Thursday, July 10, 2008

Time Capsule= Election Shmelection 08: Obamaphobia, red baiting and what’s really at stake. By Derek Johnson

When it comes to judging candidates for the American presidency, I’m judging them on how they perceive American power and America’s place in the world. Any president is a tool, of whatever status quo, a corporate tool, a tool of the military state apparatus, an imperialist tool, and an oppressor of those who refuse U.S. dominance. This is of importance to all of us and the people of the world. Who is more competent to use America’s power in the world? Our “Two Party” system is, like many have observed, two wings of the same party, a state party, quite like that of the Soviets. The parties have also made it quite clear they exist solely to perpetuate themselves and serve the whims of business interests rather than the interests of the public. Calls for bi-partisanship just make this truer. We are supposed to be impressed when members of the two parties can agree to serve the same corporate masters? The elections are a sham ritual we partake in the Church of America to feel better—we know it does nothing, but we go through the motions like lapsed Catholics still attending mass. This is a changing of the guards. We lie to ourselves that these politicians will take up our pet causes and occasionally do the right thing. How many millions are the campaigns raise and spending vis-à-vis American poverty and the economy? How many children are denied a meal as they raise thousands a plate? Even Mister Campaign Finance Reform himself is breaking all the rules he helped impose.

This undemocratic backroom super delegate b. s. disturbed me, but it’s the nature of the beast. The will of the people must be out ruled if they nominate a “non-viable” candidate. Americans hate ties, and we are always inventing overcomplicated tie-breakers. This all may still come down to rock, paper, scissors at the convention I fear. Ultimately our votes clearly do not count in the “real” contests an in the actual election as 200+ years of voting in this republic. No real voting for blacks until after the activism of the 60’s. Suffrage in the 1920’s for women. The Florida 2000 debacle of a Supreme Court (installed by pappy and Ronnie) ruling installing a candidate of questionable vote totals. The governor was W’s brother for Pete’s sake. By backing down, Gore and the Democrats allowed Rove to use the full resources of the government to create a Republican Party apparatus meant to foster a permanent majority. Talk about the forest from the trees. The DLC serves the same masters, so they lost nothing really by letting Bush “win” twice. None of the masters served in American politics include we the people.

Take the factions of the neoliberal DLC “New Democrats” and neocons in the Dems and the faction of the neocons in the RNC. Both parties deserve to collapse from internal schism. With the Dems, a schism to oust DLC/New Democrat/Third Way tyranny could help create a truly progressive party if the Progressive and Black caucuses took over or even left to form a viable third party (Greens), taking progressives, blacks, and anti-war voters. Progressives also get entranced by the siren songs of Wellstone (deceased), Sanders, Feingold, and Kucinich and the Congressional Progressive and Congressional Black Caucuses. All of whom either get outvoted or sell out. Kucinich, like Ron Paul, is a “radical” poseur within his respective statist party, drawing in a wide variety of those disenchanted with the directions of the party. As much as they criticize their parties, they stay in them and keep the votes flowing toward the status quo---no change. “Wait until we gain a majority, then we can make the changes. “ “Now we’re in but to make the progressive changes party members want, that would endanger our chances to remain in power with the next election—keep waiting and come out to vote. I’m sorry change is just not politically viable right now, keep holding out and vote.” “Maybe if you wait more and keep vote along party lines, we can put it on another bill and hope that one is passed.” Republicans under the New Right are worse—total blind loyalty and submission to The Party. No questions, no dissent. We have Crypto-fascists and funny mentalists hijacking democracy to destroy it in the name of partisan politics and religion. How is this democracy? Where is our representation? You vote politicians in with the promise they will carry out your mandate and they do what their donors want. The Democrats have made an art of short-term election strategies at the expense of actual action. Two parties locked in permanent election cultures. It’s a miracle we don’t still have segregation and child labor. Republicans could have returned to their pre-neocon status and returned to consistent conservative philosophies and maybe purged the Religious Right to its own lunatic third party while giving neocons the heave-ho. They could have backed Paleocon Paul or stronger conservative candidate, but the need to be in power no-matter-what has forced the party in line behind McCain, who must pacify the RR and cult of Reaganites. The Democrats seem to want to hand this election to McCain. I truly believe Hillary and Obama both are selfish in their quests of self over party. A Democratic victory, by all accounts is seen as a sure thing. Republican rule has outworn its welcome by all sides. The Democratic Party is endangering what should an easy win after the disastrous chimp’s reign. Why jeopardize all this now? The Democratic candidates have spent debates sucking the enthusiasm out of the room proving how alike they are, leaving viewers waiting for that “--but here’s where we disagree”. This was so and got worse when it came down to Edwards, Obama, and Clinton. Obama throws in that “but” as if it is revolutionary in contrasting him from Clinton. How about running against Bush’s failures and contrast how you would do a better job when McCain offers more of the same? Run against conservatism and conservative policies that remove the government from doing its actual jobs? I get the vibe it’s like the Democrats don’t want to win in the same twisted way the Republicans need to be underdog insurgents to perform best. For my money the Republicans are set to implode and lash out during the 08 elections. Probably taking out their rage on issues like immigration and gay marriage is obvious, but the worst among them can freak out at a woman or a black man running for president.

The permanent election culture on the Republican side created a Rovian Republican Party Permanent Majority Apparatus helped its members stay in power in 2002 using dirty tricks, helped an incumbent president Stay in 2004.

This RRPPM utilizes the very Civil Rights division of the “Justice” Dept. protecting voter rights to disenfranchise voters. I fear it will take years to unravel these machinations exposed by the prosecutor firings and the railroading of a Democratic governor. The scandal of the voting machines brought in to alleviate past problems that make elections easier to steal is breathtaking. The recent Supreme Court voter I.D. ruling in Indiana that will allow partisan shenanigans is shocking, yet expected. We already seeing foreshadow of future RRPMA shenanigans meant to ease McLoon into office. Not a surprise.

All these voices essentially saying: “That’s all true folks, but vote this time! It may count!”----that is to me more cynical than thinking our vote doesn’t count in the first place. How many times must we be screwed to wake up and refuse to repeat past unsuccessful behavior and expect better results? Is that not the definition of insanity?

All I will say about Sen. John “The Maverick” McCain is that he as much as Shrub is the second coming of Woodrow Wilson. He was a neocon before W and loves war the way I see it. He is now pro-torture when he was anti before and promises us more wars. He hasn’t gotten over losing Vietnam and is in denial in the face of losing Iraq because it challenges his lust for Pax Americana. When I see him, I get: “I am at death’s door, my friend; I will bring you with me.” He would be a catastrophic disaster for us and the people of the world. He represents the worst tendencies in U.S. politics. His goal is to continue Bush and use American might as a belligerent force to put rest of world in their place. He is running on everything Americans have come to denounce as wrong about Bush’s policies, yet that connection is not obvious to the public. “Vote for me, I will continue a way that does not work. I will drag the world further into chaos and keep us at war.” The MSM gives McLoon a similar free pass to the one that let W coast and attack ‘Know-it-all Al’. He seems like a very slow car crash. I fear his chances would be cinched if W bombs Iran on his way out or in the event of a terrorist attack or threat near the election. I’m waiting for that new Osama bin Laden video to drop.

I will focus my attention to the remaining Democrats now most likely to win. What an interesting political moment in U.S. history. Not only after an eight year national nightmare, it a may soon come to an end, but a woman and a man of African descent may very well become the new president. That is much welcome change despite the specific woman and the man of African descent.

My problem with Hillary Rodham Clinton is that she has always been a closet Republican trying to pull the party to the right from the top-down. Hillary’s tactics are quite clear and her tactics to destroy him and muscle her way into power is disturbing. She sees her ascent to imperatrix as inevitable and owed to her like a hereditary monarch. She has postured herself as such, turning many off. She is due her “turn”, damn the rest of the party. Damn the voters, damn the votes. She is no doubt muscling the folks in “the back rooms” to coerce the delegates and super delegates to see her case. l have long sensed an authoritarian streak in her. Her behavior and rhetoric does little to change my mind. Mandatory healthcare punishing people if they don’t settle for a shit private system “affordable” to them. Really? I see a taste of her views of state power vs. individual rights right there. What else would she use the power of the state to coerce people to do? All her talk that THE PARTY will survive, etc. sounds very Soviet. Dems should all get in line with what the party decides and shut up and vote accordingly. She has framed everything to cast Obama as an unfair attacker if he defends his case. Let’s not forget the racial overtones of a black man attacking a white woman. She castigates his campaign to play fair, then moves in for the cheap strike, paralyzing his response. She is cynically setting things up to use charges of sexism. Thanks again, race bait the man and then fall back with sexism as a defense! And what of all the blacks not voting for her? Why, they are all sexist and (“reverse”) racist! She is just a zealous true believer in neoliberalism (she squirmed trying to “bad talk” NAFTA---like a fundamentalist “attacking” the tenets of their faith for show with a secular audience. Imagine Huckabee saying to a gay audience that Jesus was gay just to pander. Just isn’t going to happen. The faux cries of elitism! She actually opened that can of worms. The Clintons have always been about sacrificing the progressive and now an anti-war as well base to pull in racist Reagan democrats Blue Dogs. Why alienate your allies to get strangers that will never side with you? Race-baiting and pitting Feminist vs. blacks in a battle of second class citizens at this time is very telling. That brings back memories of racist suffragettes. I have observed pro-Clinton feminists walking a razor’s edge of racist (Ferraro) comments. She is actually making the case that she can get the whites who won’t vote for Obama. Hillary and the DLC’s new “sunbelt strategy” for targeting the electorate have shown a willingness to push aside blacks and court the angry white man vote. I think African-Americans are being “told” they are no longer needed. She seemed to make a fatal shark jump with her comments about RFK’s assassination when desperately commenting on past pre-nomination surprises. I got her meaning, but she refused to take the full (U.S. history) subtext of assassination into account especially vis-à-vis Barack Obama (given the real fear and possibility of his assassination) or apologize directly to him. Even in apologizing for a slip up, she calculatingly words the apology to sleight Obama. What does that say from a character standpoint? How many lines must she cross? Clinton’s refusal to concede when Obama announced his victory was amazing. She’s hoping for any Hail Mary number game to impress the super delegates at the zero hour. She time and again illustrated her willingness to drag the nomination fight to the convention. Her speech on Obama’s big night consciously refused to acknowledge his victory and her defeat. She spoke to a hermetically sealed captive audience cut off from outside communication seemingly to keep the crowd’s demeanor upbeat. What a perfect metaphor for the anti-reality bubble her followers live in. Instead, sticking to her spiel over the Michigan and Florida votes, she rallied followers to flood her website with emails she planned to show as more evidence she should be installed? Really? Luckily, she cracked to pressure from her own supporters to concede by the end of that week rather than stretch her decision making over the next few weeks. What was she thinking taking weeks to come to a conclusion? Worse yet, following that debacle, she tried to muscle her way into the VP office. After uniting with Obama, she and her husband have for money to pay off her doomed campaign. (Many Obama supporters refuse after what she pulled! Kudos to them) All this talk about reuniting a divided party she divided is quite humorous. She should share the same fate as Joe Lieberman and face expulsion from the party. She burned all the bridges and started lighting the ashes. This episode in campaign politics has given me enough proof Hillary Rodham-Clinton is unfit for the presidency. She could not, would not, listen to the people, facts, and signs around her when her ill planned and executed strategy failed. She did not know when to quit. We want this person in charge of the military? Her political career should be over.

Now, I don’t want to hate on a successful and powerful brother just because, but my problem with Barack Obama is that he is a centrist posing as a populist. He tries to be all things to all people. His first target audience was progressives. Progressives were warned he was just positioning himself. He has proven to be a pro at Clintonian/New Democrat triangulation. I have been reading and agreeing w/ Glen Ford and Adolph Reed’s assessments/critique of Obama and watched them attacked harshly for pointing out the reality of Barack Obama vs. the Myth.

He has branded his campaign brilliantly in its simplicity. He has positioned himself as the “Hope Candidate”, leaving his opponents to run on an anti-hope ticket. Basically, he argues is that he, not Hilary would make a better imperator than John McCain. Obama’s change rhetoric does not hold up to serious policy scrutiny. What is so revolutionary and “paradigm” changing about what he is preaching? In policy he is the same as Clinton. I appreciate the magnitude of Barack Obama being the first African American president of the United States of America. The thought of a black face for the leadership of America to rest of world is revolutionary. Black and brown people around the world would feel a sense of shared pride for all his victory would entail. He shamefully plays it down in favor of pushing a color blindness myth that compartmentalizes his race as irrelevant to the matter. I shudder at a black face on empire presiding over a new rape of Africa. That and all the other realities of American power he is at the wheel of makes his victory bittersweet and heartbreaking. He promises a “new way” of doing things in DC, but he never goes into detail of how he will make it happen. Barack claims he is not beholden to special interests, yet the facts say otherwise. His selling of American exceptionalism is to be expected from one running for that office, but his platitudes touting the “American Dream” when increasing people are being completely fucked by their government just looks out of touch with reality. The person running for president, again, must be the best salesperson of that bag of goods. I understand that, but he seems to be building a house of cards that must weather the intrusions of a harsh reality. Like Hillary, to appease the masters, he must attack any populist critique (like Edwards’, who is a New Democrat by the way) or solutions. Mentioning class is off the table of course. No offending the rich. Can’t remind them of the poverty their wealth causes, lest you be tarred a class warfare-stirring Marxist! In keeping with this mentality, Obama has made statements to the extent of “This campaign is NOT about poor against rich.” and “Rich care about poor.” Even statements like :“We are all together, Democrats, Independents, Republicans.” Yadda yadda yadda…

Obama the past organizer fought attacks on workers' rights to organize & strike. He panders to immigration themes and wants more border security and a bigger border wall. He wants to patrol the Canadian and Mexican borders, and voting YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. He says that colleges must allow military recruiters for ROTC on campus. He promised to repeal PATRIOT Act, and then voted for it. Though Iraq proves why we shouldn’t police the world, he wants to expand the size of the military, reaching the opposite conclusion. He won’t commit to completely removing a troop presence in Iraq. He wants to go after Al Qaeda in Pakistan as an invasion, whether Pakistan lets us or not. He voted against funding more money for Amtrak. The money he’s getting from the nuke industry to push nuclear as a clean alternative. His rhetoric of a different kind of politics is bullshit and sets him up for being attacked as a hypocrite/flip-flopper by all sides. All I want to know how much of a neoliberal he is compared to H.C. Clinton. We know he’s been removed from the DLC. I sensed glaring tactical spinelessness in the face of The Crying Clinton positioning herself as a victim being ruthlessly attacked by the big bad men(thanks for going there H!)

Questioning ones religion is part of the “new” red baiting and secularists/atheists and Muslims are the new “reds”. The low points of religion in America got to invade public discourse. How do Democrats deal with the intrusion of personal religion (monopolized by authoritarian religion) in politics? They perceive their electoral failures as a failure to pander to religious nuts! Democrats come across even more condescending when pandering to the religious. Speaking of which, the Religious Right Born-Agains will never vote for a Dem. Yet they are pandered to at the expense of secularists (or even mainline religionists that keep it to themselves). Or trying to identify with the working class their policies have screwed for that matter. The working poor and middle class vote for two parties that work against their interests. As un/anti-religious as I am, all this talk by the media about what a pastor should talk about in the pulpit sets off many alarms for me. Obama walked into this by thinking he can prove how acceptable he is by virtue of going to church. Or as Glen Ford pit it: here His agnostic mother raised him ecumenically, which is the experience of many Americans, myself included. Had he not chosen a Christian church he would be attacked as an evil agnostic. It’s used as evidence he is a secret Muslim. He joins a church to work in the community then leaves his church because of campaign politics. His changing churches and “misjudgment” of Wright is used as proof his choices are suspect and he’s a secret Muslim by the loony right. Will he now be attacked for being between churches? Whatever church he chooses, too, will be put under scrutiny. He is being attacked for his associations not unlike a victim of McCarthyism. He is being given a religious test. Rather than denouncing it he is trying to ace said test. He has reached out to the wrong Evangelicals and tried to bribe them with more faith-based bullshit. It all makes sense to my little mind now! It’s not pandering to special interests when those interests aren’t the African American community.

Obama proves to me that the worst enemy of a black man is a black man. He helped the status quo neutralize an effective community social justice organizer while hanging out with parasite like “Bishop” TD Jakes who is infecting the African American community with the Prosperity Gospel. Bill Moyers said it all in his commentary.

Black churches are essentially being dictated to about the proper topics for the pulpit. Black Liberation theology is under attack for the very reason it is not politically correct in its relation to state power why should churches be “patriotic”? Dems can’t grasp that the religious litmus test they fail is that they are not the “correct” religion---they can never be religious enough no matter how much they claim. Why can’t they see it? White partisan theocrats are politically correct Hagee, Franklin Graham, Rod Parsley, Pat Robertson, Dobson, Huckabee all purveyors of hate speech and ultranationlism. The very lack of American nationalism is what’s being contrasted when taking into account the nationalism of the Religious Right that willfully offers itself as an arm of government. Render onto Caesar? Hillary Clinton has been linked to The Fellowship Foundation aka The Christian Mafia with little attention in the MSM. The Family is secretive and authoritarian cult operating in cells gets less press than crazy black preacher. Videos are all over YouTube. The IRS is now investigating UCC that very critical autonomy from the government is dangerous. Look at how the Mormons became nationalistic to get government off their backs and “prove they are American” —this is very reason in favor of church-state separation. Clinton and Obama pandered at Messiah College. Why aren’t they speaking before secular humanists? Where’s my pandering? Millions of Americans are being told the religious approach is superior. I gagged when Obama validated the abstinence-only right’s AIDS work in Africa. No mention of its catastrophic failure in policy and cost in (millions?)lives. Romney’s speech on religion was an existential kick in the nuts. I understand B.O. can’t comment on Sean Bell strategically and its wrong, but his reluctance to broach the popular and un-fringe basic topics of America’s poverty, prison overcrowding, gun violence, mandatory minimum drug sentencing is disturbing. Compare his comments on the Bell verdict w/ his on the OJ verdict. Only O.J.’s judge made a mistake? His comments on the death penalty are laughable in what they say about Democrats.

I don’t expect him to go near police brutality or the drug war, but he isn’t touching “mainstream” criticisms of the American Justice system. He avoids topics of great importance to the black community like the collapsing economy, housing crisis, post-Katrina N.O. His claims of Only One America invalidates the real experiences of the black community as well as all the poor. I am afraid Barack has sufficiently shown that the black community is quite alien to him. That was my fear of Obama and is what I mean by—the loaded “not black enough” statement. The metric of real racial self-consciousness he displays is disturbing. Like him, I too am mixed and have been sufficiently acquainted with the black community and GET IT. I consider myself human, multiracial and part of the African Diaspora. I even lived in Hawaii! My white mother (Obama supporter) is more “black” than Obama! She GETS IT. He is (as am I) “black” by virtue of this country’s absurd One Drop Rule and is treated as such and he makes his delusional racial claims about America. He is being fucked like only a black man in America could be and he denies the actual racial reality! I understand it’s too much nuance for speeches and (racist) media sound bite debates, but come on! His blindness to what Reagan did and meant for African-Americans is astonishing. Clinton “Failure” of welfare reform and overall unraveling of the New Deal is a slight against blacks. The common denominator behind all the urban legends attacking Obama (and Wright) is the radical-negro-as-5th columnist canard similar to the classic questioning of a Jewish person’s national (or dual) loyalty. The Black community’s loyalty has always been questioned. Blacks had to distance themselves from a tradition of socialism in this country. McCarthyism made sure of that. Barack Obama’s view of America is idealistic and inspiring in the vein of JFK/RFK, but AA’s know their own experience with the American nightmare. Working Americans have awoken to the reality of their position in the totem pole. The middle class is increasingly discovering the hoax of upward mobility. Of course they are bitter and angry! There are (maybe not accurate or legitimate) reasons white males are angry including and beyond the Civil Rights era backlash and racist anti-immigration xenophobia. Those are manifestations of an underlying working class anxiety. The middle class sees that its next. Lou Dobbs’ dribble is popular and allowed on CNN for a reason. It’s the same reason Gore and Edwards were thrashed by the elites. The status quo is scared of the masses they wronged and want to co-opt a growing populism emerging from it before it is mobilized against them. The elites seem unconvinced that Obama’s popularity won’t tap this justified anger of the masses and keep testing his loyalty to the elite interests. It really does seem that the love fest with Obama was masking this paranoid racial undercurrent. Media elites appear to be floating ‘non-racist’ excuses to not vote for Obama. The fact that this is a profoundly and historically racist country and culture seems completely lost on this man who should know better. And I believe he does. His Father’s Day channeling of Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Bill Cosby shows how smart this man is.

When Obama was asked at the onerous ABC debate if Wright loves America as much as he,--he does not just say yes! WTF! A chill went down my spine watch him grasp at words. Just like Ernie Hudson’s line in Ghostbusters about when someone asks if you are a god… this often fascist country, if a redbaiter asks you if you or someone else loves this country just say YES! Clarifications and nuances about patriotism and nationalism don’t work when evil s.o.b.’s like the ones in office destroy America and wipe their asses with the Constitution and can be patriotic by virtue of flag pins. He now wears that flag pin religiously.

Conclusion= This is where America is today. So much is at stake with the 2008 election. People die from failed politics and bad policies, and I think that has dawned on more Americans than during the 2004 election. And like the U.S. Woodrow Wilson era, domestic political repression has returned with a Post 9-11 red scare, the PATRIOT Act, a Green Scare, immigrant round ups, Americans’ patriotism questioned and civil rights violations galore by the state. The Democrats have shown they are not just content to fold to this new red baiting by Republicans, but they will exploit it for their own agendas. They have made it clear with their telecomm immunity vote they have contempt for the Constitution and our rights. Here’s a list of the serious problems we face in 2008 while Obama triangulates:

· Unending war

· Torture

· The creeping surveillance society and American police state

· climate change

· world starvation

· food riots

· actual terrorism and not just its specter

· pollution

· censorship

· deficit over-spending

· corporate welfare and fraud

· rising oil prices

· health care

· widening inequality gap

· economic recession

· millions losing homes to loan scams

· prison overcrowding

· the gutting of the middle class

· media consolidation

· peak oil

· reproductive rights

· LGBT rights

· Civil rights

· Human rights

· Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

· Indefinite U.S. Iraqi occupation

· Genocide

· Chemical/bio/nuclear weapon proliferation

· Religious fundamentalism

· economic exploitation

· internet neutrality

· racism

In these critical times, the planet Earth cannot afford a McCain presidency, yet voters seriously consider him. I seriously don’t see him winning unless his campaign’s much hoped for terrorist attack occurs or a repeat of 2000. Honestly, Barack Obama offers little change. The people now see nobody will stand up for them and their interests, being offered more of the same. No real solutions to the real problems facing Americans and the world as a whole are being offered. These politicians need to stop fucking around. Unfortunately Barack Obama has given us glimpses and tastes of what kind of presidential power he may wield, and it is not refreshing or surprising. He has made the case to those listening that he will be a willing tool (again--- of whatever status quo, a corporate tool, a tool of the military state apparatus, an imperialist tool) He is making promises to be an oppressor of those who refuse U.S. dominance with his threats against Iran, etc. His vote on the telecomm immunity proves his respect for the Constitution as a Constitutional scholar, lawyer, and future taker of an oath to uphold the document and all it entails. What amendments and rights will President Obama be willing to violate?

I am Nowhere near a democrat. The Green Party is the only one with a just platform I can agree with, but their battle is beyond uphill given our one party reality. The sobering reality of American electoral politics gives me more than enough motivation to not vote at all. If at all, you should vote for whomever, hold your nose and hope for the best. Sounds like faith to me, but these are the Reasons I may not vote. Great case made here on Counterpunch. The costs motivate me equally to get out and vote as well, The whole “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Shtick is a cheap ad hominem to silence doubters and apostates of the Church of America’s ritual. The thought can be paralyzing when internalized, but when taken to the logical conclusion. If my vote indeed counted, and I voted in a monster, is that not my fault? One can only act on their conscience, and the options of such should include opting out. I definitely would not vote for McCain. I’m a sucker for voting for the first black president even out of a solidarity he may not share.

1 comment:

Zeno said...

Please excuse the blank spots. Had HTML problems while posting.Just highlight to read "invisible" text.