Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gnome: A Gremlin No More

This writer was most fortunate to get wind of a Bard College presentation, U.S. Foreign Policy In the Middle East, sponsored by Bard Students for A Just Peace In Israel-Palestine featuring Noam Chomsky. Anyone at all interested in radical analysis of American foreign policy has heard of Professor Chomsky, MIT linguistics expert and long time political activist. Before proceeding let me put forth the dictionary definition of radical: (rad' i–kəl) adj. 1 Of, proceeding from, or pertaining to the root or foundation; essential; fundamental; inherent; basic. [NOTICE: Radical does not mean "off the wall"] While the word has been overused in describing the "left" it has also been bastardized to mean "wooly headed" or worse, "dangerous" and therefore unworthy of further discussion. If one is "radical" in America, one is demonized to such an extent that no one listens to him/her. Look what happened during the last election regarding Bill Ayers, former Weatherman. The major media labeled him a radical and a terrorist (the flip side of the radical coin) without any contemplation of what he did in its proper context. Yet any acts allegedly committed by Ayers should always be discussed in context of the 60s and 70s for that was a very harrowing time during which all of the following took place: viz., a presidential assassination; a senator assassinated; a human rights leader assassinated; women were fighting for their right to be equal citizens; a draft was put in place forcing young American men into military service for the purpose of murdering 2 million Vietnamese based upon the false Gulf of Tonkin incident and a now thoroughly discredited "domino theory" (even then it was absurd); demonstrators engaging in their Constitutional right to petition the Government for redress of grievances were summarily beaten, gassed, arrested; Black Panthers were harassed and murdered by the FBI (Cointelpro operation) even as any American denouncing the policies in play were targeted for surveillance; the CIA was busy growing coups and torturing activists in Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, etc) even as it was involved with attempted assassination of Fidel Castro in Cuba and egregiously intruding on personal lives here in America; the first "shots" of the Drug War were fired initiating an atrocious expenditure of both money and police resources resulting in inappropriately long prison sentences for marijuana users en masse even as violent crime steadily escalated due to lack of resources and police presence.

Turbulent times. Revolution was in the air. Entrenched elite interests were completely unprepared for such resistance to America's brutal expansion of Empire and, so pushed back hard and swift. In fact, Professor Chomsky mentioned how when he began in the early 1960s he needed police protection in order to speak.

Imagine that. Right here in America, in order to speak one's mind (don't forget the Constitutionally protected right of Free Speech that has existed since the early days of this nation's origin) a person needed protection from angry crowds in order to discuss issues the main stream media refused to cover. Actually, not only did the media refuse to do its job, so did many High School teachers. This writer was in advanced track classes and yet the only mention of Viet Nam was for a World History teacher to point it out on a map with only the briefest of mentions that there were Communists attempting to take control of that nation. That was it as far as discussion went. Then it was down to the Principal's office after being personally requested to visit in order to register for the Draft as was required by law. The following year, along with all other males between the ages of 18 and 25, we watched the "lottery" while hanging out in the college Student Union building; the atmosphere alternating between gigantic whooshes of relief from the "losers" and sobbing by the "winners" as birth date by birth date was drawn from a tumbler. Surreal. It was a moment in this writer's life when the criminality of America came across full throttle. Having attempted to make sense of the situation and having spent many hours researching it, clear was the fact that whatever the Viet Nam war was about, it was not about stanching the "red peril" from devouring Viet Nam. In fact, Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Viet Cong, was a lover of the American Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. He actually used words from those documents to write his country's own. After a long struggle against French colonialism, the Vietnamese wanted their own country where they would be free to make their own decisions about what was best for them. That's it. The Vietnamese wanted freedom to choose what was best for their country and countrymen. For the Capitalistocracy of America, such desire served as a bad example, one which had to be exterminated, (Watch out Hugo Chavez!) as such effrontery just might catch on and other people of the world would want self-determination as well and if that happened, America would not be able to continue its rape and pillaging of the Third World in order to maintain a way of life to which the American people had become accustomed. Yet, it was absolutely clear that should this writer refuse to join the murder-fest via induction against his will, he would be determined a criminal and be locked up in a Federal prison.

America's Janus Justice; two-faced; elite interests served to detriment of an entire world with murder and thievery the methodologies of choice yet, protesting against such inhuman abuses warranted prison time.

Noam Chomsky spoke against America running roughshod over an entire world of people. His voice was loud in such a wilderness of conformity. And, yes, despite conventional wisdom that remembers this period as over-run with "crazies," the 60s and 70s were extremely conformative times. The "hippies" and "yippies" and "radicals" and "activists" and even "long-hairs" all combined were a distinct minority getting more than their fair share of abuse from the "straight" majority. People like to evoke the romanticism of Woodstock and Hippies wearing flowers in their hair to serve as a lens through which to view that period of history; you know, "give peace a chance…peace and love" and all the other button/bumper sticker sound bites of the times. But for those who DID question authority, protest, agitate for human rights for all peoples, march in defiance of the status quo, defy the draft, there was a huge amount of vile abuse from continual verbal harassment to actual physical assaults and, as stated, even imprisonment. America was still Doo Wop and beehive hairdos and God Bless our great nation right or wrong. Conform or pay the consequences. The 60s and 70s weren't the 60s and 70s we know today until decades later when much of what activists were fighting for actually came to fruition and were seen as mainstream values (well, except for the Republican Right who were and still are living in the 50s filled with their delusions of grandeur and superiority.)

Chomsky stood solo against all of that. He had and still maintains courage of huge magnitude. A role model of compassionate humanism to be cherished and ascribed to by anyone wishing to be considered a human being in its most majestic form.

Thus it is with saddened heart that this writer must now offer a couple other dictionary definitions: Gremlin (grem'lin) n. A mischievous, invisible imp said to ride airplanes and cause mechanical trouble. Substitute Ship of State and/or Elite Agenda for airplane and you see how Chomsky was viewed "back in the day." He was dangerous! A single man espousing humanistic viewpoints undeterred by the threat of losing his job, of physical harm, of putting his family in jeopardy, stood against a Government hell-bent on wrecking havoc all across the planet without regard to billions of people; one man threatened to reveal the hypocrisy and greed and malfeasance of our leaders and their capitalistocratic national agenda.

Today, Noam Chomsky, is no longer a gremlin. He is no longer dangerous. Noam has been rendered a gnome (nōm) n. 2 A little, old man. For, America is now surrendering to a capitalistocratic elite that knows no nation-state, no boundaries of human decency, no compassion towards a world of humans. This financial crisis created by elites serving elite interests, closes the book on America's great experiment in democracy—rule by the people –in favor of rule by the powerful few.

Revolution is just a song from "back in the day" or a new scent to be sold. The only thing in the air now, is pollution, shouted inanity, dismal prospects for the future of the human race. And to the happy-assed optimists among you: Keep smiling. Keep imagining it's all going to be alright. Keep believing that your representatives aren't out for themselves, that "business" exists to help, that the financial bailouts are really in the people's interests and not just another greedy gamblers' loss recovery program albeit the mother of all payoffs.

We Americans like to think of ourselves as born of revolutionaries, fighting for democracy, for the people, duly blessed by God and privileged by our humanity towards others. When, in reality, that America has never been, and now made obvious with the shock doctrine of disaster capitalism gaining eminence, that America and those Americans shall never be.

Not without a violent revolution by the people…

So, tell me: Are YOU ready to rumble? If not yet, when?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Judean Candidate

Many were the warnings about Candidate Barack Hussein Obama, everything from him being the Anti-Christ to Marx Incarnate. This writer laughed out loud at the ludicrous paranoia of our lunatic fringe unfortunately on public display right there on Main Street, U.S. of A. Now I'm beginning to wonder if something wasn't amiss after all. Those that ponder such things understand that we heard what we wanted/needed to hear coming from the lips of "the one." Still 'midst the Reagan Revolution—an unending orgy of Liberty at the expense of Equality, followed by Bush the Lesser's orgy of Executive Power sodomizing Truth, Justice and the American Way –just over half the country were desperate for deliverance from Republicanism run amok.

By the time the election was held, we had anointed a savior in Barack Obama. He would heal the sick and right all wrongs. He would make wine out of water and the "bread" we need would appear, in abundance, out of thin vaporous air. He would bring America back into God's good graces; ironic seeing as George W. was/is an evangelical believer yet acted the devil while in office. (Or, was that Cheney's hand up his puppet ass?) No mere man could ever hope to assuage such expectation without immense disappointment.

But, this writer is not talking about what others expect of him, rather, what the candidate stated he would do and what he would be about.

Now, in just six weeks' time, gestation completed, Obama the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. He moves to shore up the financial institutions that greedily gambled their wads away. We, the taxpayers, now need to pony up for that. He moves to provide "universal health care." We, all taxpayers, now need to pony up for that even as ultimately access to all treatments will be not be allowed for all and most likely not even for most. Obama reversed Bush Administration decrees on abstinence teaching but refused to reverse abortion non-funding even as he acceded to continued faith-based group funding. He moves to shore up our troops in Afghanistan by committing another 17,000 (bringing the total to around 60,000; the unsuccessful Soviets had 160,000 troops committed to Afghanistan). We, the taxpayers, now need to pony up for this misadventure even as the excuse of stopping al Qaeda and the Taliban rings hollow knowing as we do that all unilaterally described (Western definition) "terrorists" agree that Israel's abuses in Palestine is the root cause for "terrorist acts" and only by getting to the root will the problem be solved.

On The Daily Show (originally aired 3 March 2009) Obama video clips appeared side-by-side with clips of George W. Bush each stating what the mission objectives are/will be in Iraq; Bush, as regarded the Surge influx of troops; Obama, as regards the mission once combat troops are withdrawn. The words are identical except for two; Bush used support Iraqi troops while Obama said assist Iraqi troops. We, the taxpayers, will have to continue to pony up boucoup bucks for years to come and, as was prophesied prior to the war, probably forever more as the United States desires that reserve of oil (continuing the legacy of the Truman Doctrine of U.S. national security trumping any/all foreign sovereignty's right to their own resources) even as it provides a strategic military base in a volatile region.

So much for what constraints were put in place to strait-jacket any Administration coming into office. Well, any Administration that wasn't Republican. After all, lest America forget (and that is already happening), Republicanism shorn of moral restraints brought us to the financial fleecing we're experiencing. Republicanism has been predicated on a rapacious Machiavellian philosophy of unrestrained "free markets" making the few rich richer, a few more that weren't rich getting to become rich and everyone else, the vast majority, can continue to pay the price of that heralded (and might this writer add, fabled) "individualism" Republicans so cherish. What's "individualist" about being a Ditto Head? Speaking of the heavyweight "leader" of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, is he not the epitome of non-restraint? of gross excess? of utter stupidity passing as profundity? Republicanism is a bad joke being played upon Americans; albeit the less intelligent Americans which, if truth be told, comprise half the nation (just think Larry the Cable Guy writ large). Such has been in charge of governance for most of the last 25 years. We're in a huge mess because of Republican (and Republicanized Democrat) rule. This mess leaves a pile of excrement behind that will keep Team Obama cleaning up through its first term at least. Soon enough it will be made clear that after wrestling with budgetary limits and deficit spending that cannot continue trending the way it has been for decades, Obama's Administration will be forced to scale down his promises to the American people to the point of being ineffective except for semantic hedging against truth; e.g. "I promised a tax break for 95 percent of working Americans and delivered." But, the fact that the break will be for an amount that won't float anyone's boat (about $50/month) the American middle class will sink ever deeper into the muck while the rare few— the Phoenix Class –rise anew from the ashes of their outrageous pillaging with fresh wings our money will pay for.

Pundits applaud Obama's team for having hit the ground running in a time of unprecedented crises, having already guided a Stimulus Package through passage in both houses, having gathered a forum for health care reform, education reform is upcoming and even with such pressing domestic needs, foreign affairs was put on high priority with Obama's naming of George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East to mediate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mitchell has already met with the principals. Well, at least the ones America decides are the principals having chosen to ignore, Hamas, the democratically elected representatives of Gazan Palestinians. Which is what Israel demands. The same ploy being employed again, as it has been for over forty years, Israel decrying the lack of participants for peace talks as they murder, imprison and torture any Palestinian who is brave enough to stand for peace and justice and a homeland uninhabited by settlers (whose presence is in defiance of International Law against settling occupied territory; especially land occupied via pre-emptive war as was the 1967 Six Day War).

Indeed, Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, has stated his predilection for the "Shock Doctrine" methodology detailed in "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" by Naomi Klein used to devastate "the people" while enriching "the few." The Israeli citizen is quoted as saying, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste...Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before." The article goes on to say, "Mr. Emanuel noted, correctly, that the U.S. largely squandered the opportunity the oil shocks of the 1970s presented [*] to make serious, long-term changes in its energy habits -- a failure that has returned to haunt the nation today." Further, Emanuel stated, "The lesson holds true in foreign policy as well. Only the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and its shock to the Middle East status quo, made it possible for President Jimmy Carter to move in and negotiate the historic Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel."

We all agree we're in crisis mode. Now, let's consider the following points in that context:

  • First, recall candidate Obama's complete silence regarding Israel's rampage in Gaza during which Israel destroyed much of the infrastructure and the residences for tens-of-thousands even as it murdered 1,400 and injured some 5,500 wounded purportedly to avenge 24 Israeli deaths in the prior 7 years of Qassam rocket fire from those whom are determined to defend their homeland.
  • Next, recall all the points above regarding the vast sums of money to be collected from the American people (a transfer of wealth or redistribution of same) to bail out Capitalism on a world-wide scale and the Chief of Staff's Shock Doctrine statement.
  • Now, amidst this greatest crisis since the "Great Depression" realize that President Obama visited the Caterpillar company; the makers of those same bulldozers that have been systematically demolishing Palestinian homes in the West Bank to make room for more settlements; the same piece of heavy equipment used to murder an innocent American, Rachel Corrie, eye-witness to Israeli attempted genocide of Gazans; a company the American "Left" has put high on its shit-list (now add into this mix the above mentioned stances on abstinence teaching, abortion non-funding and faith-based group funding).
  • Even as Envoy Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visit the area in hopes of restarting the peace process, Team Obama considers the Palestinian Authority— quickly losing any/all authority as representatives of Palestinians as it allows Israel's daily abuses against a viable homeland –the ONLY legitimate Palestinian representatives with whom they will speak; democratically elected Hamas excluded because Israel demanded they be considered "terrorists" and the United States accommodates that propaganda-torqued view.
  • The double standard discussed in an earlier blog entry regarding the hypocrisy of Obama's stance on nuclear proliferation as such escalation applies to the budding Iranian civilian nuclear program though not to Israel's clandestine program with an estimated 200 nuclear warheads and missile launch capability already on line and ready to go.
  • The agreement to send Israel the weapons necessary to maintain its illegal, brutal occupation of Palestine in exchange for $30 billion over the next 10 years.
  • The Obama Administration's silence as to Israel's use of white phosphorus; its use in Gaza with such dense population, a war crime.
  • The Obama Administration's silence as to the recent announcement by the Israeli government that 73,000 new illegal settler residences will be created in the West Bank as well as the silence over 1,500 homes recently bulldozed by Israeli troops claiming the homes were built without permits even as Palestinians cannot get permits to build homes on the very land they own; this confiscated land to be used for further Israeli settlement in Jerusalem's Arab quarter thereby making a two-state (or any Palestinian sovereignty) solution impossible.

More than a poke in the eye of the Left; it's a real gouging. A message, wouldn't you say? And this writer must wonder if it isn't Rahm Emanuel behind the effrontery to the very people that made an Obama presidency a reality.

Which leads to this question: Have you ever seen The Manchurian Candidate? It is a 1962 movie based upon the 1959 fiction novel by Richard Condon. It's a paranoid depiction of "brainwashing" by sinister Communists that hope to get control of the American government through assassination of the President by his trusted mind-rinsed VP after being subconsciously triggered into becoming a killing machine. In the present instance, it isn't his VP that Obama needs to worry about, it's Rahm Emanuel, the Judean Candidate. Brainwashed you say incredulously? Ask yourself, where else is such "mind-rinsing" used to churn out ranks of subsumed Brown Shirts for the Capitalistocracy of America but in prestigious universities like Harvard and Yale?

Obama and Emanuel are Harvard grads. Obama is basically carrying out a pro-Israeli agenda even as his Chief of Staff kicks the Left in its ass, gouges its eyes and mugs for the camera like Il Duce as if this was a WWF Smackdown. Obama the transformative man transforms into Obama the Bird of Prey warrior when it comes to denying Palestinians their due, or staying the course in Iraq, or plunging into the quagmire of Afghanistan, or chastising corporate leaders for taking tens of billions of dollars worth of bonuses (a finger-wagging doggie treat for the People) while delivering trillions of taxpayer dollars to those same monied few without absolute terms of repayment, or when defending our way of life (a way of life made possible only by Capitalism's rape and pillaging of the Third World that continues to this very moment).

The Obama above isn't the Obama for whom we voted. Not by our standards, but his very own conveyed as they were in his many speeches, his own words. President Obama now slavishly serves Corporatist and Israeli agendas. How to explain such an inexplicable turnaround if not for the Queen of Hearts (subconscious trigger) having been played by Chief of Staff and Israeli citizen, Rahm Emanuel?

[*] The "oil shock of the 1970s" was the Arab world's unified [OPEC] response to Israel's 1973 pre-emptive Yom Kippur War.