The DOJ card players have a credibility problem. 17 well-publicized "terrorist" plots since 2001 have been federal setups that never approached the professionalism of an early talent screening for American Idol. The federally micromanaged Fast and Furious gun running operation purposely ran guns to Mexico, and then blamed it on the 2nd Amendment. After it became known that over 200 people were killed as a result, a normally passive Congress questioned Eric Holder, who apparently lied under oath about it.
Last week's "terrorist plot" — an odd Iranian "caught" by the bold federales in part because they "overheard" him explain in detail his complicated plan to his Mexican gangster "cohorts" has been immediately blown out of the water by state media from the left, right and center — taking their lead from independent media that is, thankfully, growing ever more influential.
Even Hollywood is in on the joke. The very idea of federal "law enforcement" is almost silly in this second decade of the 21st century. If the government of the United States can publically, through the president with justification by DOJ, assassinate Americans around the world and make war without Congressional consultation or approval, it has forfeited any right it ever had to "enforce the law."
One hundred years ago, in the decade before 1920, this country once before experienced government-created prosperity bubbles and widespread public hysteria demanding government solutions to moral and economic security concerns. Ken Burns' three-part series, "Prohibition," provides a valuable reminder. Burns explains in an interview with Stephen Colbert how many disparate sectors of society all sought improved security and morality through state mandates and government action. When these disparate groups — sharing a belief that it was good and just for government to force other parts of society to bend to their desires on a single issue — focused on a single and unlawful federal activity, we got the 18th Amendment.
This amendment, in effect for a dozen years, "cost" the federal government $11 billion in lost tax revenue. In today's devalued money and oversized federal government, that's a loss of $120 billion, less than a fifth of one year of the Pentagon's budget. But in the years leading up to Prohibition, alcohol excise taxes were a major portion of state and federal revenue.
How did the federal and state governments (prior to Prohibition, 75% of the New York state budget came from excise taxes on liquor) make up this lost revenue, and pay for drastic new "enforcement" costs?
This was long before the massive cycloptic Pentagon, long before FDR's transformation of the United States into a Keynsesian disaster writ large, and long before the metasticization of the global corporate state oriented around the petrodollar. You guessed it. Prohibition against devil rum led to drastic increases in the income tax, itself a relatively new concept for the United States, brought into being only a few years earlier in a legislatively questionable way.
We have another "devil" today. A single powerful obsession unites American moralizers, including both the Christian Zionist movement and religious progressives who wish to see a Democratic President maintained for another term. Their obsession coincides nicely with the global reshaping desires of the neoconservatives, the institutional desires of the corporate state, the profiteering desires of the military-industrial complex, the blame-shifting desires of the U.S. Congress, the territorial security desires of Israel and its important American lobby, and finally, the centralized control objectives of the modern executive state.
For over a decade now, all of these concerns — religious and progressive movements willingly aligning with state power, neoconservatives, the corporate petrodollar-based state, the military industrial complex, the Congress, the executive bureaucracy and the most powerful foreign policy lobby in the world — have been harping, wailing, and whining about a new devil — the state of Iran.
It doesn't matter that Iran really and truly doesn't matter to us. They say you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. Americans who want something "done" in the Middle East — with their single-issue banner of "Bomb Iran" for Jesus, for democracy, to get Obama re-elected, for oil, for petrodollars, to make money, to justify a bloated military budget, for Israel, to consolidate and strengthen the state and political security apparatus in the U.S. — all freely make up their own facts about why Iran must be prohibited, and destroyed.
Which brings me back to the Justice Department, the nexus for prohibition then and now. The recent "Iranian plot" may help divert attention from DOJ perjury, from federal gun-running, from past fake terrorism plots, and from what may more frightening to the federal state apparatus, the exposure of the inconclusive and sloppy FBI investigation into the Amerithrax case. These plots and stories certainly feed the vision and fuel the fire in the bellies of those religious, political, corporate and state entities bent on attacking Iran in an ecstatic, glorious and emotion-filled massacre.
The American and Israeli collective movement to prohibit Iran from existing will probably not be able to sustain itself, even with the current effort to frighten and coerce the House of Saud into joining it. Holder is no Hoover, and Hoover would never had lasted nor been as politically powerful had average Americans of his era had broad public access to his activities, agendas and abuses as we do with Holder today. The contemporary U.S. dollar is an accident waiting to happen, and our military has been transformed into a hollow shell of hundreds of thousands of unhappy soldiers without an honest mission, and a few arrogant politicians in suits directing drone attacks. Holder will fold, to a derisive hiss of frustration from the bomb-Iran collective.
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page. She is currently running for Congress in Virginia’s 6th district.