice one. As a hunter, I can tell that some beasts do remarkable things even if fatally hit.

    Sandy, indeed it seems that everyone “doing” his best to make things better solipsistically only speeds up decay… You are probably aware of Orlov’s latest piece (“Fragility and collapse: slowly at first, then all at once”). What we hear are swelling sounds of disaster — the undertone gets tense and slightly desperate apparently. Hedge your bets!


  5. derekthered says:

    if it’s a comedy, it’s not funny. just as abraham lincoln could have possibly have been aware of the communist manifesto, as it’s publication pre-dates the civil war; so could mohammed have been aware of augustine’s city of god. from a strictly nihilistic point of view it appears that left, right and center are all attempting to establish their own enclave of rightness, kindness, and correctness, all of course for the best of motives.

    now, the power players? i really don’t think they give a damn about any of this, they are simply trying to establish their own giant “simulacrum of accumulation against death”, either that or they just like being the bigwig.

    this all goes back to the problem with linear thinking, used by the elite to fool the public into thinking we are all getting somewhere, when in reality our planet is traveling in an ellipse around the sun. period. end of story.

    as for some sort of political solution? 40 years of socialist leanings with no results has knocked that right out of my thinking, i give up on that. problem is? i was exposed to the entire christian panoply as a child, deeply indoctrinated, that stuff is hard to shake. so hope springs eternal, mores the pity, sort of thing that leads to internal conflicts.

    so yes, the public discourse is patently ridiculous, this is right, that is wrong. it’s the “religion of peace”, the “prince of peace”, sin, redemption, hatfields and mccoys. round and round and round she goes, and where she stops nobody knows.

    we are definitely in a pickle, global warming is such a big problem, but yet we still ship raw materials around the planet to build our gadgets, then we ship said gadgets right back where they came from. collective insanity or power play, the results are the same, inefficient use of resources, collective insanity, mass neurosis, this happens when you believe everything is supposed to make sense and your prejudices don’t quite fit with reality.

    • kulturcritic says:

      It truly is a fight against death that these people are engaged in. That is the net result of a world built upon a unilinear timeline, that leads one ineluctable to the conclusion that: “I too will die someday.” Historical narrative, including autobiography is a key driver behind this disease.

  6. Malthus says:

    One thing is for certain Sandy, we are swimming oceans of bullshit. Trying to keep our heads above it and keep from drowning in it. It is starting to appear that there are more crooks, swindlers, lying politicians, self appointed masters of the universe, mutant zombies than every one else. That every one else being those that would really like living a life where one can have the choice of living according to ones own standards and be left alone when and ever. BTW where did those WSO’s go? Are they preparing for a really big scene at the conventions, or are they just being disappeared?

    • kulturcritic says:

      OWS – I think they are looking for a piece of the action; they really don’t want to bring anything down.

      • Malthus says:

        Yea right OWS. So what they are begging for is better deals on education so they can get in on the money making game cheaper and make bundles. And here I was hoping they would actually want to bring things down that weren’t doing any body any good. Doesn’t really give them a very good bargaining position.

        • Brutus says:

          That’s been everyone progressive’s sneaking suspicion, that OWSers just want the material abundance most of their parents have enjoyed. If you read psych reports on youth ambitions, they are heavily skewed toward being rich and famous rather than developing oneself or serving others. The humanity has drained out of us, leaving bean counters.

          • kulturcritic says:

            Money, money, honey!!

          • I’ve come up with a metaphor for civilization: It’s the Leaning Tower of Jenga!

            • Malthus says:

              Chris Hedges had this to say about OWS:
              “The importance of the Occupy movement, and the reason I suspect its encampments were so brutally dismantled by the Obama administration, is that the corporate state understood and feared its potential to spark a popular rebellion. I do not think the state has won. All the injustices and grievances that drove people into the Occupy encampments and onto the streets have been ignored by the state and are getting worse. And we will see eruptions of discontent in the weeks and months ahead.
              If these mass protests fail, opposition will inevitably take a frightening turn. The longer we endure political paralysis, the longer the formal mechanisms of power fail to respond, the more the extremists on the left and the right—those who venerate violence and are intolerant of ideological deviations—will be empowered. Under the steady breakdown of globalization, the political environment has become a mound of tinder waiting for a light.”
              So we seem to be back to hope. And we all know hope is way overrated.

            • kulturcritic says:

              That’s a new one on me, VL

  7. Martin says:

    Oddly, having read and considered all the above, the symbol of Ouroboros came to mind – exactly why, I don’t know….

    BTW, Sandy, I noticed that this particular effort seemed a bit Kuntslerian in construction.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Being humorously cynical like Kunstler is a tough job to pull off well. Sometimes I do get in that giddy-up mood. Also, maybe I slip into that mode when I am not sure where my subject matter is taking me exactly. Hope it came out well and you enjoyed the word plays, Martin. Yes, we are eating our own tail!!

      • Martin says:

        Methinks I might should have added in a ‘(heh)’ after each of the comments re: Ouroboros and Kuntslerianism (he said with a large bulge of tongue in cheekness) to make my own ‘giddy-upness’ (I really like that!) more apparent. (heh)

        BTW – as dire as it all seems, it’s probably most important to retain one’s sense of humor and display it now & then.


  8. javacat says:

    Apropos of everything, or maybe making it all moot: The Science of Apocalypse ( and this book, The Land Grabbers ( Maybe we just enjoy our time until the flip.

  9. Disaffected says:


    Now they magically believe they are perched at the right hand of their god (multiple choice: Allah, Christ, Yahweh), preparing us all for the final accounting.

    Excellent point. And a couple of observations in response.

    Isn’t it interesting how two of the three above religious traditions descended from one and that their differences should/would be judged by any rational third-party observer, to my mind at least, as irreconcilable? I’ve always found that curious. Evidently, none other than the now completely non-PC (and very possibly insane on multiple other grounds) Mel Gibson thought so as well and profited accordingly.

    Isn’t it also interesting how none of the Eastern traditions have been implicated at all in any of the current or even historically recent shenanigans? Yeah, I know some of you egg-heads are liable to pull up this or that source to refute that statement on some local scale, but overall, the Eastern traditions have been remarkably free of global shit-stirring for the past 100 years or so (crowding out, maybe?). Not that that makes them all peace and light or any of that bullshit, but at least they’re not being used hell-bent for leather as an excuse for world domination.

    Having been brought up in the American fundamentalist Judeo-Christian brand of moronic idiocy, I can HONESTLY say that I KNEW WITHOUT A DOUBT from my earliest days that these people were COMPLETELY INSANE. And my convictions have only solidified since. Thinking, morally upright people simply don’t do drugs, religion, or unsubstantiated intellectual philosophies of ANY sort. WHY, oh WHY, is that such a hard concept to grasp?

    By the way, this remains one of the best and most relevant blogs and comment boards out there on the web. You guys and gals should all be proud.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Do we really need to give up all natural drugs, DA? I mean, beer is a drug, too. And I know you won’t give that up. But, you are right, the Eastern believers have not been religiously on the warpath. Idiocy is a key indicator of social acceptability in this culture. Agreed?

  10. xraymike79 says:

    I think the elite have already captured the flag, in as much as it could be captured. Mother Earth laughs at their naval-gazing follies. In the end, no one can escape climate change and the 6th mass extinction, the two primary drivers of mankind’s own self-induced eradication. Sorry all, but transition towns and permaculture won’t help in the grand scheme of earth’s geologic timescale. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but necessary if you want to face the reality of where we are headed.
    What are we to do? … perhaps not much more than what you already are doing. It’s an epic tragedy, but one soon forgotten.
    We’re fucked, get over it.

  11. Kenuck says:

    Sandy…checked your FBI file lately?

  12. Pingback: Links 6/12/12 « naked capitalism

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