The website Think Progress ran a story about an interaction one ‘moderate’ Republican House member Mike Castle (R-DE) had in his own district, whereat he was questioned and criticized by ‘right wing’ voters. As TP put it, Caste, “…hit a wall of right-wing rage…,” and his, “… event rapidly devolved into a moblike atmosphere as conservative activists challenged Castle with the full spectrum of right-wing conspiracy theories".”
Let’s step back from the computer screens and try to remember what’s going on here. According to Glenn Greenwald, President Obama is reserving the right for him, as President, to be able to snatch anyone he wants to snatch right off the streets anywhere in the world, for whatever reason he wants, to be able to lock them away with out a trial, forever, and no one has the right to question him about that.
There is an insignificant tissue film difference between that and his asserting the right to just kill you where you stand without question.
The country is now engaged in wars that were begun by lying to the American people and their Representatives in Congress, and maintained by each President after the next. All these thefts and murders of what’s valuable in other countries goes against the laws of our own and other countries.
The country we call home is bankrupt, people are losing their homes because they have no work, and more and more of us are transitioning from mere wage slaves to real indentured servants.
The idea that is most true is that there is only one political party organizing any kind of effective political work in this country and that Party, the Republican-Democratic Tag-Team Party, is bought, paid for, and controlled by the business interests in this country.
The critics of this Party, or what remains of them, are marginalized, some out on the extremes, that is, those who speak for what’s known as the left or the right.
This is not a new way of looking at how politics exists in this country. It has
President Obama has been congratulated for not becoming involved in the election turmoil in Iran, as President, despite evidence that American spooks in their many costumes have, in fact, been supporting turmoil there.
So, maybe Obama does not deserve that much credit.
There is still the question of whether American spooks have been gouging out the eyes of Iran, in order to hasten it’s regime’s change, and how, specifically, that gouging has been done. Over at Foreign Policy Journal, we get a hint about that from Jeremy Hammond in his article, “The Case of the ‘Fatwa’ to Rig Iran’s Election.” I quote the last section,
“As loony and baseless as possible”
The Iranian regime, of course, has claimed that the U.S., Britain, and Israel are behind the claims of a fraudulent election. “Americans and Zionists sought to destabilize Iran”, asserted Intelligence Minister Mohseni Ejei, rejecting allegations of vote rigging.
While remarks from Iranian government officials are certainly not evidence for it, it nevertheless certainly remains a perfectly plausible explanation, despite a strong tendency by commentators in the U.S. media, both mainstream and alternative, corporate news and blogs, not only to dismiss the possibility, but to portray the very suggestion as an absurdity.
Noted journalist Fareed Zakaria explained this phenomenon quite candidly. He begins with an acknowledgment:
And it is worth remembering that the United States still funds guerrilla outfits and opposition groups that are trying to topple the Islamic Republic. Most of these are tiny groups with no chance of success, funded largely to appease right-wing members of Congress. But the Tehran government is able to portray this as an ongoing anti-Iranian campaign.
Notice his use of the word “portray”. The Iranian regime “is able to portray” an ongoing anti-government campaign “as an ongoing anti-Iranian campaign.” Again, the issue isn’t what the facts are, but what the perceptions are. Zakaria then praises
He’s wanting everyone to abide by the ‘rule of law.’ When someone robs a bank, that person is apprehended, prosecuted, and punished by what the law allows. When GG argues that Bush or Obama have to abide by the ‘rule of law,’ because they haven’t been, he is pointing out that whereas the common person will be treated harshly by the criminal justice system, the powerful people in our country are not. The powerful figure they are above the law.
In a recent post on his blog, GG made a case that Chris Todd, a political reporter for NBC news, was not only giving an account of what the Obama administration was doing about “torture” and whether they wanted to prosecute Bush administration officials for “torture,” but, he also seemed to be giving arguments justifying their viewpoint in his own voice. That is, Todd seemed to have been won over by the Obama position so that he was one of “them,” rather than being a critical outsider.
Some people argue that Americans should never let government get control of their health care. You shouldn’t let a government bureaucrat get between you and your doctor. You wouldn’t want a government civil service worker to tell your doctor how to take care of your cancer, would you? This rhetorical attack on government depends on the idea that government is, in fact, only as good or as bad as the forces that make it run. People have been made to believe that government workers, no matter what they do, are wasteful, lazy, uncaring, etc., etc. They are convinced of this, in part, because there are, in fact government workers you don’t want to deal with.
Yes, there is “subjectivism” in American life, and I want to point out two examples of it. Based on those examples, I believe we will be able to recognize innumerable others. And, Yes, there has been prophecy about this.
But first, the “subjectivism” part.
Bill Moyers recently interviewed an official from Cigna, a big health insurance company, who came to “see the light,” so to speak. He found his way after travelling to see a health fair in a nearby town,
…And I didn't know what to expect. I just assumed that it would be, you know, like a health-- booths set up and people just getting their blood pressure checked and things like that.
But what I saw were doctors who were set up to provide care in animal stalls. Or they'd erected tents, to care for people. I mean, there was no privacy. In some cases-- and I've got some pictures of people being treated on gurneys, on rain-soaked pavement.
And I saw people lined up, standing in line or sitting in these long, long lines, waiting to get care. People drove from South Carolina and Georgia and Kentucky, Tennessee-- all over the region, because they knew that this was being done. A lot of them heard about it from word of mouth.
There could have been people and probably were people that I had grown up with. They could have been people who grew up at the house down the road, in the house down the road from me. And that made it real to me.
BILL MOYERS: What did you think?
WENDELL POTTER: It was absolutely stunning. It was like being hit by lightning. It was almost-- what country am I in? I just it just didn't seem to be a possibility that I was in the United States. It was like a lightning bolt had hit me.
The Nation Magazine carried a piece by “Eyal Press” on 07/08/2009 titled “Does Rachel Maddow Speak for the Left?” The writer noted that in a recent Charlie Rose interview Maddow said that the left was disappointed with Obama. The writer was taken aback because, as a quick perusal of people in New York City testified, most, or “nearly all” expressed shock and dismay and also disagreement with Maddow.
Apparently, whomever these people are, they are nearly all happy with Obama.
Then, the writer tried to explain this discrepancy. What explains it?
1) Progressives and left-leaning Democrats are pragmatic and don’t want to be raising ideological questions at a time like this.
2) Bush was so bad, whatever Obama has been doing is smelling like a breath of fresh air.
3) Obama is a likable guy and it’s just so difficult to tell him bad things.
The Nation has often times presented itself as a clearing house of lefty and progressive ramblings. So, I will give them credit for raising the issue of whether anyone on the left is disappointed with Obama, and why some number of Democrats are not.
It is really sad that we have to be asking ourselves at this time whether or not the left is disappointed in Obama. Charlie Rose asks the question. The Nation’s writer here asks us to consider the question. No one said, not Maddow, or the Nation’s writer, that well, of course the left is disappointed in Obama.
Maddow, to her credit does say that, yes, the left is disappointed, and if we understand Obama correctly as a centrist business Democrat, not too anti-war, not too good on civil liberties and civil rights, and definitely in the pockets of corporations, we will see that there will be constant conflict between Obama’s administration and the left as we know it.
But, the question is asked because the left is not very good about making itself heard. For one thing, it supported Obama while understanding that Obama would support its positions in rhetoric only. Second, in supporting Obama without extracting any promises or commitments from Obama to give anything in return, the left now has nothing to show for its support. And third, The underlying reason that the left has no power is that it has failed to challenge the underlying assumptions and values that have created the Leviathan it opposes on many fronts.
Do American workers believe the work they do has intrinsic value? That is, if no one bought the products their company made, that their work made, would American workers still expect to be paid? Should they be surprised or shocked that their company would want to cut their wages or their jobs if the company was no longer competitive or making any money selling their products?
Let’s just say that Joe Shmoe does believe that his work has intrinsic value. Say, the guy has a job, and, based on having that job, he gets married, has kids, buys a house, and a car, and proceeds to go into quite a bit of debt. Is Joe being reasonable?
According to Antonio Graceffo there is a distinction between manufacturing or producing a product and selling that product. A company does not make money producing that product. It only makes money if and when it sells that product. So, Graceffo tells us,
…An employee believes that his work, his labor, somehow generates an income. This has been his working experience his whole life. Somehow, punching that clock twice each day caused a check to appear at the end of the week. An owner realizes that work, labor, and manufacturing all cost money. Only sales bring money into the company.
There are at least two issues important to understanding Iran’s current turmoils. One has to do with the conflicts within the elites within Iran over how to govern the country. Escobar says a little about who the leaders are, and what their conflicts might be. Against the conflict between different factions of Iranian elites, their are the vast number of Iranian citizens, both well-to-do and poor, who have wanted the government to give them more support, in the way of jobs and services, or liberty in having fewer religious restrictions. The second issue has to do with the influence of outsiders on Iranian politics. Spooks working for the United States have been said to have spent around $400 million dollars to bring about what they call “regime change” in Iran. The amount of money spent by our spooks in Iran would be comparable to about $1.2 billion dollars if Chinese spooks worked to elect Obama or McCain.
But, should we see these issues as mutually exclusive? That is, if there’s a problem with corruption in Iran, or religious hubris, does that mean others, like the United States, are justified in manipulating their choices? Or, if American spooks are pitting one faction of their elites against another, does that mean Iranian elites should be, in our estimation, more innocent?
Kurosawa had something to say about this,
The town has been involved in a fight between rival gangs. The Samurai with no name provokes more and more violence between these gangs that eventually they both destroy themselves. The principle here is a corollary to ‘divide and conquer.’ It might be held that once you ‘divide,’ you make your opponents fight amongst themselves. This is what we might be concerned about in Iran. The pro-democracy camp are being made to fight against the ‘mullah-ocracy” as Escobar will characterize the Iranian elite. From the point of view of American spooks, this ‘self-destruction’ might be a good thing, and go to bring about “regime change.” But, from the point of view of Iranians working for the independence of Iran, the mutual destruction of these two factions cannot be a good thing.