Daily Paul today reminds us of the upcoming National Tea Party Convention.
If you think this is a grassroots political movement of the working class, think again. This is mainly a ploy from the Republicans, neocons and their warmongering media buddies to extort big bucks from some who may actually think these people and groups are trying to create change for the better. Mostly it’s a bunch of shills out for money, political power and self promotion.
The Tea Party Nation’s list of speakers, besides headliner Sara, include World Net Daily’s Joseph Farah, Fox News Contributor Angela McGlowan and Republican reps Michele Bachman and Marsha Blackburn. Nashville’s own ‘lover of all things war’ WWTN Talk 99.7 is also a contributor.
First let’s check the cost to get in. A ticket for everything is $558.95, skip the banquet and it’s only $358.71. Opryland Hotel is very nice and you can get a room for $110 or $175 with an atrium view (plus charges and taxes). Definitely not for the common folks.
The organizers have stated this is not about the creation of a third party … surprise surprise. Anyone looking for an alternative to the two party crime syndicate had best try and figure out something else. Most people I know are tired of this flipping of power between Dems and Repubs with essentially the same results; more taxes, more war, more laws, less freedom.
The co-opting of the tea party movement by moneyed interests is a deception and a recipe for failure. True constitutionalists and criminal government and media observers see through it. Perhaps the rest of the folks who once saw the potential for a grassroots movement will also see this faction for what it is and let it die.
Instead of expensive conventions we need to take to the streets against the power structure … peacefully and by the millions. That’s a message the oligarchy may understand.
“It would have been quite impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries …”
Why do we have this thing called a “financial crisis”? Why have we had such a crisis periodically ever since the United States was created? What changes occur or what happens each time to bring on the crisis? Do we forget how to make things that people need? Do the factories burn down? Are our tools lost? Do the blueprints disappear? Do we run out of people to work in the factories and offices? Are all the services that people need for a happy life so well taken care of that there’s hardly any more need for the services? In other words: What changes take place in the real world to cause the crisis? Nothing, necessarily. The crisis is usually caused by changes in the make-believe world of financial capitalism.
All these grown men playing their boys’ games. They create an assortment of financial entities, documents, and packages that go by names like hedge funds, derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, index funds, credit default swaps, structured investment vehicles, subprime mortgages, and dozens of other exotic monetary vehicles. They create all manner of commercial pieces of paper, of no known real or inherent value, backed up by few if any standards. Then they sell these various pieces of paper to the public and to each other. They slice and dice mortgages into arcane and risky instruments, then bundle them together, and sell the packages to those higher up in the pyramid scheme. And some of those engaged in this Wild West buying and selling become millionaires. Some become billionaires. They get Christmas bonuses greater than what most Americans earn the entire year. Is all this not remarkable?
And much of the buying is not done with the buyer’s own money, but with borrowed funds; “leveraged”, they call it. The pieces of paper sometimes represent commodities, but the actual commodities are not seen, may not even exist; if the seller demanded the buyer’s own funds, or the buyer wanted to see the goods, the whole transaction would freeze. They sell “long”, expecting the price to rise; they sell “short”, expecting the price to fall; they sell “naked short”, which means they neither possess nor own what they’re selling; a name for each gimmick. They take ever-greater risks buying and selling increasingly-esoteric pieces of paper. It’s a glorified Las Vegas, casino capitalism.
These pieces of paper can be so complex that many of those buying and selling them do not fully understand them; no problem, they just resell the pieces of paper to someone else at a higher price, even when one or both parties know that the paper, while pretending to be payable debt, is virtually worthless. The government, even when it tries to moderately regulate this Monopoly board, can at times also be confused by the complexities of the pieces of paper, compounded by the less-than-transparent practices that envelop the transactions; a potpourri including speculation, manipulation, fraud. Billionaire financier Warren Buffett has called the pieces of paper “weapons of mass financial destruction.”
The boys of finance have been playing their games for years, and so at each stage of the process there are insurance policies allowing the players to hedge their bets; they insure, and they re-insure; hopefully covering themselves against the many risks of the game, often knowing that they’re trading in questionable debts; the giant corporation AIG, a major player in the insurance game, has just been taken over by the federal government. And with each transaction, at each level, someone earns a commission or a fee. There are also other firms whose purpose in life is to go around rating various players and their pieces of paper and their credit worthiness and giving seals of approval which are relied upon by investors. Some of these rating firms, we’re now learning, have been surprisingly incompetent, when not simply dishonest
President Roosevelt, confronted in the 1930s with similar players, called them “banksters”.
It’s all built on faith, as fragile as the religious kind, the belief that something is worth something because it comes with a piece of paper with reassuring words and numbers written on it, because it’s traded, rated, and insured, because someone will sell it and someone will buy it. The same market psychology, the same herd mentality, that went into constructing this house of cards built on pillars of greed can cause the house to collapse in a heap. But the Monopoly players keep their bonuses, and bow out with multimillion-dollar golden parachutes; while tent cities are springing up all over America.
Is this any way to run a society of human beings?
And the government is in the process of trying to bail out these reckless traders, these parasites, rescuing them and their system from their own nonsense. With our money; without a major restructuring of the Alice-in-Wonderland rules of the financial games, without instituting the toughest of regulations, oversight, and transparency, and with no guarantee that the spoiled-little-brat Masters of the Universe will act in any way other than their own narrow self interest, the rest of us be damned.
Capitalism is the theory that the worst people, acting from their worst motives, will somehow produce the most good.
There is perhaps some consolation. The libertarian and neo-conservative true believers will have a harder time selling their snake oil of privatization of Social Security or any other social program. Government regulation of matters vital to the public’s welfare may be taken more seriously. We may hear less of that old bromide that markets are inherently self-correcting. It may even give a boost to the idea of national health insurance.
And the libertarians and neo-conservatives are hurting and defensive, albeit not yet admitting to any new-found wisdom. A Washington Post interview with some true believers at the Cato Institute, where Ayn Rand’s picture prominently hangs, produced these quotations: “Too much regulation got us where we are” … “The biggest emotion we’re feeling right now is frustration that the media narrative is that this is a crisis of the free market, a crisis of capitalism, a crisis of under-regulation. In fact it’s a crisis of subsidization and intervention.” … “Capitalism without losses is like religion without hell.”
And just think: Cuba has been tormented without mercy for 50 years because it refuses to live under such a financial system.
Why I never watch presidential debates
A sucker is born every minute. True today as it was 50 years ago. Our sucker productivity must be the highest in the world.
During their September 26 debate, John McCain criticized Barack Obama for saying that, as president, he’d be willing to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. McCain stated: “Now here is Ahmadinejad, who is now in New York talking about the extermination of the State of Israel, of wiping Israel off the map … and we’re going to sit down without precondition across the table to legitimize and give a propaganda platform to a person that is espousing the extermination of the State of Israel … ”
First it must be noted that Ahmadinejad, speaking at the UN earlier in the week, used no threatening language at all against Israel. What he said was that Iran was submitting to the UN “its humane solution based on a free referendum in Palestine for determining and establishing the type of state in the entire Palestinian lands.” So John McCain just made up a story and Barack Obama said not a word in contradiction to anything McCain said or implied about Ahmadinejad.
And that’s it, America. That’s all you get. You’ve heard a Republican saying some awful things about an ODE (Officially Designated Enemy) and you’ve heard a Democrat who has no problems with a word of that. That equals truth, doesn’t it?
This matter of Ahmadinejad and “wiping Israel off the map” has been a heated issue for three years now. However, according to people who know Farsi, the Iranian leader has never said anything of the kind. In his October 29, 2005 speech, when he reportedly first made the remark, the word “map” does not even appear. According to the translation of Juan Cole, American professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History, Ahmadinejad said that “the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” His remark, said Cole, “does not imply military action or killing anyone at all”. It’s the distortion of this to imply some sort of extreme violence on the part of Iran that has made the remark sound threatening.
Cole added that the quote comes from an old speech of Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and “is just an inexact translation. The phrase is almost metaphysical. [Ahmadinejad] quoted Khomeini that ‘the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.’ It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks.”
At a December 2006 conference in Teheran, the Iranian president said: “The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.” Obviously, the man is not calling for any kind of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place peacefully.
For a word-by-word breakdown of Ahmadinejad’s remark, in Farsi and English, see here:
Moreover, in June 2006, subsequent to Ahmadinejad’s controversial speech, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated: “We have no problem with the world. We are not a threat whatsoever to the world, and the world knows it. We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any state.”
Palintology What’s the proper term to use to categorize a person who is … blindly patriotic, jingoist, an evangelical Christian creationist, gun and hunting enthusiast, National Rifle Association supporter; denies the science behind global warming, with a philosophy of “dig, dig, dig”, and in foreign policy: “bomb”, “bomb”, “bomb”; untraveled, uneducated, ignorant, a devoted book-banner, racist, opposed to equal rights for gays, fanatically anti-abortion, anti-feminist, and has a 17-year-old daughter pregnant and unmarried?
The proper American term is “white trash”. Or, as the honorable governor of Alaska apparently prefers, “redneck” — “Rouge cou” is what she called a business she registered.
And what do you call the person if on top of all that she declares in the year 2008 that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11 and that “a surge in Afghanistan also will lead us to victory there as it has proven to have done in Iraq”? The proper term is “scary”, or perhaps “scary moron”.
And what do you think of this person when you learn that she believes that the war in Iraq is a “task that is from God”? I think this is actually a form of insanity. There are people in institutions all over the world charged with killing others, who insist that they were acting under God’s command.
And if the above is not enough to make you fall in love with the woman, consider that she believes that humans coexisted with dinosaurs 6,000 years ago; and have a look at a video of the vice-president/president-to-be undergoing an exorcism performed by a minister to free her body from “witches”. When we consider the flak that Barack Obama received because his minister is not in love with US foreign policy, imagine what Palin will get for having a minister who performs witch exorcism. Nothing.
So, have we forgotten anything about her charming belief system? Santa Claus? The Easter Bunny? Oh, she must have been kidnapped by a space alien. I hope some day to meet her and have her read my palms, my tea leaves, my aura, my horoscope, and my tarot.
When is a holocaust not a holocaust? When the perpetrators call it a victory. Although the “surge” has failed as policy, it appears to be succeeding as propaganda. It seems to be the only thing that supporters of the war have to point to, and so they point, and they point, and they point. Allow me to point out that while there has been a reduction in violence in Iraq — now down to a level that virtually any other society in the world would find horrible and intolerable, including Iraqi society before the US invasion and occupation — we must keep in mind that thanks to this lovely little war more than half the population of Iraq is either dead, crippled, traumatized, confined in overflowing American and Iraqi prisons, internally displaced, or in foreign exile. Thus, the number of people available for being killers or victims is markedly reduced. Moreover, extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place in the country (another good indication of progress, n’est-ce pas? nicht wahr?) — Sunnis and Shiites are now living more in their own special enclaves than before, none of those stinking mixed communities with their unholy mixed marriages, so violence of the sectarian type has also gone down; and the powerful movement of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has had a cease-fire in effect for many months, unconnected to the surge. On top of all this, US soldiers, in the face of numerous “improvised explosive devices” on the roads, have been venturing out a lot less (for fear of things like … well, dying), so the violence against our noble lads is also down. Remember that insurgent attacks on American forces is how the Iraqi violence all began in the first place.
Just imagine — If the entire Iraqi population over the age of 10 is killed, disabled, imprisoned or forced into exile there will probably be no violence at all. Now that would really be victory.
No American should be allowed to forget that Iraqi society has been destroyed. The people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their health care, their legal system, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their security, their past, their present, their future, their lives. But they do have their surge.
Politicizing and militarizing sports A few years ago I wrote in this report:
A TV ad for Anheuser-Busch shown during the recent Super Bowl: An airport, a contingent of US soldiers in uniform is passing through, presumably on the way to or just returning from Iraq; the people in the terminal one by one look up, and slowly realize who’s walking by — It’s (choke) … Can it (gasp) be? … Yes! HEROES!! Real honest-to-God heroes!! The faces of the onlookers are filled with deep gratitude and pride. The soldiers begin to realize what’s happening as the waves of adulation sweep over them, their faces are bursting with matching gratitude and matching pride, their faces say “Thanks.” The screen says “Thanks.” Not a dry eye in the whole damn terminal. In the Soviet Union they might have been a group of Stakhanovite hero workers on the way to the factory.
Last month at the United States Tennis Open women’s final in New York, a woman comes out to sing “America the Beautiful”. Pretty common of course at sporting events in beautiful America. If it’s not that, it’s another well-known hymn to athleticism like “God Bless America” or “The Star Spangled Banner”. But this time, as she finishes singing, dozens of marines in full uniform march out and unfurl an American flag a mile long. The crowd eats it up. Two days later, at the men’s final, same thing plus four jet planes roar past above the stadium.
I wish I had been there. So I could have yelled out: “What the fuck does this have to do with tennis?” Hardly anyone would have heard me above the din of the patriotic orgy, but if anyone did, I would not be surprised if they reported me to the nearest authorities (and in present-day America one is never too far from authorities), and I’d be asked to accompany the authorities to the security office (and in present-day America one is never too far from a security office).
Norman Mailer wrote in 2003, a few weeks before the US invasion of Iraq: “My guess is that, like it or not, or want it or not, we are going to go to war because that is the only solution Bush and his people can see. The dire prospect that opens, therefore, is that America is going to become a mega-banana republic where the army will have more and more importance in our lives. … And before it is all over, democracy, noble and delicate as it is, may give way. … Indeed, democracy is the special condition … we will be called upon to defend in the coming years. That will be enormously difficult because the combination of the corporation, the military and the complete investiture of the flag with mass spectator sports has set up a pre-fascistic atmosphere in America already.”
Für meine deutschen Leser My book Rogue State has a new German edition. This is an updated version of the previous German edition, with a much better translation. You can read about it at:
Website help needed AOL is closing down the website service for its members. I have to relocate my website with its numerous separate files and pages to a new host and convert the AOL HTML language, AOLPRESS, to the language of the new host. This is completely beyond my knowledge and skill. Is there an expert out there who can advise me? Some payment can be arranged.
William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2 Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at <www.killinghope.org> Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.
The most striking thing about Palin is that she could represent the highest political position that any redneck has reached in (modern?) American political history. White trash constitutes the lowest caste in the American caste system, lower than even blacks or Hispanics. In fact, necks are so low on the totem pole – perhaps not as low on the totem pole as natives! – that they don’t even expect to have any political power, which puts them at an even lower point of political consciousness than the lowest castes in places like Japan or India. The Republicans look to them for votes and cannon fodder, but not political leaders. In fact, most high-level Republicans had probably never seen a real neck before, and looked upon this gift from the Christian Zionists with a mixture of bemusement, curiosity, and horror. They’d seen black people before, and Hispanics are necessary to mow the lawns at the Palm Beach or Scottsdale residences, but where would bi-coastal big-city dwellers who vacation at European ski resorts and the Caribbean ever see a neck? It is amusing in a year where Americans are congratulating themselves on a black Presidential nominee that an even larger group of politically invisible people finally enters American politics. Necks are such an invisible caste that nobody even recognizes them as a caste.
The Democratic and Republican convention extravaganzas are stage-managed down to the tiniest detail, but the real influence is bought and sold behind the scenes. Elizabeth Schulte explains how corporate cash pays for the parties’ parties.
In the days before the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama told a crowd at a barbecue in Eau Claire, Wis., what image of him he’d like people to take away from the Denver convention: “He’s sort of like us. He comes from a middle-class background, went to school on scholarships. He and his wife had to figure out child care and how to start a college fund for their kids.”
Yeah, the Democrats attending the convention in Denver are lot like you and me–that is, if you’re used to rubbing elbows with the rich and famous at lavish parties and sleeping at the Ritz-Carlton, with a 6,800-square-foot spa.
The Democrats’ convention Web site brags that the party is making history, with the “first convention since 1960, when President John F. Kennedy moved his acceptance speech to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, to open its doors to more than 75,000 people from across the country, as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for President of the United States at Invesco Field at Mile High. In the first 48 hours after the invitation was issued, more than 80,000 Coloradans requested community credentials for Senator Obama’s speech.”
But what they don’t mention is that not all attendees are created–or will be treated–equally. During Obama’s Invesco Field speech, reported the New York Times, “most supporters will be sitting under the open night sky. But a group of lobbyists and corporate executives will watch the event from plush skyboxes, with catered food and a flowing bar, and a price tag of up to $1 million.”
Skybox attendees–which include representatives from Quest, Comcast and Xcel Energy and Tom Golisano, a New York Republican who donated $1 million–will also be able to avoid long security lines, since they have a separate entrance from “the community” and a private elevator to get them to their seats.
It’s rumored that Oprah Winfrey, one of the wealthiest people in the world, was so excited to attend the convention that she rented a house for the week–to the tune of $50,000, more than many workers make in a year.
Before the convention, the Democrats made sure the media were rewarded for their compliance and were wined, dined and entertained like spoiled children–at the Elitch Gardens Amusement Park.
If excess is the unstated theme of the Democratic convention, there’s more of the same at the Republican National Convention a few days later in St. Paul, Minn.
McCain and the Republicans will also try to peddle their “regular folks” image at their convention–much the same as George W. Bush, the straight-talking, no-nonsense portrait of a prep-school-then-Yale-graduate-turned-simple-rancher, did four and eight years ago.
While the GOP will be upstaged by the star power of the Democrats–Kanye West vs. Styx, George Clooney vs. Dennis Miller, you be the judge–the corporate cash will flow like champagne, or beer in deference to the “regular folks.”
Because so many of the people on the political left fear that John McCain will become the next president, they have allowed themselves to see the very moderate democratic candidate, Barach Obama, as a desirable alternative to the decidedly ghoulish McCain, rather than supporting a genuine progressive like Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney, or Ralph Nader. They thus perceive Obama to be far more progressive than he really is. Such comparisons lead us down a dichotomous pathway that assures a continuous drift to the right.
Each election cycle the people on the left find themselves out-flanked by those on the right by allowing them to frame the debate and to define who we are. So each election we end up supporting a very moderate candidate rather than a truly progressive one. Because all of the mainstream candidates are intensively influenced by corporate lobbyists and the electoral system is owned by capital, democracy has remained as elusive as capturing the ghost of a saint with a piece of duct tape.
According to Ambrose I. Lane Sr., host of Pacifica radio’s “We Ourselves,” John McCain has the third most conservative voting record of anyone in the senate. Running an extremist from the opposite end of the political spectrum forces the democratic candidate further to the right than he or she already is. So when progressives fall into this trap, as they so often do, it is a win-win for the corporate lobbyists pulling the strings behind the curtain. They end up supporting a candidate they think can compete against extremists rather than one who actually represents their values. If you have to become like your opponent in order to defeat them, what can you honesty say has been won?
Progressives cannot gain ground by ceding their ideology to their conservative opponents in order to gain office. Without having a viable candidate coming from the far left of the Democratic Party, progressives cannot reasonably expect to push the debate back toward the political center, much less to the left of center. You can make a good case, however, that the democratic leadership under Howard Dean has no real desire to move to the left or to represent traditional progressive values. It likes the status quo just fine; a position that has served its corporate funders well.
Because it has been co-opted by corporate lobbyists—who always hedge their bets—the Democratic Party no longer houses a genuine left-wing faction that can effectively compete for votes in a way that emulates the success of the far right. Because right-wing extremism and corporate fascism are portrayed in the corporate media as reasonable centrist positions beneficial to the people—that is how they are perceived by those who receive their political education from those sources. Thus extremism packaged as democracy is widely considered to be the norm when, in fact, it is not; it is fanaticism couched as something much more benign or beneficial, even if it is a poison pill. Yet it is this extremism that undermines the interests of the nation’s working class people and keeps them subservient to corporate fascism. Voting for meaningful change is like running on a treadmill and expecting to actually go somewhere.
The problem is that capital, rather than informed citizens interested in democracy, is in control of the electoral process. Capital furthers the interest of capital, rather than the interest of the people, and this creates an irreconcilable conflict with genuine human interests. So we end up with a sociopolitical system that is not only fundamentally unjust; it is also predatory and cannibalistic. It consumes the very people who feed it and give it the appearance of legitimacy: the great unwashed working class.
Capitalism flourishes, for a short time, at least, by socializing costs and by privatizing profits and this concentrates and centralizes power into the hands of a select few. Its real purpose is not to serve people; it is to exploit them. Capitalism isn’t even a natural system; it is a purely human construct that has no basis in nature. It is a synthetic system and, as we have seen through chemistry, synthetic systems tend to become mutagens, and thus promote cancer.
Due in part to their extreme political naiveté and to delusional thinking, too many people have accepted corporate fascism as a centrist or “normal” position. Thus they have unwittingly allowed predatory and cannibalistic forces—unregulated markets—to determine the fate of the nation and its people. Neoconservatives and neoliberals, alike, have defined the free market as an unregulated market, which has become their concept of democracy. The so called free market is not under the control of human beings in any meaningful sense, and it does not respond to human needs. Like a creation of Frankenstein, it is a man-made monster that has escaped from the laboratory and is wreaking havoc across the countryside, menacing everyone and everything in its gargantuan steel-booted path.
By themselves, markets are not necessarily a bad thing. Certainly people need commerce and trade. However, it is when markets are deregulated—as required by the adherents of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics—that they turn upon people and become predatory, undemocratic, and cannibalistic. When markets are given more power and more rights than people, people will cede not only their power to them, but also their humanity. This is how markets have become all-powerful entities that have no soul or conscience and are answerable to no one: monstrosities in every sense of the word.
I would argue, however, that the object of commerce and trade should be to serve people and to benefit the whole of society, rather than to generate enormous profits for the benefit of a select few. Commerce without democracy cannot help us toward a free and democratic society; it can only undermine our every effort at genuine democratization.
Either you work for the public interest or you work for self-interest. It is this assertion that finally brings us back to our starting point—the electoral process. Because the process is under the control of capital rather than working class people, it undermines the democratic process and substitutes something else in its place. That process has led us to where we are and it can never take us back to where we started from. Nor can it ever lead us to genuine democracy or to justice. It can only bear the fruit of its own seeds; it can only provide us with more of what it has already produced.
If we the people are serious about real democratic government, we must work for it outside of the electoral process, as well as from within. We must organize a revolutionary force so powerful that it cannot be ignored or denied. We must institute effective and prolonged economic boycotts. We must organize work slow-downs, work stoppages, and general strikes in order to make corrupt government feel our pain. We must create labor unions that genuinely fight for worker’s rights while simultaneously transitioning the country away from an exploitive and self-destructive capital economy toward a people-oriented economy based upon need, rather than privatized profit subsidized by public funds. These are the means to creating a democratic workplace and bringing malignant capitalism to a grinding halt. The electoral process does not provide the tools for revolution; it subverts the process and only delays the inevitable.
While Barach Obama has run for the presidency on the premise of change, his ideology is fundamentally the same as the presidents who came before him: the economic theories of Milton Friedman and the belief in corporate deregulation; profits before people. Obama’s economic advisers subscribe to the same economic theorem that brought us the trickle down economics of Ronald Reagan and his disastrous foreign policy. Obama’s foreign policy advisers subscribe to the same philosophy that brought us the invasion of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine; every one of them a war-mongering imperialist with close ties to the military industrial complex with its nexus of profiteering. His energy policy team has great faith in clean coal and safe nuclear energy, neither of which exists.
Because the Obama team is anything but revolutionary, it is unreasonable to expect them to produce polices significantly different than the ones that are already in play. We saw this with Bill Clinton who campaigned on promises to do one thing but, once elected, did another. Clinton won office by being more right-wing than his republican opponent. That was no victory for progressives. How could it be?
This is not to say that Barach Obama is a bad person in any way. Certainly, he is an intelligent man of reasonably good character and a fine orator, but that does not qualify him as representative of the people or the democracy they so desperately need. Is he a better choice than John McCain? Without doubt he is. But then, so is almost anyone else. A toadstool would be a better choice than McCain. We must remember that Obama has been groomed to become president some day and that grooming was provided by special interests whose unstated purpose is to undermine genuine democracy by substituting an imposter in its place. They are convinced that the American people won’t know the difference. So don’t expect any significant changes under Obama, despite all of the campaign rhetoric to the contrary.
The presence of McCain makes the very moderate Obama an appealing alternative and that assures victory for the status quo. It frightens progressive voters away from supporting real progressives like Dennis Kucinich or Cynthia McKinney. Barach Obama was the real choice of the established orthodoxy all along. The marketing strategists have used John McCain to funnel the votes toward Obama and away from genuine progressives. That is where the real fight was. You can call it voting in the absence of real choice because that is precisely what it is. The same policies that have been in play for decades will continue on and we will keep getting a similar result.
Obama’s recent endorsement of warrantless wire-tapping is not only evidence of his belonging to the established orthodoxy; it directly connects him to the draconian policies of the Bush regime and to those of Senator McCain. No true progressive would want to be associated with the unlawful and unjustified surveillance of law-abiding citizens. This is a red flag that must not be ignored.
This is why the country continues to quietly drift further to the right: there is no real choice in elections and we continue to behave as if there are. It is the capitalist system that is at fault, not the candidates themselves who play the game according to the dictum of its inventors. They, too, as despicable as some of them are, are its unwitting victims.
What hope is there for genuine progressives in a game that is rigged? If we are ever to become responsible citizens, we must learn how to separate the contents of the box from the fancy packaging. The same old ideology, regardless of who espouses it, will not lead to meaningful change; nor will pursing the same old methods. If we are going to be satisfied with that, then we can continue to be pawns in a rich man’s game and accept the results of the game without complaint. If we expect better, then we must begin by demanding better of ourselves by recognizing what is being done in our name and doing something about it. But first we must awaken from our stupor and come to the realization that democracy means direct citizen action.