Monthly Archives: July 2011
Nordic avenger Anders Breivik, in executing his murderous attacks last Friday in Oslo has forever had his ticked punched as a heroic figure to the extreme right-wingers of the same sort that have eaten America from within with their virulent hatred. Breivik or Anders Behring Breivik in sticking with the favored propaganda technique of the thoroughly rotten media who since the days of Lee Harvey Oswald always assign all three names to political murderers, a blond-haired blue-eyed fanatic was a Christian who loved guns, hated Muslims and “cultural Marxists” slaughtered 76 people in a rampage that rocked Norway. The majority of Breivik’s victims were gunned down at a government youth camp on Utoeya Island where the shooter, dressed as a policeman conjured up dark European memories of the Waffen SS as he carried out his executions in an icily detached militaristic manner. Using high-capacity magazines purchased from the U.S., the terrorist stalked and taunted his victims, laughing as he ended their lives in a hail of bullets and vengeful fury. Breivik brought to mind notorious American terrorist Timothy McVeigh when he built a massive bomb, using up to six tons of fertilizer to detonate in front of government offices near the Parliament building. Fortunately for Norway, the fertilizer bomb was not as devastating as the one that took down the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City back in 1995 or the carnage and body count would have been far worse. Breivik, like McVeigh is a Christian and this fact is downplayed in the American media in the standard cynical attempt to not have the powerful “terrorist” label applied to a non-Muslim.
It had to happen: the rise of a “counter-jihadist” terrorist outfit that is the mirror image of al-Qaeda. That it first arose in Norway, rather than, say, in the US, is just a coincidence, although I’m sure Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the Norwegian mass murder in Utoya, has his American collaborators, as he claimed in his manifesto, “2083: A Declaration of European Independence,” [.pdf] and an accompanying video. Indeed, a good many of the sources he cites in “2083″ – which is basically a compendium of previously published works by others – are American. Material from David Horowitz’s website, Frontpagemag.com, figures prominently, along with articles taken verbatim from the Horowitz-affiliated “Jihad Watch,” run by professional hater and make-believe “scholar” Robert Spencer.
Breivik’s “book” is a mishmash, half diary of his careful preparations for the attack thrown together with anti-Muslim materials and boilerplate conservative rhetoric about the importance of faith, family, and community – Breivik lifts an entire section of a screed on “Cultural Conservatism” by the late Paul Weyrich – totaling well over a thousand pages. Thankfully, we don’t have to plough through this disjointed “compendium,” as he calls it – which shows signs of being hastily thrown together in preparation for his international debut as the Norwegian Timothy McVeigh, just like his Facebook page and his Twitter account. Breivik created a much more coherent video version which gives us a lot more clues about why he murdered 90-plus (at last count) of his fellow Norwegians in the name of fighting Islam.
For much of the day yesterday, the featured headline on The New York Times online front page strongly suggested that Muslims were responsible for the attacks on Oslo; that led to definitive statements on the BBC and elsewhere that Muslims were the culprits. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote a whole column based on the assertion that Muslims were responsible, one that, as James Fallows notes, remains at the Post with no corrections or updates. The morning statement issued by President Obama — “It’s a reminder that the entire international community holds a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring” and “we have to work cooperatively together both on intelligence and in terms of prevention of these kinds of horrible attacks” — appeared to assume, though (to its credit) did not overtly state, that the perpetrator was an international terrorist group.
But now it turns out that the alleged perpetrator wasn’t from an international Muslim extremist group at all, but was rather a right-wing Norwegian nationalist with a history of anti-Muslim commentary and an affection for Muslim-hating blogs such as Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugged,Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch. Despite that, The New York Times is still working hard to pin some form of blame, even ultimate blame, on Muslim radicals (h/t sysprog):
Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking Al Qaeda’s brutality and multiple attacks.
“If it does turn out to be someone with more political motivations, it shows these groups are learning from what they see from Al Qaeda,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New America Foundation in Washington.
Al Qaeda is always to blame, even when it isn’t, even when it’s allegedly the work of a Nordic, Muslim-hating, right-wing European nationalist. Of course, before Al Qaeda, nobody ever thought to detonate bombs in government buildings or go on indiscriminate, politically motivated shooting rampages. The NYT speculates that amonium nitrate fertilizer may have been used to make the bomb because the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, owned a farming-related business and thus could have access to that material; of course nobody would have ever thought of using that substance tomake a massive bomb had it not been for Al Qaeda. So all this proves once again what a menacing threat radical Islam is.
My first reaction was to be pretty surprised about how—or not really surprised, but just struck by how intense the media coverage was and the media interest was in this attack. Obviously, it was a heinous attack. When a government building blows up, when someone goes on an indiscriminate shooting rampage aimed at teenagers, it’s horrific. And yet, at the same time, the United States and its allies have brought killing like this, violence like this, to numerous countries around the world that receives a tiny fraction of the attention that this attack received, a tiny—it prompts a tiny fraction of the interest in denouncing it and in declaring it to be evil. And it just struck me that when we think that Muslims are responsible for violence aimed at Western nations, it receives a huge amount of attention in the American media, and yet when the United States brings violence on that level to Muslim countries, kills an equal number of civilians, dozens of people killed by drone attacks and the like, and tons of people killed that way over Afghanistan over the past decade, it barely registers. I mean, an attack like this, this level of death in Iraq, for example, or Afghanistan, would barely register on the media scale.
The other aspect of it, though, is what you referenced in your question, which is, when it was widely assumed, based on basically nothing, that Muslims had been responsible for this attack and that a radical Muslim group likely perpetrated it, it was widely declared to be a “terrorist” attack. That was the word that was continuously used. And yet, when it became apparent that Muslims were not involved and that, in reality, it was a right-wing nationalist with extremely anti-Muslim, strident anti-Muslim bigotry as part of his worldview, the word “terrorism” almost completely disappeared from establishment media discourse. Instead, he began to be referred to as a “madman” or an “extremist.” And it really underscores, for me, the fact that this word “terrorism,” that plays such a central role in our political discourse and our law, really has no objective meaning. It’s come to mean nothing more than Muslims who engage in violence, especially when they’re Muslims whom the West dislikes.
That you would think that—you would think that in response to this attack, we would end up doing things like, for example, profiling Nordic males or tall, blond Americans, tall, blond, Nordic-looking people at airports, or would start to, for example, engage in surveillance on the communications of people who belong to right-wing groups in Europe, or you look at the people who inspire these attacks, people like Robert Spencer or Pamela Geller, people who engage in this sort of strident anti-Muslim commentary who inspired this individual. You know, we look at Islamic radicals who we allege inspire violence, such as Anwar al-Awlaki, and we target them for assassination—due-process-free killing—even though they’re American citizens. Of course, none of these measures are going to be invoked against right-wing ideologues who are anti-Muslim in nature. And you would expect that Peter King’s hearings, if he were really interested in the threat of violence or terrorism, would be expanded to include what we now know is a very real threat, and yet it isn’t, which simply underscores that those hearings, like so many of these measures done in the name of terrorism, is really just a vehicle for demonizing Muslims, restricting their rights, subjecting them to increased scrutiny. It’s about Islamophobia and not about terrorism.
The major candidates for the Republican nomination for the presidency, including Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, along with television personalities such as Bill Maher, routinely employ hate talk against Muslims as a way to attract votes or viewers. Right-wing radio and cable news, including Christian radio and television, along with websites such as Jihad Watch and FrontPage, spew toxic filth about Muslims over the airwaves and the Internet. But perhaps most ominously—as pointed out in “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace,” a report by PoliticalResearch Associates—a cadre of right-wing institutions that peddle themselves as counterterrorism specialists and experts on the Muslim world has been indoctrinating thousands of police, intelligence and military personnel in nationwide seminars. These seminars, run by organizations such as Security Solutions International, The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, and International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association, embrace gross and distorted stereotypes and propagate wild conspiracy theories. And much of this indoctrination within the law enforcement community is funded under two grant programs for training—the State Homeland Security Program and Urban Areas Security Initiative—which made $1.67 billion available to states in 2010. The seminars preach that Islam is a terrorist religion, that an Islamic “fifth column” or “stealth jihad” is subverting the United States from within, that mainstream American Muslims have ties to terrorist groups, that Muslims use litigation, free speech and other legal means (something the trainers have nicknamed “Lawfare”) to advance the subversive Muslim agenda and that the goal of Muslims in the United States is to replace the Constitution with Islamic or Shariah law.
The effects of this campaign of racial hatred are being felt throughout the Muslim community. Those with Muslim names are routinely harassed at airports, and many who wear traditional Muslim dress report mounting cases of verbal and sometimes physical abuse. Muslim children endure taunts in schools. Muslims complain of intrusive surveillance, unconstitutional profiling and frequent mistreatment by law enforcement. The practice of Islam, especially in its traditional forms, is now viewed by many as a sign of criminal intent. And with the rise of the surveillance and security state—we now have 854,000 people working in our domestic security apparatus and 800,000 more employed as police and emergency personnel—national law is being turned into an instrument of overt repression against a religious minority.
To me personally, the most shocking thing about Breivik’s killing spree is that it happened in Norway and not right here in Der Homeland. There has long been a very sinister campaign to foment anti-Muslim bigotry, the coin of the realm for the neocon right-wing and their Christian Zionist brigades, this has been especially the case since 9/11, the American Reichstag Fire but has spiked with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. While Obama has still maintained the boot-licking fealty of the United States government towards the state of Israel he has been less deferential to the war-crazed Netanyahu regime than his predecessors. With right-wing Likudniks and their neocon American fifth-column hellbent on igniting a global conflagration that will make WW II look like a skirmish by unleashing an attack on Iran they have found Obama to be a recalcitrant obstacle to their agenda and one that must be removed. It has been monumentally helpful to the Israeli extreme right to have been able to manifest it’s policies within the pseudo populist pack of useful idiots that is the Tea Party who will never be able to accept a black man in the WHITE House.
In Obama, pretty much a feckless, worthless stooge of Wall Street looters in my opinion and by the actions of his lamentable administration has proven to be a classic villain to the fascist American right. The very fact that Obama’s skin is of a darker pigmentation ensures that there will always be a driving counter-force among that certain element of the population that are hardened, multi-generational racists but when the sleazy insinuations that he is illegitimate resonates throughout the degenerate Republican party base. Note the potency of the incredibly asinine long-running farce about his birth certificate that only came to a head when the ultra-slimy opportunist pigfucker Donald Trump actually was gathering momentum as some sort of dark horse candidate with his noise pollution about said document. The one moment when Obama finally proved to have a small degree of political canniness came when he produced the birth certificate, blew up the pompous asshole Trump in a brutally mocking monologue at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and for good measure announced the extra-judicial assassination of one time CIA asset Osama bin Laden the same weekend. That the entire Birther movement blew up as the carnival of idiocy that it always was and the black propaganda campaign that was being prepped and was ready to roll out with another bulk purchase extravaganza book by the loathsome ass Jerome Corsi and promoted by Joseph Farah and Fox went up like so much a bag of flaming dogshit only temporarily halted the onslaught. The armies of darkness that are the fascist shocktroops regrouped and will not so easily be chastened as they troll for killers, brutes and goons and the American Anders Breivik.
Glenn Beck pushes the narrative that Obama has betrayed Israel and as the defacto leader of the Republican fascist Tea Party movement is going to be an integral figure in mustering the troops against the infidel Obama. Beck has already been across the pond hitting the hustings over in God’s chosen land, honing his chops for the big show next year by preaching well established lies about the “vaporization of Israel” and accumulating the necessary gravitas with the extremist Netanyahu-Lieberman government to mobilize the domestic fifth-column. Beck has a highly publicized, massive anti-Obama rally slated to be rolled out in the holy land later in August which in another of those slick Orwellian bumper sticker slogans has been dubbed Restoring Courage. The Jerusalem Beck rally that is a warmup to the many domestic Nuremberg style events is being heavily pimped by American Christian fascist groups, notably radical cleric Pat Robertson among many others. The hard core Israeli ideologues have long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the Religious Right, just as they do with European racist groups in promoting the anti-Muslim crusade. Rather than venture too deeply into the wormhole that is the long-running Israeli penetration of U.S. based religious groups, likely much of it through the head of the serpent that is The Council For National Policy , I will save that for another time because there is plenty to be said. Rest assured, the level is ominous and represents, and I am not engaging in excessive hyperbole – an existential threat to whatever remains of our once vibrant democracy.
When Beck is finished polishing his act and the Republican candidates are well into their anti-Muslim rhetoric, a good deal of which is already being pushed by the likes of guaranteed losers like Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and their ilk look for a multi-billion dollar blitz of rancid propaganda featuring the conjured up threat of the replacement of the Constitution with Sharia Law and the Antichrist that is Barack Hussein Obama as the cat’s paw of the reconstructed Islamic caliphate. Leave it to the idiot choir to foment the hatred and rouse the rabble, much like Palin did at her ugly 2008 campaign rallies where the most base instincts of the moral reprobates were sated with accusations that Obama was “palling around with terrorists” and that sleazy little Obsession DVD was sent out in the Sunday papers of millions of Americans in crucial political battleground states. Many of the same people whose work was inspirational to Anders Breivik were also associated with the Obsession DVD including David Horowitz and his malignantly depraved pals. It was no coincidence that Muslim children were gassed at a Dayton, Ohio mosque during Ramadan during that period. The man who is likely going to benefit the most from the ongoing debt ceiling tango by leveraging his Tea Party clout to overthrow the drunken idiot John Boehner as Speaker of the House is one Eric Cantor who has much riding on the promotion of anti-Muslim sentiment. The rising star Cantor is the go to guy in the Republican party when it comes to promoting the interests of Israel over those of the United States. Cantor not only was a co-sponsor of a Capitol Hill screening of the Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West in 2006 but recently also promoted another propaganda film by the Clarion Fund entitled Iranium which advocates a first strike against Iran before it is able to obtain nuclear capability. Look for this meme to be central to the 2012 Republican campaigns. Cantor is of immense value to the extremist Israeli agenda and provides a critical bridge to the Tea Party and the Republican Evangelical Christian base. Note this story from The Baltimore Jewish Times:
Cantor knows that it’s good branding to be known as the only Jewish congressman in the House majority — if nothing else, it gives him a monopoly of sorts.
“It increased his influence a thousand-fold,” says William Daroff, a lobbyist for the Jewish federation system. When he lends his name to events like a Capitol Hill screening of a new anti-Iran movie, “Iranium,” produced by the conservative Clarion Fund, “it just gives it much more of a hechsher [special certification],” Daroff says.
But his efforts to combat earmarks and budget waste come before any ethnic solidarity: Jay Ipson, head of the Virginia Holocaust Museum, says Cantor had proven unwilling to secure federal grants for the organization he’d helped get up and running. “He was at one point thinking about getting us financial help from Washington, but then when the economy started looking not so good, he swore off any assistance for anybody,” says Ipson, a Holocaust survivor from Lithuania who is known for wearing a cowboy hat everywhere, including synagogue.
When asked about his Jewish Republican status, Cantor says, “You know, my faith goes with me in everything I do. … You know, again, I don’t think you ever go far from sort of the moral compass that you were given when you were brought up in faith. So I can only say that I grew up in a very active and vibrant Jewish community, and then a larger civic community in Richmond that didn’t happen to be Jewish also contributed to who I am and what kind of officeholder I hopefully am.”
Many of Cantor’s most ardent supporters aren’t Jewish. When John McCain called Richard Land, of the Southern Baptist Convention, in the summer of 2008 looking for advice on who to pick as a running mate — at a time when Lieberman, who campaigned for McCain, was being mentioned as a contender — Land suggested the Arizona senator look at Cantor, who was already doing Jewish outreach for the campaign. (The other person Land recommended in that call was Sarah Palin.)
“Cantor would have helped tremendously in states which would be a very close race, in Virginia, obviously, but in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and he’s the only Republican in Congress who’s Jewish and pro-life,” says Land. “He stood out as a comer from the very beginning — he’s very bright, very energetic, very concerned about the issues we care about.”
Juanita Duggan, the former Philip Morris lobbyist, echoed Land’s comments and told me a story about spiriting Cantor to a Tax Foundation dinner when he was still in freshman orientation, after the 2000 election.
“He knew just what to do,” Duggan says proudly. Then, she joked, “I am the honorary chair of the ‘Eric Cantor for President 2012’ committee.” When I asked her why, she says a Jewish nominee would cement the idea of the GOP as “the pro-Israel party” — just as it would also ease the path of a Southern conservative to the White House.
“Having the first Jewish president be a Republican,” she says, brightly, “would be a wonderful thing.”
In rolling out newly acquired heavy artillery like Beck and CUFI the neocons are about to get back into the game – not that they ever truly left.
While I remain unconvinced that the ongoing Punch and Judy show over the raising of the national debt ceiling is nothing more but a gambit to destroy Social Security and Medicare, leading to their theft and redirection to the depraved gamblers on Wall Street there is one thing that is certain – the Republican party is a terrorist organization. I have long maintained this very simple truth about this deranged pack of anti-American fascist jackals and their relentless army of neo-confederates, Rapture zombies, teabagger freaks whose blistering hatred for traditional American values is every bit as advanced and savage as their 1930’s German historical counterparts once was. They are looking for the conditions where the system can be damaged to the point where the berserkers can be loosed, goaded on to engage in pogroms and the smorgasbord of scapegoats that are regularly served up by the likes of Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, Glenn Beck and thousands of even more vile although lesser paid instigators until the streets run red with blood. Providing that the debt ceiling “debate” isn’t anything more than another deceptively promoted by a corrupt media shearing of the sheep to keep the Wall Street predators ensconced in their mansions in the Hamptons and partying on their yachts and private jets this may be the time that the shit really does hit the fan.
The phony grass roots Tea Party, a post -Bush re-branding of the most rotten, ignorant and vicious elements of the Republican base conjure up comparisons with the Cambodian Khmer Rouge. So intent are these white skinned crybabies at “getting their country back” from the black man in the WHITE House that they clamor for the destruction of the entire country, as the infamous Vietnam saying goes “we had to destroy the village in order to save it”. While the actual effects of not raising the debt ceiling are unknown other than it would blow a hole in the ongoing Wall Street pillaging it would vastly affect the average American schmuck on a far greater level. Assuredly interest rates would rise which the finance industry shills say would hurt lending, as if these scumbags were in the money lending business anyway with banks and corporations hoarding cash but the trickle down effect would likely be devastating. In our uniquely American brand of fascist country trickle down economics aka cutting taxes for the rich has zero benefit for the working class. But as Bush in his waning months and then OBushma in his first two and a half years such schemes are wonderful little hooks to sell the rubes so that the gambling losses of the big Wall Street banks are socialized through government confiscation of taxpayer dollars is just one more knife in the backs of Boobus Americanus. I am amazed at how, on a weekly basis that prices at the local grocery stores continue to rise, gas prices are on the way back to 4 bucks a gallon again and the GOP pledges to focus on job creation have devolved into the standard treasonous pledges to not raise taxes on wealthy chiselers, keep the gays from getting married and out of the military, Muslim bashing and here in the diseased penis of America otherwise known as Florida – anti-bestiality laws. Not that the latter would be a necessarily bad thing were it to encourage the scumbaggers to not reproduce.
But I digress ….
The fascist Republican party as it exists today in the advanced stages of it’s mutation would be nothing more than an object of mockery were it not for the dregs of society that comprise the party base, the serious haters and jacked up on religion crusaders who are hellbent at destroying America from within. They have very serious ideas about the type of society that they desire and would use every bit of law enforcement power of the very government that they so proclaim to despise in order to ensure that their hated enemies, gays, libruls [sic], feminists, Muslims and assorted other non-white, non-Christians. The blacks can be put back in their place because Christ knows that Obama cannot be allowed to reassemble his ACORN forces to mount an assault to enslave the white race and that would happen save the useful boot licking uncle Toms like Allen West, the savage anti-Muslim bigot Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas. The teabaggers and their religious right brothers in arms though have a particular hatred for intellectualism that borders on sheer fanaticism. As I stated earlier, this sort of hard core focused rage and the need to crush all who do not conform under their jack-boots is as vigorous and as unyielding as that of the Khmer Rouge along with their Year Zero social reform policy.
A came across a very horrifying bit from a 1974 Chicago Tribune account on the Khmer Rouge:
“I was very frightened when I saw the Khmer Rouge [Tea Party] saw off the neck of a civilian [gay, Muslim, liberal etc] with the sharp edge of sugar palm leaves,” said Preap, standing amid a cluster of refugees beside a row of flimsy huts.“They spent three days cutting his head off,” said Preap. “They sawed a little one morning, and then in the evening, and finally the following day in the morning and then in the evening, and finally the following day in the morning and night.“They made the victim stand up while there were cutting in front of hundreds of people living in the Khmer Rouge area. Then they held him up when he could stand no longer.”The episode was not just an isolated case but one of many I heard during visits to refugee camps. Khmer Rouge soldiers also have used the knife-like edges of sugar palm leaves to lop off the heads of Cambodian officers captured while overrunning nearby towns and military installations.“They want the victims to suffer more and to serve as examples for people,” said one informant. “They denounce them as traitors before the crowd.”
“I had to join the Khmer Rouge army or they would have killed me,” said Preap. “Those who refuse to serve they send to their deaths. They walk thru villages telling the people to follow them, and the people must obey.”
When the shit does inevitably hit the fan, exactly what the fascist Republican party wants, these will be the enforcers to hunt down dissenters to the privatization of all that remains, the roads already paid for by the taxpayer will be sold to corporations and plutocrats and the tolls will be crippling to those who travel upon them. Public water systems will be hijacked by profiteers and as in Bolivia, the collection of rainwater will become against the law, the populace has already been largely converted into a nation of rats and snitches courtesy of the fear mongering after 9/11 and if you are found in violation you will be subject to having a pack of foaming at the mouth lunatics wearing tri-corner hats, Captain America costumes and waving Gadsden flags show up at your door to cart you off to the public head-sawing. This makes for one hell of a hedge for the oligarchy and their Republican stooges. And this is exactly why I have recommended that progressives start very seriously rethinking their non-violent tendencies, the street thugs will be the first to be unleashed when the whole thing implodes for the regular folks and a failure to be ready to organize and to respond appropriately will only result in your own heads becoming trophies upon the pyramids of human skulls that they will so enjoy building as a tribute to their fascist leaders.
And, now, they’re coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club.”
The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
“If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”
Bear in mind that in conflict you are in almost all occasions confronting an opponent who is determined to win as you should be. This opponent is looking for any sign of weakness on your part, and will be certain to exploit this weakness with as much decisiveness and ferocity that can be brought to bear. If you are not prepared to confront such an opponent, then don’t enter the field of battle. Conflict is not for the faint of heart. In conflict you must be prepared to knock your opponent down, and then, instead of offering a helping hand, hold your opponent down with the heel of your foot while you plunge a bayonet into his or her heart. You can be assured that your opponent would do the same to you.
The American progressive movement has not always been this devoid of leadership and structure. One only need to study the life and achievements of Saul Alinsky, a Chicago-based former criminologist who revolutionized the grassroots movements of the 1950s and 1960s into genuine political movements possessing real political power.
Simply put, if the antiwar/peace and justice movement can attract more people to its cause than their opponents can to theirs, then the antiwar/peace and justice movement will emerge victorious. Therefore, a governing principle when waging peace is to creadt an ideological foundation that is capable of appealing to the broadest possible segment of a given democratic society.
If his advice is taken then what will emerge will be a diverse coalition of interests who now finally understand that the system as it exists is run by global criminals who have no loyalty to America and actively have attacked everything that was great about her while usurping our democracy and undermining our freedoms and economic prowess. Wall Street looters and industrialists have always hated America because there was a system of governance here that afforded rights to all people and not only those with money. It has been a long time coming and the time to act is yesterday.
You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline.
Rich’s piece is about this very failure and I excerpt the following:
What haunts the Obama administration is what still haunts the country: the stunning lack of accountability for the greed and misdeeds that brought America to its gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression. There has been no legal, moral, or financial reckoning for the most powerful wrongdoers. Nor have there been meaningful reforms that might prevent a repeat catastrophe. Time may heal most wounds, but not these. Chronic unemployment remains a constant, painful reminder of the havoc inflicted on the bust’s innocent victims. As the ghost of Hamlet’s father might have it, America will be stalked by its foul and unresolved crimes until they “are burnt and purged away.”After the 1929 crash, and thanks in part to the legendary Ferdinand Pecora’s fierce thirties Senate hearings, America gained a Securities and Exchange Commission, the Public Utility Holding Company Act, and the Glass-Steagall Act to forestall a rerun. After the savings-and-loan debacle of the eighties, some 800 miscreants went to jail. But those who ran the central financial institutions of our fiasco escaped culpability (as did most of the institutions). As the indefatigable Matt Taibbi has tabulated, law enforcement on Obama’s watch rounded up 393,000 illegal immigrants last year and zero bankers. The Justice Department’s ballyhooed Operation Broken Trust has broken still more trust by chasing mainly low-echelon, one-off Madoff wannabes. You almost have to feel sorry for the era’s designated Goldman scapegoat, 32-year-old flunky “Fabulous Fab” Fabrice Tourre, who may yet take the fall for everyone else. It’s as if the Watergate investigation were halted after the cops nabbed the nudniks who did the break-in.Even now, on the heels of Bank of America’s reluctant $8.5 billion settlement with investors who held its mortgage-backed securities, the Obama administration may be handing it and its peers new get-out-of-jail-free cards. With the Department of Justice’s blessing, the Iowa attorney general, Tom Miller, is pushing the 49 other states to sign on to a national financial settlement ending their investigations of the biggest mortgage lenders. What some call a settlement others may find a cover-up. Time reported in April that the lawyer negotiating with Miller for Moynihan’s Bank of America just happened to be a contributor to his 2010 Iowa reelection campaign. If the deal is struck, any truly aggressive state attorneys general, like Eric Schneiderman of New York, will be shut down before they can dig into the full and still mostly uninvestigated daisy chain of get-rich-quick rackets practiced by banks as they repackaged junk mortgages into junk securities.Those in executive suites at the top of that chain have long since fled the scene with the proceeds, while bleeding shareholders, investors, homeowners, and cashiered employees were left with the bills. The weak Dodd-Frank financial-reform law that rose from the ruins remains largely inoperative, since the actual rule-writing was delegated to understaffed agencies now under siege by banking lobbyists and their well-greased congressional overlords. The administration’s much-hyped Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is being sabotaged by Washington Republicans intent on blocking any White House nominee, whether Elizabeth Warren or some malleable hack, to lead it. “We can’t let special interests win this fight,” said Obama when he proposed the agency in October 2009. Well, he missed his moment to fight for both it and Warren, and the special interests won without breaking a sweat.Rather than purge the crash’s crimes, Wall Street’s leaders are sticking to their alibi: Everyone was guilty of fomenting this “perfect storm,” and so no one is. Too-big-to-fail banks are bigger than ever, and Masters of the Universe swagger is back. Even Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, about the only bank chief not to be caught with a suspect balance sheet or a $1,400 office trash can, has taken to channeling Schwarzman. In June, he publicly challenged Ben Bernanke about the intolerable burdens of potential regulation—this despite a 67 percent surge in JPMorgan’s first-quarter profits and a 1,500 percent raise in his own compensation from 2009 to 2010. As good times roar back for corporate America, it’s bad enough that CEOs are collectively sitting on some $1.9 trillion in cash—much of it parked out of the IRS’s reach overseas—instead of hiring. (How many jobs can you buy for $1.9 trillion? America’s total expenditure on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars over a decade has been $1.3 trillion.) But what’s most galling is how many of these executives are sore winners, crying all the way to Palm Beach while raking in record profits and paying some of the lowest tax rates over the past 50 years.The fallout has left Obama in the worst imaginable political bind. No good deed he’s done for Wall Street has gone unpunished. He is vilified as an anti-capitalist zealot not just by Republican foes but even by some former backers. What has he done to deserve it? All anyone can point to is his December 2009 60 Minutes swipe at “fat-cat bankers on Wall Street”—an inept and anomalous Ed Schultz seizure that he retracted just weeks later by praising Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein as “very savvy businessmen.”AND –personal Zelig, the former Clinton Treasury secretary and Harvard Corporation stalwart Robert Rubin. In The Audacity of Hope, published in late 2006, Obama called Rubin, then busily cheerleading the excessive risk at Citigroup, “one of the more thoughtful and unassuming people I know.” Two years later, when Citi cratered and threatened to take the economy with it, Rubin demonstrated his unassuming thoughtfulness by denying that he had anything to do with the toxic investments that cost taxpayers a $45 billion bailout and 52,000 Citi employees their jobs.In his unseemly revolving-door career, Rubin not once but twice sped the Citi apocalypse—first in government, where he and his eventual successor as Treasury secretary, Larry Summers, championed the deregulatory policies that facilitated the consolidation of too-big-to-fail banks, and then in his $15 million-a-year role as Citi’s “guru,” where, by his own later account, he had no idea what was in the worthless paper the bank peddled to greedy dupes. You’d think Obama would have dumped him faster than he did the Reverend Wright, but that’s misreading him. Obama is preternaturally secure on thorny matters of race—as his magnificent speech on the subject made clear—and could distance himself from his preacher with no ambivalence. It’s “unassuming” braininess that’s his blind spot.And so a parade of Rubin acolytes entered the White House, led by Geithner, a nearly lifelong civil servant so identified with the financial Establishment that even Mayor Bloomberg mistakenly introduced him as a Goldman alumnus at a public event in New York last year. It’s Geithner’s influence on policy, however, not his persona, that proved fateful. Not until March 2010 did the White House get its first explicit, modest jobs bill through Congress.Obama had taken office at a true populist moment that demanded more than this. People were gagging over their looted 401(k)s and underwater homes, the AIG bonuses, and the bailouts. Howard Dean rage has never been Obama’s style—hope-and-change was an elegant oratorical substitute—and had he given full voice to the public mood, he would have been pilloried as an “angry black man.” But Obama didn’t have to play Huey Long. He could have pursued a sober but determined execution of justice and an explicit, major jobs initiative—of which there have been exactly none, the too-small stimulus included, to the present day.By failing to address that populist anger, Obama gave his enemies the opening to co-opt it and turn it against him. Which the tea party did, dishonestly but brilliantly, misrepresenting Obama’s health-care-reform crusade as yet another attempt by the elites to screw the taxpayer. (The Democrats haplessly reinforced the charge with marathon behind-the-scenes negotiations with insurance and pharmaceutical-industry operatives.) Once the health-care law was signed, the president still slighted the unemployment crisis. A once-hoped-for WPA-style public-works program, unloved by Geithner, had been downsized in the original stimulus, and now a tardy, halfhearted stab at a $50 billion transportation-infrastructure jobs bill produced a dandy Obama speech but nothing else.Obama soon retreated into the tea-party mantra of fiscal austerity. Short-term spending cuts when spending is needed to create jobs make no sense economically. But they also make no sense politically. The deficit has never been a top voter priority, no matter how loudly the right claims it is. At Obama’s inaugural, Gallup found that 11 percent of voters ranked unemployment as their top priority while only 2 percent did the deficit. Unemployment has remained a stable public priority over the deficit ever since, usually by at least a 2-to-1 ratio. In a CBS poll immediately after the Democrats’ “shellacking” of last November—a debacle supposedly precipitated by the tea party’s debt jihad—the question “What should Congress concentrate on in January?” yielded 56 percent for “economy/jobs” and 4 percent for “deficit reduction.”AND –There’s not much Obama can do to alter the economy by 2012, given the debt-ceiling fight, the long campaign, and nihilistic Capitol Hill antagonists opposed to any government spending that might create jobs and, by extension, help Obama keep his own. But the central question before the nation couldn’t be clearer: Who pays? The taxpayers bailed out the elite; now it’s the elite’s turn to return the favor. Massive cuts to the safety net combined with scant sacrifice from those at the top is wrong ethically and politically. It is, in the truest sense, un-American. Obama knows this, and he hit a welcome note last week when he urged some higher corporate taxes for hedge funds and the like. But his forays in this direction are tentative and sporadic. You have to wonder why he isn’t seizing the moment to articulate and fight for the big picture instead of playing a lose-lose game of rope-a-dope with the Republicans on their budgetary turf.Some Obama fans think it’s tactical genius that’s holding him back—his fabled long ball. Americans are no longer as angry as they were in January 2009 so much as they are defeated, depressed, and jaded by the slow recovery and by four decades of raging inequality that tells them the deck is stacked no matter who’s in Washington. Better, then, not to ruffle these still waters—or those easily rattled independents fetishized by political consultants—and instead scare seniors about imminent Medicare cutbacks and plot deep-think policy initiatives that (like health-care reform) might fix America over time. But the voters’ placidity hardly augurs well for Democratic turnout in 2012. And it may not last. All that’s required is one more economic panic to shatter the phony peace and whip the rage back to center stage, once again to the right’s advantage.“A nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous,” Obama declared at his inauguration. What he said on that bright January morning is no less true or stirring now. For all his failings since, he is the only one who can make this case. There’s nothing but his own passivity to stop him from doing so—and from shaking up the administration team that, well beyond the halfway-out-the-door Geithner and his Treasury Department, has showered too many favors on the prosperous. This will mean turning on his own cadre of the liberal elite. But it’s essential if he is to call the bluff of a fake man-of-the-people like Romney. To differentiate himself from the discredited Establishment, he will have to mount the fight he has ducked for the past three years.The alternative is a failure of historic proportions. Those who gamed the economy to near devastation—so much so that the nation turned to an untried young leader in desperation and in hope—would once again inherit the Earth. Unless and until there’s a purging of the crimes that brought our president to his unlikely Inauguration Day, much more in America than the second term of his administration will be at stake.
The Obama presidency has been one endless series of failures, cave-ins, half-measures, broken campaign promises, capitulations and pissed away opportunities for change. The only good moment for the man who failed to close Gitmo or even better yet send Lloyd Blankfein and the rest of the Wall Street criminals there was the hit on the bad assed bogeyman of the past decade Osama bin Laden, days after a blistering dressing down of the pompous ass that is Donald Trump. Even that was a failure in that Obama failed to use the bully pulpit once again to wave our Emanuel Goldstein’s bloody scalp, perhaps it had something to do with the missing body but you get the point. That the fascist GOP is actually looking like an alternative to Obama in the form of Mitt Romney prancing about I his magic red, white and blue underwear is a stunning example of how badly that Obama has been up to this point. I really loved Rich’s line about the O-Bots, those who are the same type of apologists for Barry O. that drove the left so batshit during the Bush years. Rich wrote “ Some Obama fans think it’s tactical genius that’s holding him back—his fabled long ball.” To this I quote myself from a previous post entitled Money Doesn’t Talk: It Swears:
There will be no help for anybody but the pigs at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase coming from the Obama administration, face it people, the only change that the Pope of Hope really ever stood for was to provlde left cover for the gargantuan upwards redistribution of wealth. Obama is quite obviously even worse than Bush as the wars continue and mount in number (under the malarkey guise of humanitarian interventions), the torture never stops, the constitution continues to be disemboweled and the airports are filled with dooling thugs in TSA uniforms with the full blessing of the U.S. government to feel up pre-pubescent little boys and girls. Hell, Bush never could have gotten away with that one and when it comes to economic relief, Le Enfant Terrible did actually send people checks for $600. I always got a sardonic little kick out of the silly liberals who only made excuses for Obama (and still do) in that he was the chess master, or Michael Jordan just studying the opposing team’s defense and ready to explode at any moment into a whirling dervish of athletic daredeviltry as he broke down the formidable defense of the Bad Boys for the championship hardware. The truth, and it is as dark as the proverbial black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night is that Obama is the chessmaster, it’s checkmate for the working class and he is just like Michael Jordan, a greedy, amoral, selfish millionaire prick who once commented that “Republicans buy sneakers too” rather than doing the right thing in using his global celebrity to promote progressive social change.For some reason Jordan’s famous quote conjures up one of Obama’s, the one where he proclaimed that if Americans were being denied their right to collectively bargain that he would put on his own pair of comfortable shoes and join them on the picket lines. This alas like so many other things (wars,closing Gitmo, renegotiating trade pacts etc) was just more of the same bullshit about hope and change marketed by Wall Street’s soon to be new bagman at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.