Sunday, October 28, 2012

False Savior: Barack Obama (7)


-----Barack Obama, re-election campaign theme.

"How can I go forward when I don't know which way I'm facing?"

-----John Lennon

"You argue that the son of a single-working mom can't be an elitist. But it's not where you start in life; it's where you end up. After a prestigious prep school, Colombia, and Harvard, you've ended up with the values of Cambridge, San Francisco, and Hyde Park. So you're doing badly in Scranton, Youngstown, and Erie, where ordinary Americans live."

-----Karl Rove, letter to Obama, May 2008

Among Obama's myriad false claims are that the killing of Osama bin Laden took place during a "fire fight," when in fact he had ordered the shooting of an unarmed man, a cowardly feat of which he is greatly proud. The killing and sodomization of Libyan leader Moamar Qaddafi is also an Obama "triumph," one that has predictably left Libya at the mercy of brutal Islamic factions, as well as U.S. diplomatic personnel, recently murdered in Benghazi. For the record, Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted in advance that a "no-fly zone over Libya would be an 'act of war.'" So the war was yet another act of U.S. aggression, not the "humanitarian intervention" it was sold to the U.S. public as being.

Meanwhile, Obama did not condemn the repression and government killings of protesters in Bahrain using U.S.-made tanks and weapons, because that is where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed. Nor did he issue a critical word about Yemen, a close U.S. ally that kills and wounds protesters while the U.S. president looks on impotently.

When the "Arab Spring" emerged, offering hope of a sliver of democracy for long-suffering peoples in North Africa and the Middle East, the Obama administration moved to strangle it. President Obama never criticized the 30 years of U.S. support for Hosni Mubarak, nor Mubarak's collaboration with Israel, which was strongly opposed by the majority of Egyptians. This collaboration was sustained by dictatorship and attendant state terror, including torture, both given economic support courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Somehow, this did not qualify as an occasion for delivering "change you can believe in."

Economist Edward S. Herman aptly summarizes Obama's continuation of George W. Bush's "war on terror": "Obama has extended and deepened the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, greatly enlarged the use of drones for use in war and to fight terror (i.e., terrorize) across the globe, and he has fought, and continues to fight, de facto wars in Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. . . . Obama has enlarged AFRICOM and advanced the U.S. military penetration into Africa. He regularly assails and threatens Iran and he continues the encircling and threatening of Russia and China . . ."

Perhaps Obama looks better on domestic policy? Not really. Obama's deficit commission was what initially established the suicidal dogma that a minimum of $4 trillion must be cut from the U.S. federal debt, (but not by eliminating empire-building and the grotesquely wasteful private medical system, the twin drivers of deficit spending). This was the number proposed by Obama last February 2011 in his annual budget. Huge cuts from Medicare-Medicaid were later agreed to in the August 2011 budget deal, and more cuts are on the way. Obama and Biden have consistently offered hundred of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, without asking for a single Republican concession in return. This severe austerity can't help but wreak havoc on ordinary Americans, and Obama well knows it. But he has made a career of sticking it to ordinary people in order to help wealthy people who already have more money than they are willing to productively invest. Meanwhile, U.S. annual spending on war is between $900 billion and one trillion dollars, every penny allegedly helping to "keep the American people safe." Sure.

For the record, the causes of U.S. deficits and cumulative debt are (1) wars and runaway military spending; (2) the Bush tax cuts, extended by Obama (80 percent of which benefited wealthy investors at a cost to the federal government of $200 to $270 billion a year); (3) the bailouts of banks and corporations; (4) the fiscal stimulus packages of both Bush and Obama - neither of which produced economic recovery; (4) the four years of keeping 25 million American workers unemployed; (5) price gouging by health insurance and service providers.

Meanwhile, profit margins are at an 80-year high, while real earnings continue to fall for 90 million workers and middle class households.

Obama's January 2011 State of the Union address promised a five year freeze in domestic spending (federal), which is flatly incompatible with his promises to improve education and help rebuild a decaying infrastructure. His support for massive military spending and permanent war prevents resources from being delivered to a crisis-ridden civil society, even as he talks hypocritically of "solidarity." He has repeatedly failed to address the massive unemployment, housing, and insecurity problems of millions of Americans, the growth of inequality, and the further consolidation of the "too big to fail" banks. He expressed great pride in keeping the U.S. "competitive," which means cheap labor, no benefits, and increasing privatization of education. He has praised his accomplishments in extending "free trade" agreements to Latin America and South Korea, with their attendant exploitation of the poor.

Meanwhile the big business critique of Obama is that he has gone "too far," straying from the proven principles of free enterprise with major tax increases, massive deficits, and "job-destroying regulation." The solution for them is capital flight to force down workers' wages still further and eliminate all social democratic protections. Obama is their stealth agent, not the lesser evil, but the more effective evil than Mitt Romney, who will have liberals on guard against budget austerity if he wins the elections, whereas Obama gets a free pass on the issue.

But surely Obama is good for the environment? Not hardly. Six months before the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, Obama and his secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar colluded with the oil behemoths to permit exactly the kind of drilling that produced the catastrophe. And when Japan's triple-meltdown occurred at Fukushima, Obama went off to Chile to promote an expansion of nuclear power.

Chile is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world and had recently suffered a massive earthquake, 8.8 on the Richter scale.

Forget Obama. Vote for the Green Party.

Sources: (Note: these sources have been drawn on to complete all the "False Savior" blog posts related to President Obama).

Grossman, Jerome, "Over There, Over There," Z Magazine, January, 2010

Burbach, Roger, "Honduran Coup Tries to Halt Advance of Latin American Left," Z Magazine, September 2009

Chomsky, Noam, "Turning Point? - Analyzing the Obama-Netanyahu-Abbas meetings in May 2009," Z Magazine, July/August 2009

Conteris, Andres Thomas, "From Coup-lite to Truth-lite: U.S. Policy in Honduras," Z Magazine, February 2010

Petras, James, "The Obama Doctrine," Z Magazine, January 2012

Davies, Nicholas, "The Victory of Popular Resistance In Occupied Iraq," Z Magazine, January 2012

Davies, Nicholas, "Investing In Weapons, War, and Obama," Z Magazine, May 2012

South, Dennis, "Barack Obama: The Murderer-in-chief," Mathaba News, February 11, 2012

McClellan, Phillip, "The Obama Syndrome - Surrender at Home, War Abroad," Z Magazine book review, January 2011

Ramzy Baroud, "Iraq War Declared Over, but War Party Persists, Z Magazine, December 2011

Larson, Rob, "Obama's Ironic Public," Z Magazine, April 2010

Donohoe, Martin, "Combating Corporate Control," Z Magazine, September 2009

Strauss, George H. "Bamboozled Nation and the Power Elite," Z Magazine, July/August 2009

Quigley, Bill, "Criminalization of Dissent and Militarization of the Police," Z Magazine, January 2012

Rasmus, Jack, "Economis Crisis in 2010 and Beyond," Z Magazine, January 2010

Rasmus, Jack, "The Real Causes of Deficits and the Debt," Z Magazine, December 2011

Rasmus, Jack, "Obama's Jobs Proposal," October 2011, Z Magazine

Rasmus, Jack, "Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression?" Z Magazine, March 2010

Rasmus, Jack, "Emerging Labor Responses to the Economic Crisis," Z Magazine, September 2011

Rasmus, Jack, "Double Dip Recession On the Horizon," Z Magazine, July/August 2011

Rasmus, Jack, "Obama's Horns Predictions 2011," Z Magazine, January 2011

Rasmus, Jack, "Obama's Failing Recovery," Z Magazine, November 2010

Rasmus, Jack, "Financial Fragility, One Year Later," Z Magazine November 2009

Rasmus, Jack, "An Economic Crisis Balance Sheet," Z Magazine, July/August 2010

Rasmus, Jack, "The Greek Debt Crisis As Harbinger of Things to Come," Z Magazine, April 2012

Rasmus, Jack, "Obama's Busted Bank Bailout," Z Magazine, April 2009

Herman, Edward S., "Internal Refugees and the War System," December 2011, Z Magazine

Herman, Edward S. "Toward a Homeland 'Favorable Climate of Investment'" Z Magazine, March 2011

Herman, Edward S., "Bailouts and Sellouts," Z Magazine, January 2009

Herman, Edward S., "Obama and the Steady Drift to the Right," Z Magazine, March 2010

Herman, Edward S. "Bombing for Ethnic Cleansing and Hegemony Rights," Z Magazine, April 2012

Dimaggio, Anthony, "The Neo-Cons Never Left: Obama War Crimes in Afghanistan and Around the World," ZNET, January 14, 2012

Petras, James "Multi-Billion-Dollar Terrorists and the Disappearing Middle Class," Z Magazine, September 2011

Fantina, Robert, "What Could Have Been: Lost Opportunities of Barack Obama," Counterpunch, September 22, 2011

Lindorff, Dave "Same Crimes, Same Misdemeanors: The Case For Impeachment of Barack Obama," Counterpunch Weekend Edition, April 2-4, 2010

McCloskey, Stephen, "Palestine at the Crossroads," Z Magazine, March 2010

Street, Paul, "The End of the Road - Obama Should Quit," Counterpunch Weekend Edition, September 23-25, 2011

Street, Paul, "Obama's Violin," Z Magazine, May 2009

Street, Paul, "The Enemy At Home," Z Magazine, March 2010

Street, Paul, "Corporate-Managed Democracy," Z Magazine, September 2009

Street, Paul, "The Great Obama Auto Bailout," Z Magazine, April 2012.

Bond-Graham, Darwin, "Succeeding Where Bush Failed - The Obama Administration's Nuclear Weapon Surge," Counterpunch Newsletter, March 29, 2012

Macaray, David, "Obama and Labor: Friends Without Benefits," Counterpunch Newsletter, Vol. 18, November 16-November 30, 2011

Valentine, Douglas, "Provincial Reconstruction Teams," Z Magazine, February 2010

Bybee, Roger, "The Jobs Crisis & the Wall Street Occupation," Z Magazine, November 2011

Bybee, Roger, "Apocalypse Now in the Industrial Midwest," Z Magazine, December 2009

Bybee, Roger, "Affordable Care?"; Z Magazine November 2009

Bybee, Roger, "Lessons from the Big Auto Bailout," Z Magazine, April 2009

Bybee, Roger, "Obama Discovers Inequality," Z Magazine, March 2012

Zeese, Kevin, "Health Care: What Did We Get? Where Do We Go From Here?" Z Magazine, May 2010

Nagel, Fred, "The Long Term Assault on Civil Liberties in America," Z Magazine, June 2011

Deutsch, Michael "Ominous Expansion of 'Anti-Terrorism' Law," Z Magazine, February 2011

Riley, Rebecca, "Barack Obama's Nuclear Rhetoric," Z Magazine, June 2020.

Flowers, Margaret, "Misguided Plans for Medicare and Medicaid," Z Magazine, June 2011

Bix, Herbert P., "What the Past Teaches About U.S. Democracy," Z Magazine, July/August 2010

Nall, Jeff, "Obama's Betrayal of Peace," Z Magazine, January 2010

Brunwasser, Joan, "Single Payer/Medicare For All - An interview with Margaret Flowers," Z Magazine, March 2011

St. Clair, Jeffrey, "The Politics of Make Believe - Barack Obama Changeling," Counterpunch, July 27, 2011

Cockburn, Alexander, Counterpunch Diary, Weekend Edition, April 6-8, 2012

Shapiro, Peter, "Mew Bill Does Not Fix the Health Care System," Z Magazine, June 2010

Shoup, Laurence H., "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Responds To The Crisis of Capitalism," Z Magazine, March 2011

Shoup, Laurence H., "Finance Capitalists, the CFR, and the Obama Administration," Z Magazine January 2010


Chomsky, Noam, "Hopes and Prospects," (Haymarket, 2010)

Chomsky, Noam, "Making the Future - Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance," (City Lights, 2012)

Parenti, Michael, "The Face of Imperialism," (Paradigm, 2011)

Street, Paul, "Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics," (Paradigm, 2009)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ravages Of Legalized Pot?

"Consumers are feeling wealthier, so they are still out there spending."
JOSHUA DENNERLEIN, an economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, on recent gains in the American economy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vote The Greater Good, Not The Lesser Evil

“…ever more elections , and ever less democracy…”
                                 Michael K. Smith 

We are nearing the end of the billion dollar assault on consciousness that protects corporate power from the threat of democracy. It’s called the presidential race, or – in hysterical-get-out-the-vote fashion – the most important election since The Creation, or 911, or the last election. If we don’t support the corporate Republican, radical Muslims, socialists , gay illegal immigrants and godless abortion  fiends will destroy us all. On the other hand, if we do not re-elect the  corporate Democrat, Christian fanatics will murder women, children, gays, blacks, Latinos, and all other minorities except evangelical whites, while invading other nations not already under American attack.

Of course, both corporate flunkies  will bipartisanly continue passionately sucking up to Israel and threatening mass murder of Iranians.

All but totally obliterated in the advertising blitz are alternative candidates offering programs that are pro-democracy by being anti-corporate. The electoral system makes it incredibly difficult for so-called minority parties and candidates to ever reach the national ballot, let alone national consciousness. But voters able to break through the plastic curtain and find people like Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson will be delighted to hear and see reflections of themselves and real hope of a better future for America.

In fact, a 5% vote for Jill Stein and the Green party would assure millions of dollars in public funds to help create a real alternative electoral voice for the future. That’s why she was locked out of national debates and even locked up by the police  to assure her silence. If that had happened in Iran, shrieks of horror would reverberate across the land. Here, it got less attention than soccer scores from Tibet.

No matter which corporado wins a minority vote , things will get worse for some and better for others because that is the nature of the system. It is bringing even greater profits to less and less people while inflicting greater loss on more and more people. That’s the way it has always worked and will continue to work until we change it, hopefully before it destroys us all in a final cataclysmic achievement of full, negative equality.

Everything that happens in this economy is to create profit for a minority private sector first and benefit a majority public second, if at all. Birth, death and all the stuff in between are unnaturally treated as commodities , purchased, rented and leased as units of marketable goods. Nature works in a non-profit fashion but capital has had our earth mother locked in a polluted senior facility for generations. She seems to be growing angrier at her treatment and might lash out in a fury we can’t anticipate if we don’t soon change our behavior towards her  family - humanity - and end worshipping a patriarchal dictatorship posing as democracy and destroying our world with its profit and loss perversion.

A form of paternalistic capitalism has  had enough crumbs slipping off the table of wealth to afford many among what were once working people to become middle class and buy lots of consumer goods. With identity individualism we’ve also established the right for some members of alleged minorities to act as complicit in all of this as any other group. This irrational equality sees to it that certain privileged women can profit and be as successful, obnoxious and murderous as men, that  certain privileged “people of color” can profit and enjoy the benefits of abuse of less privileged people of color, or no color , and married homosexual couples can profit and join with married heterosexual couples to invest in the same corporate markets that all other people - with enough money – are free to invest in and make even more money. Until the next bubble bursts and the market crashes and all become members of  the “loss” majority.

Some have missed out on getting privileged members of their groups to rise in the  profit system food chain and feed on other losers rather than being fed to them. For example, not one Arab-American Lesbian HIV-positive Rosicrucian can be found on any corporate board, or managing a professional sport, or fire bombing a suspected drug house in america or a terrorist house in a foreign country. But as long as corporate propaganda works, we may soon have a token member of that group “affirmed” to assure that another reduced segment of humans is appeased and doesn’t notice the collective destruction of our race by this forced division into lesser minorities.

Bringing a few of us onto the profit side of our consumer ghetto while leaving most confined to the loss neighborhood has worked so far, from the extremes of gated-to-keep-people-out communities to gated-to-keep-people-in prisons. All remain divided minorities with relatively little to absolutely no power so that the rich minority with almost  all the power can keep it, and thereby maintain the process that shows signs of a global breakdown menacing all humanity.

A system close to collapse back in the 1930s was saved by introducing a measure of social democracy called the New Deal. This got profiteer’s at the top to give up a little bit of their wealth to trickle down on the great mass of working people so that they might enjoy a better material condition and not rebel against capital. It worked for a generation which saw workers transformed into a middle class in a culture that introduced consumption and wanton waste for the masses in order to create incredible wealth for the few. That began to change in the 1970s when capital reverted to its traditional need to accumulate more by giving people less. Its royal divinity still masquerades as  democracy for people who might as well watch tv as bother to vote, since they have far more choice on their multi-channel remotes than on their bi-partisan ballots.

Hopefully, more citizens will tire of being fooled by a voting process which reduces us to acting like a nation of  voting fools. This election can be a turning point but only if we reject the lesser evil choice and vote for what we want, need and deserve: A future of real hope based on a political voice that will ultimately represent far more of the 99% along with those in the lower 1% who reject their masters and join with their fellow citizens.

Vote for Jill Stein and The Green Party and give yourself, and everyone else, a chance for that future.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Good News Cheers Americans

The Economy
As millions of unemployed Americans gave up looking for jobs that don't exist, the U.S. unemployment rate (counting only those "actively seeking jobs") dipped below eight percent in September, according to the latest objective survey by J. Paul Greedy and Associates, a highly respected polling agency. "It's a reminder we're moving forward," commented President Obama. "Who really needs income, anyway?" added unemployed welder Steve Pipes, now out of work for three years. "I'm thinking of becoming a politician, so I can tell everyone 'there's no free lunch,' while I get a lavish lifestyle for free."

Electoral Politics
After two high profile debates, the Democratic and Republican challengers will change formats in the final two contests, which will be conducted wordlessly. Questions will be posed by victims of severe brain damage, a requirement that is not expected to disqualify leading American journalists, but the candidates will not be allowed to respond verbally. Instead of words, the candidates will exchange "body language" - grimaces, laughs, frowns, wagging fingers, stuck-out tongues, spit, guffaws, and farts. "It's the best way to avoid gaffes, said Emily Toast of the League of Clueless Voters. "It's the highest form of politics," said Vice-President Joe Biden.

Foreign Policy
(1) U.S. sanctions on Iran's oil exports and banking industry are reducing the Iranian people to starvation. President Obama embraced the news as "encouraging," though cautioned against over-optimism in the humanitarian campaign to "starve them into regime change." Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed out at Obama's "hostility to Israel," asking why the Jewish state still lacked U.S. authorization to start World War III. "Giving carte-blanche to Israel is the highest national security interest the U.S. has," said Romney. "As a constitutional law scholar, the president ought to know that."

(2) Controversy continued over the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton characterized the murderous assault as "completely unforeseeable," adding that "we put our Al Qaeda allies in power to do good, not evil." U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice claimed that the U.S. was not at liberty to send troops to protect its diplomats, because "conquered countries deserve to have their sovereignty respected."

"Mitt Romney is not a soulless ideologue, but a warm, cuddly man who really cares about people," said GOP spokesperson Dee Storshun. "He gives to charity every time he goes to the bathroom or offshores another thousand American jobs, whichever occurs more frequently."

For the first time ever, dogs will be allowed to vote in this year's elections. The election date will be moved forward a week to coincide with Halloween, so pets can be seen at the polls in their annual Halloween costumes. Americans are slated to spend $50 billion outfitting their pets for this year's festivities, which is expected to enhance the carnival-like atmosphere so essential to democracy. Dogs are said to be leaning towards voting for Romney in view of his pro-canine stance on the economy, which he insists "is going to the dogs."

Brain Dead Politics Continues on Illegal Immigration

"They come to be part of the American Dream." This liberal "analysis" about the presence of millions of illegal immigrants in our midst is an irritating way to defend such immigrants against the constant assaults on their human rights carried out by self-righteous American nationalists who are clearly clueless about the roots of the problem. Rather than provide clarifying context, liberals prefer to call their opponents "racist" (which they sometimes are, but usually not), which leaves the social and economic roots of illegal immigration unexplained.

In any event, legitimizing appeals to the American Dream are particularly foolish, as it is now fading very quickly. For the last two generations it has been sustained by easy credit and vast expansion of female labor in the paid labor market, both of which have reached their limit. Meanwhile, the increased wealth from productivity gains are channeled almost exclusively to the top of the economic pyramid, to the kind of people whose cynical speculation crashed the economy into disaster in 2008, and from which we still have not recovered four years later. So as Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told us 33 years ago, "The standard of living of the average American has to decline." Given that this is so, how cheerfully can we be expected to greet the news that millions of desperate immigrants are here to illegally enjoy the dream that has been increasingly placed beyond the reach of millions of legal American citizens?

Fortunately, another world is possible, and that premise is now giving rise to a Latin American Dream that seeks to put an economic floor beneath the poor that will make it unnecessary for them to uproot themselves and seek employment thousands of miles away in the United States. It is quite revealing that the people who are most vociferous in condemning "illegal aliens" do nothing to support this movement to the South, so intent are they on punishing the victims of savage economic austerity rather than solving the problem they say they want solved. Sheer hypocrisy.

But the liberals don't offer anything much better. They prefer to exploit our emotions in relation to the admittedly tragic consequences of ripping families apart to deport "illegals," rather than challenge the enormous concentrations of private wealth that induce millions of people to migrate to the developed countries in the first place. This leaves them open to the charge of opposing legality itself, an obviously untenable position.

Until we challenge capital, especially its grotesquely lopsided distribution and supposed right to deny hundreds of millions of people access to a dignified existence, mass illegal immigration will continue all over the world.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Legalienate Poll Results

Legalienate’s polling division conducted a nation wide phone survey after both corporate party debates and arrived at some surprising results. While several people were experiencing multiple orgasms every time their favorite spoke, the great majority seemed to feel that all four candidates would have done better on American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance, which were seen as having intellectually superior judges and juries. Following are some thoughts from the poll responders.

Julius of Detroit:
 I thought the white guy with the Vaseline head was ignorant and the other white guy with the tan was sleeping most of the time. I’d vote for Malcolm if he was alive.

Mary of Hollywood:
 I think Bernie Madoff had more economic knowledge than either the presidential or vice presidential candidates. I like the job Biden’s dentist did. His teeth looked great whenever he shut up and just smiled.

Delma of Schenectady:
 Obama is the son of god. I believe he was sent to redeem us. Will I be paid for this call?

Waldo of Somewhere in Idaho:
 If they try to take away my guns I will kill all four of them. Is this being taped?

Samantha of Palm Springs:
 Can you get me a drink? I love Obama. He is such a great speaker. Can you send me a drink?

Tony of Trenton:
 I thought the guy with the suit was pretty good but the other guys sounded stupid. They don’t know nuthin about nuthin. Obama is a communist and the other one is a moron. This country went down the tubes after Reagan left.

Wilford of Cambridge:
There was a certain tone of condescension I detected on the part of the president who seemed to take naps while Romney spoke and the vice president was very rude to Ryan, often looking at him as though he were a nut case. I love our democratic system and believe implicitly in the wisdom of the rich people who own it. Will there be snacks after this?

Willa of Boston:
I didn’t watch any of the debates. I have more important things to do. Have to feed the dog, pick my nose, watch some good tv, you know stuff like that. I will probably vote since I consider it a civic duty. This is a democracy and we all are responsible for acting like good citizens. But that doesn’t mean I have to watch stupid debates. I’ll just enter the voting booth, pick my nose, and then pick a candidate the way I always do. If the booger sticks, that’s my vote. God bless america

Leopold of Chicago:
All the candidates looked and sounded really good to me. It’s difficult to make a choice among such well versed and articulate men, all of them so bright and so willing to serve the people. I’ll have a hard time. Almost like shopping for clothes, cars, pet foods or shampoo but with less choices, so maybe it will be easier than I think.

Elizabeth of Santa Monica:
I was insulted by all of them. Their egoism and ignorance was embarrassing. Just thinking about them makes me want to puke. I’d vote for the Three Stooges before any of these clowns. And I mean no disrespect to the Three Stooges, who were very talented men.

Legalienate interviewed Professor Dingus McNobel of the Center for the Study of Centers, a well known expert on polling and frequent analyst of what people really mean when they say what they think they mean until someone who really understands the meaning of meaning can interpret what they really say.

He had this to say about what all this meant. Or might mean. Or could mean.

“ Clearly there is a serious lack of clarity among debate viewers, as among Americans in general. The widespread notion and belief in our democratic system is balanced by an equally widespread notion that we are all morons, but I believe such a sweeping generalization merely simplifies a deep and penetrating social problem that can assure employment to analysts, if few others, for quite some time to come.

In short, or long as the case may be, the nation is confused and misdirected into accepting widely disparate perspectives on what denotes politics, democracy and good entertainment, as can be seen by the curious comments of the person who thought the candidate should be on Americans Idle, a clear reference to our unemployment problem but also, and conversely, a view of the physical as opposed to mental attributes of these candidates. And when we consider the framing of these debates…”

At this point our communication satellites signal was lost.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Supremely Political Court

Chief Justice John Roberts's surprise decision to support "Obamacare" has occasioned much ridiculous prattle about its supposed underlying motive: to preserve the Supreme Court's credibility as a nonpartisan body. As though it had ever had such a thing. In point of fact, what political scientist Michael Parenti appropriately refers to as "The Supremely Political Court" (see his superb, "Democracy For The Few," now in its ninth edition), has always been highly partisan on behalf of the wealthy and against the working class.

Many of the early Supreme Court justices, for example, including John Marshall, were slaveholders, and repeatedly went along with the legal fiction that black people were simply farm animals. Right up until the Civil War they reasoned that, whether slave or free, blacks were a "subordinate and inferior class of beings" without constitutional rights, and that Congress had no power to exclude slave masters and their chattel from the territories. Meanwhile, the Court did not challenge the Constitution in defining slaves as three-fifths human for the purpose of enhancing their masters' voting power. For sheer cynicism, it's difficult to improve on that.

The "non-partisan" Court has also seen fit to give away huge portions of the country to private speculators, subsidize private industry in direct violation of supposed "free market" requirements, set up commissions that fixed prices and interest rates for banks and manufacturers, dispatch the Marines to secure corporate interests abroad, imprison dissenters who denounced war and capitalism, deport immigrant political organizers without a trial, and use the United States Army to shoot down workers in the streets. Ideological differences between Democrats and Republicans did nothing to prevent any of this.

On the other hand, when dissenting popular movements got strong enough to make the federal or state governments limit the length of the working day, establish a minimum wage and workplace safety standards, guarantee the safety of consumer products, protect and preserve collective bargaining rights, then the Supreme Court did an about face and said the U.S. is a government of limited powers that has no constitutional authority to tamper with property rights and the "free market" by denying "substantive due process" and "freedom of contract." "Substantive due process" is a highly partisan invention that exists nowhere in the Constitution. It has permitted the court to declare laws unconstitutional if and when they interfere with the "right" of corporations and wealthy investors to accumulate capital and wield the power that comes with it. This effectively nullifies democracy, since any effort to promote the general welfare on behalf of the large majority of the population that works for a living can and is construed as an illegitimate denial of property rights and substantive due process. [And the Court regularly overlooks the fact that rights inhere in persons, not property.]

Incredibly, the Court has interpreted the 14th Amendment, passed to establish citizenship for ex-slaves, as giving the rights of personhood to corporations, as though the immense, decades-long struggle of abolitionists to rid the country of the detested practice of slavery had been motivated by a "humanitarian" desire to guarantee business conglomerates the freedom to re-invent slavery by other means. In any event, by 1920, the legal fiction of corporate personhood had struck down hundreds of labor laws that had been approved by state legislatures to ease the brutal conditions workers of that era were forced to endure. Between 1880 and 1931 the courts issued more than 1800 injunctions against labor strikes. Partisan? You bet.

When Congress banned child labor, the Court ruled it an unconstitutional usurpation of states rights under the Tenth Amendment, which says: "The Powers not delegated to the United States by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people." On the other hand, when the states passed social welfare laws, the Court found them a violation of "substantive due process" under the 14th Amendment. In short, the Tenth Amendment has been used to suppress efforts to promote the general welfare initiated under the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment has been used to stop progressive reform under the Tenth Amendment.

It's hard to get more partisan than that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Democracy = People, Not Money

“For at the very delivery of their money, they immediately ask it back, taking it up at the same moment they lay it down; and they let out that again to interest which they take for the use of what they have before lent.”

He was  describing the money lenders of his day, which was about 100 A.D. Some scams have been going on even longer than we might imagine . Slowly but surely we seem to be catching on, but we really need to pick up the pace.

The two major parties of capital, debt and credit are busy, as usual, arguing over whether to let  their market deity rule with minimal or maximal human manipulation on behalf of the rich. Republicans favor overt control by royal wealth and let the common folk be damned, while Democrats favor a more covert style which offers some props for the peasants in order to prevent revolution. Republican party servants to wealth are so out of touch they might bring on total collapse or worse, open rebellion. So Democratic party servants to wealth protect capital by showing some concern for the majority whose losses are the actual substance of all profits, thereby avoiding rebellion if not collapse. But even with this slight difference, the presidential election is simply an ad campaign for human detergents arguing over which party is newer, bluer, softer, and even whiter, but with affirmative action highlights in its servant class.

Unmentioned by the two major corporadoes of capital is a global economic crisis  threatening more wars, environmental destruction, financial collapse and even survival of the race. That is, the human race and not one of the fractured sectors separated by induced theories of superiority or inferiority to make it seem that master race/chosen people mental disorders represent sanity. In essence we are all equal, but capitalism and the profit-loss system have little to do with essence.  When the Titanic sank, poor people in the lower decks may have died first, but many of the rich people also went down to a wet grave. In keeping with class bigotry and social division, a newspaper of the time headlined :

Col John Jacob Astor Drowns:
Millionaire Among Hundreds Of Others Who Lost Their Lives In Catastrophe “

That one millionaire among hundreds of “others” matches present reality, considering how many of us are among the “others” and how many of us are “millionaires”. Of the hundreds of millions of dollars already paid to the campaigns , how much has come from honest and gulled “others” financing those who will take their money and charge them interest for it, and how much from the  minority rich? And  the wealthy minority  get  exactly what they pay for:

Continued ownership and control of a system which is making less people much  more rich, while giving more people much less democracy . And simultaneously destroying the natural  and social environments .

Still, in the tradition of electoral shams offering capital’s servants as alleged people’s tribunes, we will be implored to please, please, please not vote for the greater evil and choose the lesser evil. Or we will all die. Many of us will follow custom but even if we don’t – the vote against either servant combined with those who don’t bother to vote is always the majority of the electorate – the day after the election we will face a declining global environment no matter which lesser evil is chosen by the minority of voters who will obey the panic and conscientiously vote for polio instead of cancer.

Voters are being told – as usual – that this is the most important election in history, and the supreme court selections, if any – as usual – will assure a millennia of  change or reaction, depending on which side of the coin we are shown and forgetting that is only  an either/or choice between heads or tails and hardly anything really different, which is what we need.

Past historic court decisions have been very good for some of us, but always at the expense of others. What else is new? Those who profit are always balanced by others showing a loss and the loser group is growing in numbers - and losses - while the other side shrinks in numbers as its profits expand. All of the courts – supreme, subservient, activist , passivist, strict constructionist or even controlled demolitionist, represent the laws of a failing system, not the people it is failing.

Given the choice between cancer and polio, many good people will choose potentially  crippling polio, since potentially terminal cancer would be so much worse. But the malignant social disease will continue and become terminal unless those good people demand , work for,  vote for  and finally get real change beyond putting  an allegedly multi-cultural minority-divided individualistic warrior smiley-face on a social body suffering a disaster.

There is a way for the vote to actually mean something and that is to select Jill Stein of the Green Party. She not only represents a party and perspective beneficial to all and not just a tiny minority at the top, but a vote for the immediate future that can help greatly in the next election. A 5% vote for the Greens will mean millions of dollars in public funds –  our money – to make it possible to not only mount  an even greater campaign in four years but to establish a party presence in every one of the fifty states  to act as a potential core for all the activists operating outside electoral politics because they find it so repulsive in its present form.

Until we reject the dualistic trap of voting for either bad or worse, a more recent quote from only a century or two back will still describe our electoral reality :

"In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable."