Deprogramming Post A+ Obama Tucson Rhetoric
Last night Obama looked Amnesiac Americans in the eye and re-won their hearts, apparently.
Yes, indeedy, he scored. He seems from the a.m. media buzz today to be out-teflon-ing Reagan. With a lot of help from his vast corporate media enablers, jumping the shark imho in their triangulation of Palin to eclipse the darker reality of the Obama regime.
This is where Obama can flex. He can afford to be sentimentally expansive because it costs him nothing with the corporate overlords. He can re-seduce with his words. I am not surprised by Obama. I am surprised by the numbers who still buy it. Do they or not? The media will tell us that they did. Gamesmanship over statesmanship. Style over substance every time. To paraphrase the title of a wonderful book I am reading by Megan Stack, "Every Man and Woman in the Beltway Village is a Liar."
You don’t think that being a rogue war criminal nation, droning, assassination, death squads, no habaes corpus, massive suicides, homicides of civilians, rapes in the military might also contribute to our culture of violence?
Or being soft on gun control both domestically and globally?
Or having a new corporate-friendly health insurance program that is not helpful to the mentally ill?
Or enabling America’s wealth to trickle up to the top 1% of corporate elites?
Again, might not the above have a toxic effect on the citizenry of this nation, inspiring some to crazed violence?
Talk is cheap, but, wow, Obama can really do it well. And apparently people will lap it up. During moments of shock and awe, I guess a hypocritical, gentle-sounding President is better than nothing. And with all the hyped vilification of Palin, who deserves little sympathy, but still, that doesn’t mean Obama deserves the crown or white hat that the media is so eagerly giving him this morning.
I wonder how countries we have decimated feel about our national shock and awe over the, granted, horrifying murders and attempted murder in Tucson with the War-Criminal-in Chief surging massive violence so celebrated as a healer.
Sorry. How out of step and apparently anti-American of me, having empathy for our international victims. And, again, after the night when Obama apparently touched the hearts of America with rhetorical compassion.
Just a few quotes to help me, at least, process the propaganda pouring out of my tv screen this morning on how wonderful our adept at sentimentalizing President is.
From Michael O'Brien of the Hill:
President Barack Obama on Monday received a failing grade from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence for running away from gun control.
The group, which endorsed Obama in 2008, gave him an “F” on every issue it scored, including background checks, gun trafficking, guns in public, the federal assault weapons ban, standing up to the gun lobby and leadership.
But the Brady Campaign, a leading advocacy group for stricter gun laws, said Obama actually has done little to clamp down on firearms since being elected. Instead, the president has signed into law two bills that favored gun-rights supporters.
“This year they ran away from the issue, and actually signed two repeals of good gun legislation,” said Helmke.
Obama signed legislation this year that would allow guns in national parks and on Amtrak trains.
This from Fred Branfman:
As you read these words countless Afghan and Pakistani villagers are huddling in their homes, terrorized by U.S. war-making, as General Petraeus's brutal offensive into southern Afghanistan, met by an increase in the Taliban's resort to roadside bombs and assassination, has caused the Red Cross to issue an unusual alarm saying that conditions are at their worst for Afghan civilians in 30 years, i.e. as bad as during the Russian invasion. A Canadian press report indicates that Kandahar's main hospital is overflowing with civilian casualties, and that "on some days, the floor is red with blood".
If we can free our minds of a lifetime of official propaganda identifying the U.S. Executive with the American people, the evidence is overwhelming that in foreign and military policy the U.S. Executive Branch is an undemocratic institution that does not represent its own citizens. It operates largely independent of Congress, the Judiciary or a mass media which has largely become an arm of Executive power, broadcasting its lies far more often than it exposes them.
Just as the Taliban is far stronger today after the U.S. has wasted $300 billion and thousands of American lives over the last 10 years, Petraeus's tactics are strengthening not weakening America's enemies over the long run. If he murders enough people in southern Afghanistan, the General may be able to claim some short-term successes there. But there is no serious question that his tactics are sowing a long-term whirlwind which not only threatens the stability of the Afghan and Pakistani governments, but pose a long-term threat to Americans at home."
"US forces conducted a brutal campaign around Kandahar to crush resistance to the occupation and punish communities that supported Taliban sympathizers and using mass reprisals against the civilian population."
"Death squads are hard at work murdering those suspected of backing Taliban and opposing western occupation. Similar "pacification" tactics were used to break the resistance of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, a third of which was razed by US Marines. The Soviets employed similar tactics during their ten-year occupation of Afghanistan."
"The same tactics were developed by Israel during its occupation of the West Bank, including giant security walls chopping up the landscape, blowing up houses, and night raids against suspects."
"The government and media have colluded to paint the picture of a noble, heroic, flag-waving American enterprise in Afghanistan that is, alas, very far from reality. Last week came news that US air, land, and mercenary forces would penetrate ever deeper into Pakistan. WikiLeaks show that Pakistan's feeble, US-sustained government is quietly backing deeper US military involvement and targeted killings of Pakistanis."
Never has so much official energy been expended in ensuring journalists collude with the makers of rapacious wars which, say the media-friendly generals, are now "perpetual". In echoing the west's more verbose warlords, such as the waterboarding former US vice-president Dick Cheney, who predicated "50 years of war", they plan a state of permanent conflict wholly dependent on keeping at bay an enemy whose name they dare not speak: the public.
Washington Police arrested 135 of the protesters, in what is being called the largest mass detention in recent years. Among those arrested were Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who used to provide the president’s daily briefings, Daniel Ellsberg, who released the government’s Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration, and Chris Hedges, former war correspondent for the New York Times.
No major US news media reported on the demonstration or the arrests. It was blacked out of the New York Times, blacked out of the Philadelphia Inquirer, blacked out in the Los Angeles Times, blacked out of the Wall Street Journal, and even blacked out of the capital’s local daily, the Washington Post, which apparently didn't even think it was a local story worth publishing.
Making the media cover-up of the protest all the more outrageous was the fact that most news media did report on Friday, the day after the protest, the results of the latest poll of American attitudes towards the Afghanistan War, an ABC/Washington Post Poll which found that 60% of Americans now feel that war has “not been worth it.” That’s a big increase from the 53% who said they opposed the war in July.
I have observed that it was one thing to be anti-Bush, but to be anti-war in the age of Obama is not to be tolerated by many people. If you will also notice, the only people who seem to know about the raids are those of us already in the movement. There has been no huge outcry over this fresh outrage, either by the so-called movement or the corporate media.
I submit that if George Bush were still president, or if this happened under a McCain/Palin regime, there would be tens of thousands of people in the streets to protest. This is one of the reasons an escalation in police state oppression is so much more dangerous under Obama - even now, he gets a free pass from the very same people who should be adamantly opposed to such policies.
Meanwhile, the man who last year received the world's most noted accolade the enlightened pursuit of peace is now expanding a senseless, brutal and futile war in one foreign land into another, where he has already killed hundreds of innocent people with cowardly bombs fired at defenseless villages from robot drones controlled by armchair warriors thousands of miles away. Another 54 people died from these assassinations just last night; it is claimed they were "militants," but no names were given, no evidence at all to back up these assertions -- and no real reason at all given as to why these assassinations and escalations must continue, on and on, for years, decades, perhaps generations, we are told. Again, Tolstoy:
Spontaneous feeling tells me that what they are doing should not be, but as the murderer who has begun to assassinate his victim cannot stop, so also ... people now imagine that the fact of the deadly work having been commenced is an unanswerable argument in favour of war. War has been started and therefore it should go on. Thus it seems to simple, benighted, unlearned men acting under the influence of the petty passions and stupefactions to which they have been subjected. In exactly the same way the most educated men of our time argue to prove that man does not possess free will, and that therefore even were he to understand that the work he has commenced is evil he can no longer cease to do it.
So dazed, brutalized men continue their dreadful work.
Do not help them. Do not support them. Do not spend your energy and passion and intellect on earnest analyses of the twists and turns of their political fates. They are doing evil. Do not be part of it. Support instead those who try to speak the truth. Stand with them. It is their fate -- not the fate of the petty, brutal power-seekers -- which will determine the meaning of our times and the future of our species.
And from Patrick Cockburn on the ground in Afghanistan via Floyd:
But the most extraordinary failure of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan is that the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars has had so little impact on the misery in which 30 million Afghans live. Since 2001 the US alone has provided $52 billion in aid, two thirds for security and one third for economic, social and political development.
Despite this some nine million Afghans live in absolute poverty while a further five million, considered ‘not poor’, try to survive on $43 a month.“Things look alright to foreigners but in fact people are dying of starvation in Kabul,” says Abdul Qudus, a man with a deeply lined face in his forties, who sells second-hand clothes and shoes on a street corner in the capital. They are little more than rags, lying on display on the half frozen mud.
US officials admit privately that the torrent of aid money that has poured into Afghanistan has stoked corruption and done ordinary Afghans little good. Aimed at improving economic and social conditions in order to reduce support for the Taliban it is having the reverse effect of destabilizing the country. Afghanistan was identified as the third most corrupt country out of 178 in the world in a report released yesterday by Transparency International.
...The US government policy of providing aid through large American private companies, whose interest lies in making a profit rather than improving the life of Afghans, is proving a failure in Afghanistan as it did previously in Iraq. As winter approaches half of Afghans face the prospect of ‘food insecurity’, or not getting enough to eat in the next three months, according to the US Famine Early Warning System.
And Obama, former constitutional lawyer, is steadily shredding the constitution. No re-institution of habeas corpus. His embrace of the right to executive assassination of Americans. Permanent detentions. Kangaroo military tribunals. Death squads. Black sites where do you really think torture has ended? FBI raids on anti-war activists. And what about the torture of solitary confinement, etc.
Ron Jacobs in CounterPunch makes the chilling comment:
“Indeed, the concern for civil liberties is usually dismissed by politicians, judges, and other people in power almost as if they were some worthless costume trinkets from grandma’s jewelry box.”
The Great Recession, which by all historical rights should have sent the Republicans into eclipse for a generation, instead saw a miraculous GOP rebound that left the Democrats shattered and pitifully incoherent. That's the real big picture of Obama's brief presidency - a period of breathtaking dissolution of the Democratic Party as Obama facilitated the swallowing whole of the American state by Wall Street.
How about the poverty in Obamaworld? He could launch a WPA work program with an executive order, but won't.
Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2009.
• More than 1 in 8 people in the United States lives below the poverty line, which is $21,756 for a family of four in 2009.
• One in five children in the United States lives below the poverty line.
• Most Americans (51.4 percent) will live in poverty at some point before age 65.
• A person working full-time at the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year.
• The official poverty line for a family of three—one parent with two children—is $17,285.
From the TV, media talking heads are congratulating themselves about how grown-up and sensitive they and the leaders of the deadly American status quo are. All of them in the media, Congress, the WH, Pentagon need a pr face-lift in front of the citizenry and are joining Obama in this moment of expansiveness and self-aggrandizement.
Oh goody, Tom Brokaw is now on Morning Joe, putting the final sweet frosting on Obama's cake. I am going into diabetic shock.
You know, I, too, am horrified by what happened in Tucson and feel for the victims and their families. But I don't want to lose sight of the forest because of some stylistic empathy offered up among the trees. Obama doesn't walk the walk. I wish desperately he would, but he won't.
Don't be seduced by him or the magic box.
There are a lot more anti-teflon facts and voices out there. I hope Americans heed them.