Peter Cavanaugh

Sleep now in the fire

In our nation’s capital, reality remains a rumor. Congress is paralyzed by party politics. At times the administration appears to be losing face, faith and friends with each new headline. Effective distraction and diversion of focus has become prioritized, lest forces operating in true control behind the curtain be revealed. Surface change is everywhere, but not in the deeply hidden mechanisms of mass manipulation.

In 1976, we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the adoption of our Declaration of Independence. It was also during America’s Bicentennial year that we witnessed a threatening new declaration in Paddy Chayefsky’s multiple Academy Award winning film, “Network.” Ned Beatty plays TV boss Arthur Jensen as he savagely chastises rebellious newscaster Howard Beale for daring to defy the established order.

“You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Beale, and you will atone.” (

Widely regarded at the time as satirical in nature, “Network” now seems wildly understated, its anticipation of FOX News being particularly predictive.

There’s no braking “breaking news.” Every new happening is hyped. Our electronic town criers are at dependable yowl a full 24/7. Bad news is best, pulling powerful ratings.

More Iraqi forces fled in fright before last week’s abandonment of Ramadi to ISIS insurgents, leaving behind millions of dollars in U.S. supplied weapons and supplies now turned against us. The historic Syrian town of Palmyra has similarly fallen to the self-proclaimed Islamic State, jeopardizing the continued existence of ancient temples, ruins and priceless archaic treasures. We’re fighting with Iran in Syria and against Iran in Iraq. Often we’re with the Sunnis against the Shiites, then the other way around. Sometimes both. Got that?

Our tragic invasion of Iraq in 2003 was militarily magnificent, then mindlessly managed. And for every American life lost, fortunes were made. It’s just a mess. Big money loves it. That’s how they bet.

On Armed Services Day in Iowa earlier this month, most of a dozen GOP presidential prospects at a state party dinner in Iowa called for a more confrontational stance toward Iran. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s answer for handling things was to: “Load up our bombers and bomb them back to the seventh century.”

I find myself in the company of the sporadically brilliant Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) when I suggest we load up our guys, gals and goodies and leave a nightmare neighborhood where we’ve never belonged. The road to winning needs a whole new beginning. Those chickens coming home to roost are starting to look like pterodactyls.

In January of 1999, Michael Moore filmed the rock group, “Rage Against the Machine” at Federal Hall in downtown Manhattan across from the New York Stock Exchange.

“Sleep Now In The Fire” quickly went into heavy rotation on MTV and was nominated at the 2000 MTV Music Awards as “Best Rock Video” of the year. In this eerily prophetic production, we see vocalist Zack de la Rocha screaming prescient epithets as the true voice of a self absorbed ruling class solely dedicated to the exponential furtherance of guarded private agenda. Against Tom Morello's relentlessly righteous guitar, the rich speak to us.

In November of 2000, George W. Bush was elected 43rd President of the United States, serving two full terms in office. Under his watch, we completely lost our way.

And we sleep now in the fire.

“Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past – control the future.” (George Orwell, “1984.”) (