Green Means \”Impeach\”


Obama the Red Queen

It’s been a long time since I composed the previous (anti-Obama) posts. And let me say that Obama has not only completely vindicated the scorn I previously expressed, he has gone way beyond my wildest fears. I need to say something about Obama that might strike you as incredible. It certainly strikes me as incredible. But…

OBAMA IS WORSE THAN GEORGE W. BUSH!

Let that statement sink in for a moment. Bush was the worst (as well as the most powerful) U.S. president in history up to that point in time. He murdered, in cold blood, hundreds of thousands of people and directly and indirectly helped impoverish perhaps millions more (including me). He lied so brazenly and so often that the only times you could safely say he was not lying were those rare, blessed moments when his mouth was shut.

Yet Obama has trumped him for sheer awfulness. Bush angrily tore the Constitution to pieces. Obama, the Constitutional scholar, has taken the pieces, shredded them and recycled them. His “Yes We Can” (originally, the left motto “Si se puede”) brand has now been re-worded as the motto of the cartoon villain Megamind: “No You Can’t.” As far as warmongering (he actually expanded our wars to include Pakistan and now Libya), destruction of civil liberties (particularly in Guantanamo, which he had once vowed to shut down), persecution of whistleblowers (his treatment of the as-yet untried Bradley Manning will live in infamy), sucking up to Wall Street and general nasty hypocrisy are concerned, he at least equals and even surpasses his appalling predecessor.

If I had to pick one incident that for me summarizes the Obama White House, it’s the Osama Death Photo Incident. After executing lynch mob justice on Osama bin Laden (and please, don’t give me that “Osama didn’t deserve a trial” crap: after WWII, the Allies tried HERMANN GOERING for Chrissake, and they would have tried Hitler himself if he had been captured alive), there was intense internal debate within the White House whether to release the pictures of the al-Qaeda “mastermind” with a bullet hole in his head.

This was a real dilemma for Obama: he could withhold the pictures and have part of the world say that his claim of having whacked Obama was a lie, or he could release them and risk driving Islamic fundamentalists violently berserk. He chose the former course purely out of cynical realpolitik, knowing that some people would challenge his proud claim of cold-blooded murder even if the photos were published for all the world to see.

But of course, Obama being Obama, he needs to recast this decision as High Idealism. In an upcoming 60 Minutes interview partially leaked to the press, Obama blandly pontificated:

It is very important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence — as a propaganda tool. That’s not who we are. You know, we don’t trot out this stuff as trophies. We don’t need to spike the football.

(Nixon loved football, too, and liked to speak in metaphors derived from that sport.)

As an activist Facebook friend of mine commented: “I see: it is not the shooting in the head, but the image of the bloody head that would constitute a problem.” And if brandishing your enemy’s head like a barbarian chieftain is “not what we’re about,” why was there such intense internal debate about the decision within the White House in the first place?

Idiots can chant “USA! USA!” outside the White House, but I think all sensitive and knowledgeable people should be sickened by this hypocrisy. (And don’t get me started on the illegal attempted hit on Gaddafi, which killed innocent children without so much as a whisper of an apology from the UN or the US.) But of course, that will not stop good Democrats from voting for Obama next year. Democratic politicians can act even more like gangsters than Republicans, but turning to a progressive third party like the Greens is “off the table” for these handwringing innocents.

Perhaps Geoffrey Robertson, one of Julian Assange’s defense lawyers, put it best, as quoted here: “Mr. Obama’s assertion that justice was done was ‘a total misuse of language,’ Mr. Robertson said. ‘This is the justice of the Red Queen: sentence first, trial later.'” Actually, Robertson is a tad confused: it was Louis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts, not The Red Queen, who said that. But on second thought, it sounds right: to be the Queen (or King) of Hearts, you first have to have one.

Advertisements

Death of the Obama Myth

You’ve heard this spiel before. Obama, during the campaign, was just playing possum to get elected. Hiding his true Progressive nature. Pitching himself as a “centrist” to big business and scared whites while cunningly concealing his real agenda. Crawling until he could fly. And then, once he was elected, he would show his true colors and the left-wing Millennium would begin.

So now Obama has won the Presidency. By a landslide. His “honeymoon” period has already begun. During his term of office, he will never have more freedom to do what he wants than in the next few months. So what is his first act as President-elect? He appoints RAHM EMANUEL as chief of staff.

Who is Rahm  Emanuel? He is the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Leader Steny Hoyer, and Whip Jim Clyburn. His mentor is Bill Clinton. He has strong ties to the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the organization that, in the late 1980s and in the 1990s, under Clinton, shredded the Democratic Party’s few remaining links to its populist New Deal traditions. He is a member in good standing of the New Democrat Coalition, described by Wikipedia as a group of Democratic Senators and Congresspersons “who claim moderate and pro-business stances.” In 2002, he supported Bush’s plan to invade Iraq, but lamented that Bush had not found the right message to sell the war to the American people.

Most importantly, he was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair for the 2006 elections. In this devastating 2007 Truthout exposé, Matt Renner reported how Emanuel, while claiming neutrality, strongly supported, with contributions and other forms of pressure, pro-war, pro-business Democratic House candidates, like Tammy Duckworth in Illinois (who was backed by Barack Obama), while deep-freezing all antiwar Democrats, like Christine Cegelis (running in the same Illinois district as Duckworth). By the way, Duckworth lost, whereas the charismatic Cegelis would probably have won, but that did not seem to phase Emanuel.  In other words, he is probably more responsible than anybody in the House (except Pelosi) for keeping the Democratic Party a pro-war, pro-corporate party.

Obama might well be considering keeping on Robert Gates as Defense Secretary. He is also considering appointing his economic advisor Austan Goolsbee, who is consistently described as a “centrist” (read: Republican-lite), as Treasury Secretary.

The myth of “Obama the Closet Progressive” is dead. Can we bury it now?

A Reply to “An Appeal to Third Party Voters, Make the Difference for Obama” by Tom Hayden (Huffington Post)

Tom,

For a very long time, I have admired your work for civil rights and for peace. Therefore, I feel that you have the right to know why I cannot and will not vote for Barack Obama.
It is simply not true that George W. Bush won the 2000 election, or that all but a few “thousand” people believe this. The evidence proves that, if all the votes cast in Florida that year had been counted, Gore would have won. The Greens were scapegoated by a Democratic Party that supported most of the Bush agenda.
Though Obama allegedly opposes the Iraq War, he will leave troops to defend our “national interest” — oil — and will *expand* the war in Afghanistan. To vote for Obama, a war candidate masquerading as a peace candidate, would betray my most cherished beliefs.
In the very near future, if political trends continue, the human race will either become extinct, or will exist in such wretchedness that extinction would be preferable. The Green Party advocates new ways of dealing with these crises. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are ideologically exhausted.
If Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party gets just five percent of the vote on November 4th, the Greens will gain ballot access and funding and become a powerful force for progressive values. Therefore, I challenge you, Tom Hayden, to be true to the convictions of your youth, and pull the lever for Cynthia McKinney on Election Day for *real* change.
More on Barack Obama
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Black Friday and the Shame of Wall Street… and Congress

Giving Wall Street $800 Billion in taxpayer’s money — over $2000 for every man, woman and child in America — was supposed to free up credit markets and stabilize the economy, right? Yeah, right!

Perhaps the most shocking political episode in my lifetime has been the completely cynical and corrupt surrender of the Democratically-controlled Congress to the Wall Street speculators (aka, thieves), whose almost unbelievably reckless policies brought this gigantic mess upon us. And the punchline of this sick joke is that this criminal act of base thievery has not brought us economic security as advertised, but utter chaos. An entire country, Iceland, is on the verge of going under! From Britain to Australia, all is turmoil, confusion, FEAR. And everyone is saying or thinking: this can’t go on, the market’s going to bottom out soon… isn’t it?

I’m convinced that this has happened because the Left doesn’t exist in America as a political force. Progressive people meeting, talking, demonstrating, writing blogs (like this one)… all that means nothing. All the talk and good intentions of good people can be cancelled literally at the stroke of Bush’s pen, or at the whim of the utterly cynical Nancy Pelosi, whose only thought is not, “How can we public servants help the people?” but “How can we political hacks avoid damage and gain power?” The only reason the bailout took a week to get through Congress was because of the resistance of wingnut Ayn Rand Republicans! The Democratic leadership were completely okay with giving away the people’s money to their buddies in the financial services industry. The Party that refused to impeach the sociopath George Bush and the truly evil Dick Cheney, ostensibly on the grounds that they were lame ducks and couldn’t do any more harm, have now allowed those two criminals to start one last war: the war against the  American taxpayer!

Have Bush/Pelosi gone too far? Will the American people stand for this? I was coming home on the subway tonight and all I saw around me were people napping, reading bad newspapers, nodding out… oblivious. Yet the events of the past few weeks might ultimately cause more misery — more starvation, more homelessness, more hopelessness — than America has seen since the Great Depression. 

Who wins the election almost doesn’t matter. (Yes, McCain/Palin might attack Iran, and that does matter.) President Obama is not going to pull us out of this mess. (Somebody has rightly written that, if Barack wins, his new slogan might well be, “No, we can’t,” as in “no, we can’t have any more social services because there’s no more money.”) President McCain definitely won’t pull us out of it. Only We the People can pull us out of this.

If Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party gets 5% of the national vote, that would at least be a beginning, because it would raise the Greens to major party status and give Progressives a voice in government. But whether McKinney succeeds or not, it’s up to the people to get mad and fight back, by doing direct action, by organizing strikes, by never letting our lying, traitorous “representatives” off the hook. As Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young once sang, “We’re finally on our own.”

Bailout Madness!

According to this story in The New York Times, Washington was in a state of utter chaos on Thursday ¾ or, as Sean O’Casey would have said, “a state o’ chassis¾ over the proposed bailout, using taxpayer money, of the thieves and frauds of Wall Street. Actually the Times piece reads more like a Monty Python skit (see my post on Michael Palin, below), so full of demented dialogue and comic bits of business was the account (given by an eyewitness and several people briefed later) of the negotiations that went on in the White House, as both Democrats and Republicans tried to make up their minds how best to steal the people’s hard-earned cash. The POTUS, George W. Bush, was actually quoted as saying, “If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down.” Apparently, the “sucker” to which Bush was referring was the American financial system as a whole, not John Q. Citizen… but I suppose that interpretation might also make sense.

Who put a stop to what had originally been planned as the biggest, fastest swindle on record? Was it Barack Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who declared that this act of highway robbery would not stand? Of course not. Exactly as occurred during the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Myers, it was Bush’s own party that balked ¾ to the Democrats’ shame. No less a right-wing bigwig than House GOP Leader John Boehner came out publicly against the bailout, putting forth his own cockamamie plan that involved the use of government-backed insurance to purchase the failed banks’ mortgage-based securities. According to the article, for several days conservative Republicans on the Hill had fretted that a government intervention of such magnitude would serve as “a step down the path to socialism.” (If only…)

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (who, contrary to popular opinion, is unrelated to the late comedian and presidential candidate Pat Paulsen) made a desperate attempt to save his $700 billion bailout plan. His zeal was understandable, since the proposal, which eliminates all possibility of Congressional or judicial oversight, would have made the Secretary, whose lax supervision of the markets helped bring about the mess in the first place, a kind of tsar of the American economy. In the heat of the moment, Paulson in the Roosevelt Room actually got down on one knee before Pelosi, not to propose marriage but to beg her not to “blow it all up” by withdrawing her support for the bailout. To this, Pelosi was reported to have quipped, “I didn’t know you were Catholic.” (I’m not making this stuff up!) Then she added, all too accurately: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

The real comic relief, though, was supplied by John McCain. Big John suddenly decided that he was so indispensable to the process that he suspended his campaign ¾ canceling and then uncanceling his scheduled appearance at Friday’s televised debate with Obama, with the McCain campaign stupidly declaring victory in an ad in the Wall Street Journal before the debate even took place ¾ and speeded to Washington to save the day, like a political superhero. When he got to the Big Meeting in the Cabinet Room, however, he had practically nothing to say, which is not surprising, as he apparently did not bother to read Secretary Paulson’s plan, which is all of three pages long and widely published on the Internet. Obama ¾ the smart imperialist to McCain’s buffoonish one ¾ reportedly “peppered” Paulson with questions without committing himself, and after this seasoning lambasted his opponent at a news conference for kibitzing where he wasn’t wanted. What is truly revolting, however, is what the Times article revealed in passing: that (if the Republican leadership is to be believed) the Democrats cynically tried and failed to “jam through” an agreement on Thursday morning ¾ one that would have cost every man, woman, teenager and toddler in America over $2000 ¾ just to deny McCain the opportunity to participate in the negotiations later on and possibly gain some political capital. 

The Times itself is clearly in favor of the biggest possible bailout as quickly as possible, ostensibly to avert a recession ¾ I thought we were already in one ¾ without taking into account such perils as inflation, or even hyperinflation. (That $700 billion has to come from somewhere, and since no sane politician is going to advocate the raising of that much money in new taxes, the cash would have to be produced by the government simply printing more money, devaluing the dollar yet further.) The prospect of America repeating the history of Germany in the 1920s, when ordinary people had to trundle their wildly inflated wages home in wheelbarrows, has now become by no means an improbable one. By throwing a monkey wrench into the bipartisan deal, Representative Boehner may have committed an inadvertently patriotic act.

By contrast, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has come up with an eminently reasonable proposal, one that favors ordinary Americans, not the masters of Wall Street. In her essay, Seize the Time, McKinney proposed the following list of steps (by no means exhaustive) to deal with the crisis:

  1. Enactment of a foreclosure moratorium now before the next phase of ARM interest rate increases take effect;
  2. Elimination of all ARM mortgages and their renegotiation into 30- or 40-year loans;
  3. Establishment of new mortgage lending practices to end predatory and discriminatory practices;
  4. Establishment of criteria and construction goals for affordable housing;
  5. Redefinition of credit and regulation of the credit industry so that discriminatory practices are completely eliminated;
  6. Full funding for initiatives that eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in home ownership;
  7. Recognition of shelter as a right according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, to which the U.S. is a signatory, so that no one sleeps on U.S. streets;
  8. Full funding of a fund designed to cushion the job loss and provide for retraining of those at the bottom of the income scale as the economy transitions;
  9. Close all tax loopholes and repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners;
  10. Fairly tax corporations, denying federal subsidies to those who relocate jobs overseas; repeal NAFTA.

So progressives have a critical choice this year. They will have to decide whether they want to give their vote and support to Cynthia McKinney, a candidate with fresh ideas who is not beholden to the money men (and if McKinney receives just five percent of the total vote on Election Day, the Green Party would then become a major force in U.S. politics), or an intelligent yet empty agent of the corporate state like Barack Obama. If they don’t choose correctly, the “sucker” may indeed “go down.”