Monday, December 8, 2008

To Thine Own Self Be True

No matter where one turns you hear/read rationalizations and excuses being offered for President-elect Obama's picks for Chief-of-Staff, cabinet posts and his economic team of advisors. The babble goes something like this: In order to rule effectively you must govern from the center. Ideologues are trouble, be they from the right or the left of the political spectrum. Obama's picks show his genius for surrounding himself with those that differ greatly from his points-of-view which will allow vigorous debate; very Lincolnesque. His picks are the "best and brightest" available to solve America's problems.

What is completely absent from the above post-election spin is the substrate reality that the political center—since Ronald Reagan's first term –had been pulled so far right that Bill Clinton actually seemed progressive. You remember him? The guy who accomplished what Reagan could only dream, brutally ending welfare, not even allowing monies to pay for day care for the children of single mothers forced off the dole and into the workplace thereby saving taxpayers billions of dollars while destroying a generation of poor as those mothers were forced to work for paltry salaries that were stretched even thinner by having to pay for their own child care during the hours they worked for minimum wages. Americans cheered; especially the fat pigs at the top who decried such giveaways to Welfare Queens driving Cadillacs (as Reagan portrayed these unfortunate women). The extant reality-- that up to ten times the amount of welfare money spent on single women w/children went (and continues to accrue) to corporate entities that need no monetary assistance --is never brought in to muddy up the preferred context.

Bill Clinton was the guy who championed NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) that promised a globalized economy would make America prosperous again by allowing it to sell its manufactures and services without binding hindrances all around the world. Of course, rarely if ever discussed in the media was the fact that such hopes were incredibly naïve at best or, more likely, they were so much rhetoric without merit. For the reality of global trade is this: Ask yourself, how much money do you need to make to live? And, I'm not talking about living the high-life nor even a middle-class lumpen bourgeoisie existence, but rather, the merest survival mode. I'm sure most of you would say you'd need more than a $10 an hour job to survive. Yet, even that meager wage comes to $20,800 if you consider a forty hour week for fifty-two weeks. A quick examination of per capita income around the globe shows us that just 12 economies account for more than two-thirds of the world's output and but 14 percent of the world's people. Once moving down the list of 146 nations, only 26 show per capita incomes higher than $20,800. Move 34 countries down the list and the figure drops below $10,000. Ask yourself, How can people from nations with such low per capita incomes buy anything at all made in America when U.S. working wages are where they must be in order for people to just barely survive? They cannot. So, who benefits from such free trade agreements? At the time of NAFTA passage we heard that Americans would be able to expand their export products (with the attendant promise of producing more jobs) and cheaper goods would be available from other countries. The problem there is only folks that can afford to buy American (usually for status and not quality) are those living in the top 12 economies or basically European nations with Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore in the mix. Price European goods (if you can find them in our stores) and you'll see quite some expense. The $10 an hour worker isn't buying German goods at their regional WalMart/Sam's Club. So, what country's goods do you find in the bulk of American stores? China, of course. Where do the Chinese come down on the income list? At $2010, just below Swaziland and Tonga. How many Chinese can afford to buy American? Not many. How many Americans can afford to buy Chinese goods? Pretty much 300 million of 'em. While being promised exportation of goods, our trade deficit has sky-rocketed (from 3.7 percent of GDP or 369.7 Billion dollars in 2000 to $1.4 Trillion dollars in 2008 or roughly 5 percent of GDP); joblessness is sharply up, manufacturing is in a state of lingering demise all of which prompts demands that unions must accede to less: Less in wages for more hours worked. Less in benefits. Less safety in the work place.

William Jefferson Clinton was the President that signed into law the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 that essentially made it illegal to regulate the very shenanigans responsible for the current financial crisis. Yeah, that Bill Clinton.

The point being, Bill Clinton didn't tug the "center" back to true middle ground he merely nudged it in that direction. Therefore, calls to now rule from the current skewed "center" is to run things from the right: A continuation of bailing out those responsible for gaming the system to nourish their own nest eggs even as they take that new taxpayer money and buy up smaller assets once again nourishing only their own nest eggs. Thereby fucking up again by being too incredibly blatant in their thievery that the shit should hit the fan. Not to worry. Costs paid for by the public. Start it all over. New profits accrue to a few. Yet, claim change is upon us even as more taxpayer money is promised to the very next bunch of greedy bastards with hats in hand asking for a bailout due to their own insatiable craving for more and more wealth. Anyone suspect a circle-jerk goin' on?!

So, please, don't be duped into thinking there will be governance from the "center." The mantra of "run government like business" should once and for all be banished from the common lexicon, but won't be. And, the "center" will remain firmly rightward to the distinct benefit of elite interests.

As for Obama's picks? Let's review: A rabid Zionist, the Father of the devastating International Debt Spiral, several more Chicago School Friedmanites fresh from a decade of whoring the system without a single call between them to regulate the spreading contagion, W's very own Secretary of War, a "We'll Nuke In Israel's Defense of their Defenseless Offenses " Secretary of State. Well, you get the picture. Or should. Rather than having constructed a surround-sound system of differing opinion, Obama has assured he'll be getting old-school advice that will drown out competing ideas especially any that emanate left of the current right-"center."

As for the best and brightest argument, there was a time back in the day exactly the same phrase was used for the cadre of President's men that were hand-picked for their intellectual prowess. It was during Camelot, the reign of John F. Kennedy. Those "best and brightest" got us deeper into Viet Nam ultimately to the tune of murdering some two million Vietnamese, literally laying to waste an entire country, saving it by destroying it. Those "eggheads" brought us the Bay of Pigs and repeated assassination attempts against a true peoples' hero. Kennedy himself championed an economic program for Latin America called the Alliance for Progress that did just the opposite of what was promised, viz., democratizing the entire hemisphere. In fact, the program yielded 17 more dictatorships throughout the region which declared open season on left of center individuals ushering in an era of state terror sanctioned and assisted by the United States against freedom loving people by the millions.

President-elect Obama, just yesterday on Meet the Press, is quoted as saying the first priority would be "shovel-ready" projects, those that could create jobs rights away. "The days of just pork coming out of Congress as a strategy those days are over," he added. As stated in prior blog, "pork" or "earmarks" are but a fraction of one percent of the Federal budget. Better he should have said, "The days of fucking the American people over and over are over!" Rather, he stays the line drawn in quicksand by the same financial wizards that got us into this mess, "We've got to provide a blood infusion to the patient right now to make sure that the patient is stabilized. And that means that we can't worry short term about the deficit. We've got to make sure that the economic stimulus plan is large enough to get the economy moving."

Now, I want you to remember that the McCain/Palin ticket actually expropriated Obama's message, claiming to be the agents of "change." Ask yourself this, had McCain won, wouldn't he have appointed the same people that created the financial mess with their philosophy of deregulation and laissez faire stating they would fix the problem? Wouldn't he have appointed people that are staunch pro-Zionist stating support for Israel right or wrong? And, had McCain won and was making the exact same statements as Obama has, would you be applauding as you now are? Or would you be hissing your disapproval at the scam of claiming more of the same is change?

To thine ownself be true. Now is not the time for silent relief. Now is the time for activists to put Obama's feet to the fire and demand he break from the policies of the past as fast as he can. He must broaden his base of advisors to include people like Paul Krugman or better yet Naomi Klein for financial advice. He must demand Israel finally adhere to the multitude of broken UN resolutions they so brazenly have flaunted since 1967 and give up their nuclear program and push for a Palestinian state; let him discuss same with Noam Chomsky for instance. He must demand governmental regulation of the market and never again allow such thievery to take place even as he demands the U.S. taxpayers be made whole when this fiasco turns the corner. He must pull, with all his might, the current "center" back to true center.

I believe Barack Obama is a man of deep convictions. I hope he decides to live those convictions rather than simply talk about them. To thine own self be true, indeed!