JR'S Free Thought Pages
Two Essential Criteria for President of the USA
…with some rambling thoughts on the neo-conservative wrecking crew that demolished the global economy
Obama is kaput, a washout……just another discouraging entry into the two-party tyranny that exists in the United States
At least two characteristics are required for any candidate to offer himself up for president in Jesus Land (aka The United States of America). First, he/she must at the very least pretend to be a flag waving American Christian - notwithstanding his actual morality and/or behavior he must worship at the altar of unquestioning patriotism and Christian Americana; and second, he must be seen as a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist, never entertaining any other possibility or variation thereof. Otherwise there would be no chance of even being elected dog catcher.
Moreover, as a corollary to the above, the presidential candidate must be paranoid of any program that even remotely resembles socialism or any state controlled enterprise that is intended to further the common good. Most Americans have been indoctrinated to believe this as axiomatic, an article of unquestioned faith. By faith of course I mean believing without evidence. But this is something the vast majority of gullible Americans are especially good at, as well as believing in 13th century absurdities such as the Universe is 6000 years old.
They believe in this and many other pre-scientific nonsense in addition to rejecting out of hand the aforementioned state sanctioned boogeyman of socialism despite the fact that the US government has institutionalized a perverted form of state socialism for wealth, privilege and the corporate world. I would call it state capitalism (or corporatism, to use Mussolini’s synonym for fascism) – a socio-economic system that is precariously close to full blown fascism. Nothing less will do – if one invokes Maggie Thatcher’s rigor mortis laissez faire free market dogmatism, there is no alternative (TINA) – and hence one is teetering on faith based fascism. Without these two necessary attributes an individual has no chance to be elected president in what Chris Hedges calls the Empire of Illusion - the deluded and now morally and financially bankrupt and dysfunctional nation called The United States of America. Anyone believing otherwise is not paying attention. As George Carlin proclaimed, the “American Dream” may be still alive; but you have to be asleep to believe it.
All institutions have values, regardless of their perversity. To reach the top of any institutional hierarchy, an individual must internalize those values or one is weeded out at a lower level. Is it surprising, then, that Mister Obama is only marginally different from Mister Bush? They both sought the leadership of the same defiled systemically dysfunctional socio-economic system and have internalized the same values – Americanism, Christianity and Capitalism. And it won't matter who is elected in the future if the same two party autocracies of conservative rigor mortis continue to rule, they will have the same draconian values – despite the rhetoric and whatever they pretend. The only question on our plutocrat’s minds is whether to control us by force or buy us off. In Canada today the situation differs very little from our neighbors to the south. The party called the NDP (formerly the CCF) has little resemblance to the social democratic party that was led by the late Tommy Douglas, one of the precious few politicians (all from the NDP by the way) in Canadian history who was a defender and guardian of the working classes, the man without whom we would not have a universal government health care system. He was a genuine working class hero and was able to accomplish more for ordinary Canadians than any other political figure without ever becoming Prime Minister. His Party did not even win enough seats at any time to form the official opposition in the House of Commons so what he was able to accomplish is truly remarkable. Without a fight to the finish, the Conservatives and Liberals have never willingly given anything to the working people of Canada. Despite their empty rhetoric, they have never given a rat’s ass about Joe Lunch Bucket and never will. But Canada had Tommy Douglas and fortunately a few courageous others who were willing to fight (and die) for social justice in our great country.
The current president in the United States (the Big O) has a huge bully pulpit, which he's by and large squandered. I've heard him discuss healthcare multiple times in recent weeks without once appealing to public’s indignation by protesting against the rampant corporate greed that leaves the United States number 1 in healthcare spending and 37th in health outcomes, on a par with Serbia, a country they bombed the crap out of a decade ago. Without a populist challenge to corporate profiteering, what's left is either a lame smoke screen about "cost containment" or a right wing debate about the evils of "big government." Neither mobilizes the public toward progressive change. The entire debate over health care is framed and controlled by the corporate media and the corporate lobbyists who “own” and control 95% of the politicians in Washington. Again, follow the money right down to Wall Street. What the people want is incidental, simply not relevant to the ruling oligarchy that owns you, the politicians and the country. But duplicitous conservative politicians have no problem with “big government” or “cost containment” when it comes to imperialistic wars or handing over trillions of taxpayer money for bailing out their pimps on Wall Street.
Recent U.S. history shows that you can't serve corporate interests at the same time you're seeking reform - of healthcare or Wall Street or any other sector. Not when big corporations are the problem . . . and the major obstacles to change. Placating big business en route to social reform is like downing a quart of whiskey en route to a stay at an AA rehab facility.
Yet there was the Obama White House last summer entering into secret deals with the pharmaceutical lobby protecting that industry's monopoly and obscene profits. If Obama is radical about anything, it's about NOT rocking corporate boats.
That's why he received more Wall Street funding than any candidate in history and why - before he was a front-runner in early 2007 - he was raising more money from the biggest Wall Street banks than even Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, corporate whores and presidential candidates from New York.
That's why - as soon as Hillary left the race - Obama went on CNBC and assured big business: "Look: I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market."
In many ways OBAMA is WORSE than George Bush.
At least George Bush has the shabby excuse of being a fortunate son, scion of an obscenely rich and powerful family that has NO conception whatsoever of the suffering of ordinary people, people so brainwashed that they continue to support the system of privilege and entitlement that George Bush survives and thrives under. Could you imagine in your wildest dreams a man of his character and intellect surviving in this world without the silver spooned crutch of wealth and privilege? Not a chance.
OBAMA should KNOW BETTER. He was a black man without a father who was raised by grandparents in a humble working class environment. But he chooses to side WITH the Oppressors rather than those that he KNOWS are the oppressed. And to make matters worse - he actually mellifluously denigrates the ordinary working classes - no different from someone blaming the victim as a Ronald Reagan or George Bush were inclined to do. Appointing neo-conservative Wall Street goons such as Timothy Geithner as secretary of the treasury and Lawrence Summers as director of the National Economic Council was an unmistakable indicator to wealthy elites and Corporate America that the Democrats would maintain the status quo – that is, the pre-existing inequitable and unjust distribution of wealth and power where 1% of the US population controls more wealth than the bottom 95%. That is where his sentiments and loyalty can be found.
So again, in many ways - he is far WORSE. Because he’s an intelligent man and knows better. Unlike George Bush who is just an insensitive, ignorant, selfish moron - a boorish philistine who knows nothing of the plight of people not born with the silver spoon as was he.
Obama ought to know what cruelty is, what ignorance is, what oppression, selfishness and greed is - and provides many "parables" about these injustices........but upholds the very corrupt and unfair system that spawned and sustains it! His response to the “debate” on health care reform is at best, lame. He has chosen to take a half-assed obsequious compromise approach rather than promote a genuine single payer government sponsored health care program, a program that the majority of Americans want and all truly enlightened democratic industrialized countries of the world have in place. Consequently there is only obfuscation and misinformation, most of it emanating from the scheming corporate media and extreme political right wing. If Obama had any intestinal fortitude, and had promoted single payer universal health care, he would likely have had the blessing and backing of millions of Americans. But now he faces chaos, confusion and rage.
Contrary to popular opinion among capitalists (the vast majority who have neither read Karl Marx nor their hero Adam Smith), Marx succeeded marvelously – in the sense that he predicted the countless financial capitalism implosions and explosions. Ironically, his critique of the dark side of capitalism was not unlike that of Smith. He predicted exploitation of workers and the "structural crises" as it is now known of capitalism that always tries to save itself by using what is today "state capitalism"...he also delineated that the cause was the banking system, monetarism and industries' hijacking the economy from the actual creators of wealth which is the working people and small business owners - and it is seen through the way of corporatism and the conservative corporate welfare state - aided by state Capitalism - through the bail-outs, the socialism for the rich, the use of public money to promote entrepreneurship and subsidize private industries. Free enterprise under Big Business as it has existed has NEVER been free or enterprising. It’s a gluttonous system of plunder of public assets in which profits are privatized and losses are socialized. Marx (Karl, not Groucho) accurately outlined that militarism and colonial and imperialistic wars are merely tools of state capitalism run rampant as it looks not only for resources and workers to exploit, but "markets" for its "surplus" which its own people can no longer afford because of what Marx also predicted was a case of suppressed labor values and wages that cannot sustain the economy of consumption – ultimately leading to: a labor force that cannot afford what IT produces.
…and the RESULT?
A "credit, debt" BUBBLE ECONOMY - exactly as you are experiencing. One in eight mortgages in the United States are presently delinquent or in foreclosure with a foreclosure occurring every 8 seconds. And the commercial real estate market meltdown is just beginning. The stock market has rallied on the basis of an influx of trillions of dollars into the financial markets from future taxpayer debt far into the future. The debt will never be repaid. How is it sustainable? It’s a classic bear market rally and it happened in the Great Depression multiple times. If the stock market reaches its previous highs in my lifetime I’ll start believing in God and the Tooth Fairy. Contrary to the propaganda of politicians and “financial experts” (the same dipstick “experts” who didn’t see the meltdown coming), the recession (depression for reality based folks) is not even close to being over. Jobs are still being lost at an alarming rate. In fact in North America and Europe in particular the economic funk may be permanent. Most jobs are NOT coming back. Don’t hold your breath for a return of the “good times”; they have been nothing more than Ponzi schemes orchestrated by Wall Street bubble con men a la Bernie Madoff, the Prince of Ponzi. If you need to delve into the rigged game casino called the stock market, keep it short term and use stop loss orders; in fact it’s probably time to do some shorting as the Dow edges toward the psychological barrier of 10,000. And by all means don’t listen to the BULLHIT from gurus on the financial news networks, unless of course you enjoy anguish and pain – and losing your retirement nest egg (assuming you haven’t already lost it). Welcome to “Freedom 95!”
As for "class war" --
Here’s WARREN BUFFET:
"There has always been a class war WAGED BY THE RICH AGAINST EVERYONE ELSE…we the rich ought to be PAY A LOT MORE IN TAXES".
And for the record:
Hong Kong - the "bastion of capitalism" in Asia just happens to be a HUGELY STATE SUBSIDIZED system of “state capitalism" complete with its STATE SUBSIDIZED national health care where for a mere $13 out of pocket - anyone can go to any hospital or clinic for FIRST CLASS TREATMENT...freeing its people to do the business of making a living!
SWEDEN, FINLAND and NORWAY are politically FAR to the "left" of the USA - and are at worst "mixed economies" with STRONG REGULATIONS on private "enterprise" and YET are SPECTACULARLY STABLE, EGALITARIAN and PROSPEROUS - even NORWAY - 2 weeks ago VOTED INTO POWER a "labor" party - wishing to INCREASE its Social Welfare Statehood EVEN MORE than it already is - as one of the most SOCIALIST societies on earth!
How DID SWEDEN SAVE itself in the 1980's from collapse after trying to follow the US MODEL? BY REGULATING and NATIONALIZING BANKS and wiping off the face of the planet the Pirates and Mafioso who called themselves "investors"! Period!
WHAT does the RICHEST man in FINLAND say about economics?
"I am already rich beyond my dreams, my wife and I do not need any more...but we have become successful as entrepreneurs ONLY BECAUSE OUR SOCIAL WELFARE SYSTEM gave us conditions to be as creative and bold as we wanted to be without fear of failure and falling between the cracks. I consider it a duty and an HONOR to pay my taxes to our nation that has given us this opportunity" FINLAND just happens to have the world's biggest collection of technological and scientific patents due to its armies of scientists, engineers, and has some of the world's biggest "EXPORT" markets of Artists, musicians, poets, dramatists. Have you ever heard anyone in North America utter sentiments such as these?
All because of - the shame and horror of it all – SOCIALISM…
CHINA seems UNSTOPPABLE in realizing its true potential in less than ten years - supplanting the USA as the world's most powerful economy....
The country that is a SPECTACULAR FAILURE is the USA and its MODEL OF De-regulation, Exploitation, ROBBERY of not only other nation's resources, but their own citizens and public assets of their own country and cheapening of labor and resources everywhere in order to make a pretense of having "built" its power and wealth through the mythology of pure untainted and unaided "American hard work and capitalism". It’s total bullshit.
Even if it is standing on top of ENSLAVEMENT, GENOCIDE, TRADE and MONETARY MANIPULATION to ARTIFICIALLY PROP UP THE DOLLAR and ARTIFICIALLY make US "economy" more VALUABLE than it REALLY IS and its WARS to IMPOSE that FAILED a DISASTER SYSTEM! It’s the Conservative Corporate Welfare State folks – pure and simple. It’s funneling of wealth upwards to the bastards who already own 95% of – and own you and your callous prevaricating politicians too.
Don't confuse Obama's pre-political career with his political one. The typical politician's career, if long enough, generally has four phases. Idealism is the first phase, unconstrained by political alliances, with appeal to the public. Once in office, there is usually a transition to pragmatism and willingness to concessions to party ideology and to give up on some ideals, usually the noble ones that benefit the working classes, to achieve others. This enables the third stage, consolidation of power, building up the alliances and political (and campaign) capital to move up. The final stage is corruption, the use of public office to benefit one's supporters, family, and self. Many go into the system with the intent of transition from stage three back to stage one. But, the process usually takes decades, and almost all are hooked on the present dysfunctional undemocratic system of corruption.
While it is true that Obama's subservience to the corporate establishment is a product of the system, as President he has the bully pulpit and the ability to appeal to the public directly. It is his choice to do as he will, and it is a character flaw, albeit one that was molded into him by a seriously flawed system.
When Bush/Obama and Congress make deals with Big Pharma that forces Americans to
pay higher drug prices than anyone else in the world, that's not a free market.
It's big government collusion.
History has taught that ALL politicians are full of shit – they all lie.
Politics maybe is even overtaking religion in the bullshit department. They
might lie to cover their ass or perhaps it’s a genetic character flaw - like
Someone please pass the barf bag.
Let’s please stop making excuses for this man. Yes, his IQ is at least forty points above that of the illiterate bumbling imbecile Bush and everyone was desperate for relief from the Republican reactionaries, Bible thumpers and regressive ideologies - and the Big O (Mr. Odrama) knew exactly which buttons to push and what chains to pull. In that sense he was almost as good as the Bush puppeteer BIG DICK Cheney. For a moment there it looked like the black pall of despair was going to be lifted, and by a guy who theoretically, it could be assumed, had an idea what social injustice felt like. (Based on the color of his skin, had he really no idea that he would have been banned from his college of choice, Harvard, just a few decades ago?) Obama actually got into Harvard on merit and scholastic ability, unlike Bush, a D student in high school who got into Yale via a strategic phone call from his rich bastard old man. Bush’s high school record would for mere mortals not get him into a third rate vocational school to train as a plumber’s helper. So don’t be swayed by Obama’s smooth talking hype (didn’t he after all write a book called The Audacity of Hype?) and the fact he, a black man from humble roots actually got into an Ivy League school that trains future Conservative elites and Wall Street crooks, based entirely on merit. That’s a new twist.
But now it's much worse, the betrayal sharper, the disappointment deeper, the frustration more bitter...and the anger lacking focus.
Some of us old geezers tried to warn the deluded optimists (blind optimism and faith is a uniquely American virus) - some of us old coots have seen this shtick before under other guises. We wanted to prepare you, soften the blow when it came, inevitably.
But the younger ones and more credulous among you wanted us to jump off cliffs like lemmings, yield the bright shiny new world to the true believers in the Great Black Hope, the corporate lackey, the Wall Street shill.
Everyone understood the nature of the village simpleton, the man with the room temperature IQ who played at being president for the past eight years while so many of the enlightened were so angry and outraged at his functional illiteracy and buffoonery, it wasn't anywhere near as painful as the stunning, utter betrayal that Obama, the Big O, the Great Black Hope, has delivered in just a few months.
It's too bad Ralph Nader, a highly intelligent insightful man who knows exactly how the present sick dysfunctional system works, never learned how to hit those same buttons, how to appeal to the less educated, to the credulous, the Common Man. It's too bad he and Kucinich and Sanders and a precious few others can't rally the support, mobilize the big donors to get themselves into the Oval Office. Maybe that's really a litmus test. Maybe less hype and more substance are required because politicians for decades now have been nothing but image and hype – no substance whatsoever, methodically and consciously ignoring the issues that really matter to the masses.
Well my hoodwinked and blind-sided neighbors to the South, good luck living with the glamour intelligent edition of dolt Dubya. Don't be too disappointed at what happens next. We’re on the road to serfdom and there doesn’t seem to be a will to fight back. The big “F” is looming large. Yes, I’m talking about Fascism; something the Bush regime came close to endorsing as a full blown socio-economic order. People wait too long to get off their fat asses and turn off Oprah and Survivor because when the big jackboot is on the neck it’s far too late to do anything about it, as recent history has demonstrated.
We geezers and boomers who still have pensions and were not blitzed and totally wiped out by the market meltdown and subsequent depression, are too busy now, looking for a safe place in a small town where we can live out our remaining days in some semblance of what we can remember as better days.