Archive for the ‘interests groups’ Category
May 26, 2013
KNOW YOUR HISTORY: Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.Thanks to Abstrakt Goldsmith for this nugget of history that most of us never learned in school.
To this, I say, why do we fight?? What is it about human nature that makes them believe that they must kill other human beings for their freedom?
The Glory of war is not glorious. Ask those who do fight. The first casualty of war is “Truth”. People are trained, brainwashed and distorted to believe that their leaders who do this to them would not lie to them, would not line their pockets with blood money and would care for them upon their return from the Battlefield.
All to often we see our fellow human beings become inhuman in their acts of warring against other human beings. And then they return home and are given ribbons, ribbons that honor how heroically they “killed” another human being for our “freedom”? The depth of the absurdity and cognitive dissonance is overwhelming. How does creating a war culture, a militarized environment, a police state, a surveillance state a cult of oppression of other human beings, give us freedom?
Our troops have their humanity removed from them as they are trained to believe that killing for freedom is tantamount to Patriotism. Patriotism is tantamount to all previously perceived values and standards. To be Patriotic means to stand by your government, even if it is found to be lying and creating scenarios in which you must risk your life and kill others, conquer others and invade others to maintain your freedom at home. The stalk reality that this aggression breeds more aggression and diminishes humanity to a banal state to me is the result of mass graves and disregard of the humanity of others.
This is not a political, racial, ethnic, national problem, it is a human problem, and it is the human being who continually takes the freedom and sovereignty of other humans in their so-called quest for “freedom” at home. An aerial view of this idiocy could cause humanity to stop and think, what is the purpose of this? Who profits? And more importantly, what is this doing to our basic humanity? Is it really about defense or is it really about DOMINANCE?
Links and Commentary:There appears to be many variations on this theme and a bit of a debate as to who started what and when. The links below will show the differences in the history and opinions on this. I think that this story shows the true horrors of war, something that would have been denied or ignored not because the Freedmen acknowledged the fallen soldiers but because of the way those fallen soldiers were treated on American soil.
From Dalp Pearson
Here is a tid-bit of back story on this photograph — Union Cemetery
During the closing days of the Civil War, the area was used as a prisoner-of-war camp. More than two hundred Union soldiers died in the camp and were buried in a mass grave at the site.
Union soldiers were buried behind the old racetrack’s stands near the present intersection of Tenth Ave. and Mary Murray Drive.
In an article titled “The First Decoration Day”, David W. Blight of Yale has written:
“The city was largely abandoned by white residents by late February. Among the first troops to enter and march up Meeting Street singing liberation songs was the 21st U. S. Colored Infantry; their commander accepted the formal surrender of the city.
“Thousands of black Charlestonians, most former slaves, remained in the city and conducted a series of commemorations to declare their sense of the meaning of the war. The largest of these events, and unknown until some extraordinary luck in my recent research, took place on May 1, 1865. During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the planters’ horse track, the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, into an outdoor prison. Union soldiers were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of exposure and disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand. Some twenty-eight black workmen went to the site, re-buried the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, ‘Martyrs of the Race Course’.
“Then, black Charlestonians in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people on the slaveholders’ race course. The symbolic power of the low-country planter aristocracy’s horse track (where they had displayed their wealth, leisure, and influence) was not lost on the freedpeople. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing ‘a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.’
“At 9 am on May 1, the procession stepped off led by three thousand black schoolchildren carrying arm loads of roses and singing ‘John Brown’s Body.’ The children were followed by several hundred black women with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantry and other black and white citizens. As many as possible gathering in the cemetery enclosure; a childrens’ choir sang ‘We’ll Rally around the Flag,’ the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ and several spirituals before several black ministers read from scripture. No record survives of which biblical passages rung out in the warm spring air, but the spirit of Leviticus 25 was surely present at those burial rites: ‘for it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you … in the year of this jubilee he shall return every man unto his own possession.’
“Following the solemn dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: they enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches, and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantry participating was the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th U.S. Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite. The war was over, and Decoration Day had been founded by African Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been all about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic, and not about state rights, defense of home, nor merely soldiers’ valor and sacrifice.”
By late April 1865, a white picket fence on which was written “The Martyrs of the Race Course” had been erected. On May 1, 1865, thousands of people, mainly newly freed blacks, processed to the site, and members of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry marched around the site. The graves were decorated, speeches were offered, and celebrants enjoyed picnics in the area. This has been cited as the first Memorial Day celebration. By 1871, the cemetery was suffering neglect, and the soldiers were reinterred at the Beaufort and Florence National Cemeteries.
” In the May 1865, the newspaper covered what Blight argues should be credited as the nation’s first memorial day observance, held on May 1, 1865. At that time, Charleston was largely in ruins and families were eager to rebuild their lives and their city. The photos on this page are Library of Congress images from the era. Two simply show scenes of wartime devastation in the city. But the photo at right here appears to show the land where the former Confederate prison camp stood (also the site of a pre-Civil War Race Course). The photo appears to show work beginning on raising the remains in April 1865 in preparation for the new cemetery that eventually would include a wall, an archway entrance and properly buried remains.
The Daily Courier coverage of that first memorial day, May 1, 1865, was headlined …
From: Navneet Gupta
“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world is my own government, I cannot be silent”
“A nation that year after year continues to spend more money on military defense than on social uplift is approaching spiritual death”
“We have guided missiles, yet misguided men.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.(1929 – 1968)
Militarism is glorified in the west. We are asked to “remember” the fallen, yet keep fighting in these same unjust conflicts at the same time (many of which we are responsible for starting). It makes no sense?
The U.S. is one of only two countries which has not ratified the convention regarding the use of child soldiers. They are also the largest arms dealers in the world (here is our WMD).
War is all about greed, power, and exploiting the powerless. War has nothing to do with freedom, loving your country, or being a hero. War is about killing innocent people, stealing what they have and keeping power over them through violence & propaganda.
A FRACTION of the money spent on the military industrial complex could eradicate hunger (Food, Not Bombs!), and all other social and ecological problems humanity faces (saving lives instead of taking them).
‘Developed’ nations along with their corporate raiders prop up a corrupt elite at the top of poor nations through the selling of arms, funding, ‘development’, loans, etc. This has allowed for the extraction of indigenous wealth from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere (Often referred to as ‘Neocolonialism’)
Watch Out…We’re Surrounded!
10 Signs We Live In a False Economy
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
It’s time to admit that we live in a false economy. Smoke and mirrors are used to make us believe the economy is real, but it’s all an elaborate illusion.
Out of one side of the establishment’s mouth we hear excitement about “green shoots”, and out of the other side comes breathless warnings of fiscal cliffs and the urgent need for unlimited bailouts by the Fed. We hear the people begging for jobs and the politicians promising them, but politicians can’t create jobs. We see people camped out to buy stuff on Black Friday indicating the consumer economy is seemingly thriving, only to find out everything was bought on credit.
The corporate media does their best to distract us from seeing anything real. We see the media glorify Kim Kardashian who got rich by being famous, and became famous merely by being rich. She got front page coverage on Huffington Post this week because her cat died. Enough said.
Meanwhile the financial media makes the economy seem complicated and they ban anyone who speaks truthfully about the economy from their airwaves.
Is it any wonder why people are angry and confused about the economy? Well, hopefully these signs that we live in a false economy will help clear up some of that confusion.
1. Fake Jobs: It’s not just that the “official” unemployment numbers are a fraud, the actual jobs are fake as well. Ask yourself how many professions actually produce something of value? 80% of jobs could disappear tomorrow and it wouldn’t affect basic human survival or happiness in the least. Yes, in our society we need money to survive – and jobs equal money – but that doesn’t mean a “job” has any actual benefit to society. More on this in the next point…
2. Problems Create Jobs, Not Solutions: We can’t fix real problems, because it would destroy more fake jobs. We can’t end the wars and bring all of the personnel home when the jobless rate is already suffering. We can’t end the War on Drugs because where would the DEA agents, prison guards, the court system, parole officers, and the rest of their support staff work. We can’t simplify the tax code because the bookkeepers, CPAs, accounting professors, and tax attorneys would be unemployed. We cannot reduce the bureaucracy of government or streamline healthcare because paper pushers have few other notable skills. We can’t stop spying on Americans because it now employs millions of people. We can’t restrict the Wall Street casino, or hardly anyone will be left with a job. Finally, what will happen to university jobs when people either realize their product is not worth the cost or they discover they can get the same education online for nearly free? In other words, we need these manufactured problems to create phony employment.
3. Money Has No Value: Money is the biggest illusion of all. Our money is loaned into existence with arbitrary interest rates by a private monopoly. It is an IOU. It only has value because a law says it has value, and that value fluctuates based on how much supply is in the economy which, again, is controlled by a for-profit monopoly. It’s actual value is zero since it is just a piece of paper with fancy ink on it. The only things with real value to humans are skills (labor), tools and materials, food and water, and energy.
4. The Fed Now Buys 90% of the Nation’s Debt: Speaking of money, the Federal Reserve loans money to the US government who issues bonds to cover their spending. Those bonds are sold on the open market through auctions to investors who believe in the ability of the United States to make good on those bonds. Apparently, the US has no more investors because the Fed is now buying 90% of new Treasury bonds. This is called monetizing debt, or, essentially, monetizing money. That’s what a Ponzi scheme does. This acts to keep interest rates artificially low because they’d have to raise them to attract outside “investors”. In layman terms, our whole monetary system is a paper tiger, a house of cards, or whatever metaphor you want to use for fake.
5. What is the Value of Anything? The price discovery mechanism, or the process to determine the value of an asset in the marketplace, has become so convoluted that determining the genuine value of anything has become nearly impossible. Between government subsidizes for things like food, fuel, education, housing, insurance and even cars; taxes, regulations and laws; the manipulation of the value of money and interest rates; Wall Street gambling on commodities; what is the real value of something? For example, why does an ounce of marijuana (a weed that can grow anywhere) cost up to $500? Is that the real value based on labor and materials, and supply and demand? Of course not. Its value is inflated mainly due to laws and regulations.
6. Failure is Rewarded: You know we live in a false economy when failure is rewarded and success is penalized. Citizens everywhere are being told they need to tighten their belts, work harder so we can bailout the failed government, banks, insurance companies and even car companies. And when we work harder and achieve some success, they tax it heavily to indefinitely pay for these fraudulent institutions. Yet this infinite money creation and taxation is light years from solving the root cause of the problem. The reality is that the banks’ solutions are the problem, enriching the investor class at the expense of the middle class. Global bankers are playing with taxpayer money – and the money of many future generations – in a global casino royale that is destined to fail so they can take the people’s assets. They are all-in; but their money is fake, and our assets put at risk are real.
7. Corporate entities have the same rights as humans, but not the same punishments: When the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have free-speech rights of people, it was one of the final nails in the coffin of the republic. Monied interests can now openly finance elections and buy the legislation they need to operate with impunity. Corporations may be comprised of humans, but they are not subjected to the same standard of humanity. It was profoundly argued in the article What if BP Were a Human Being? that judged by common standards of morality, decency, and previously agreed-upon definitions of criminality, BP would be judged a psychopathic killer … and immortal. Ditto for the rest leading the predatory corporate pack; the most obvious being defense contractors. And since these corporations are now joined at the hip with government itself, what does that make government? By changing definitions, they are attempting to change reality. But that still doesn’t make it the truth.
8. People buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have: In a type of trickle-down debt whirlpool, the government’s rampant spending without sufficient assets to back it up is mirrored in the behavior of the American consumer. Despite inflation, rising unemployment, and a continued collapse in real estate, it hasn’t stopped credit spending. The Associated Press just reported that for the month of October:
Americans swiped their credit cards more often in October and borrowed more to attend school and buy cars. The increases drove U.S. consumer debt to an all-time high.
The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumers increased their borrowing by $14.2 billion in October from September. Total borrowing rose to a record $2.75 trillion.
Borrowing in the category that covers autos and student loans increased by $10.8 billion. Borrowing on credit cards rose by $3.4 billion, only the second monthly increase in the past five months. (Source)
Most troubling is the type of borrowing highlighted. The worst possible borrowing would be these negative-return investments such as student loans, credit cards, and cars. It is magical thinking taken to the highest degree.
9. Entrepreneurs are punished: It has become nearly impossible to make a simple living on your own. America has become a land filled with bureaucratic red tape that actively thwarts small business creation and criminalizes independence. There is perhaps no better example of this than the attacks waged against the ultimate entrepreneurial endeavor of self-reliance: the family farm. Through collectivist models such as Agenda 21, long-running family farms are being shut down and supplanted with “protected zones.” In the most recent case, a family oyster farm was shut down based on provably false scientific data that aimed to demonstrate negative environmental and economic impacts. It was completely fake, ending an 80-year local business that generated 50,000 tourists per year and employed 30 full-time local residents. In many of these cases the federally stolen property winds up in the hands of developers who have no interest in a true local economy. It is an inherent part of any false economy to create dependence where none should exist at all. A five-minute video that can be seen here sums up the American economy of illusions and the death of the American Dream.
10. Engineered Slavery: Do you think slavery died in the 1800s? Think again. Economic hitmen (lenders) have successfully enslaved-by-debt everything from nations, entire industries, state and local governments and nearly every person on the planet. And they bought your servitude with money they never had, they simply created it out of thin air. Even if an individual doesn’t have any bank financing or credit cards, they still pay the private Federal Reserve through inflation and income taxes. As author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, would say: the time has come for the banks to collect their “pound of flesh” from average citizens by way of higher taxes, less social services, and taking your pensions — “austerity.” For an enlightening explanation of how economic hitmen work their dark magic please watch this video. If you’re still confused, see these 10 signs you might be a slave. Another, more obvious, form of engineered slavery is prison labor. Laws and regulations are specifically created to add to the prison population which enriches the corporations that own them, while local communities actually become poorer and more dangerous (source).
As George Carlin said, “It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” It would be bad enough if it were contained to only one country, but we are now experiencing a global collective dreaming that fantasizes about a government figuring things out just in the nick of time. However, in the real world, the collapse has begun in earnest. Until we are committed to counter the 10 points above, we will remain in the grip of an hallucination. However, there are encouraging signs through protests worldwide, alternative currency movements, and myriad creative solutions in the most affected countries like Iceland, Greece, and Spain that people are beginning to shake off their sleep, look in the mirror and realize that the dream economy they have been sold was designed to make them seek solutions in entirely the wrong direction.
On the resignation of Gen Petraeus.
It’s a mess and a rabbit hole, that goes very, very deep. I find it strange that folks can go around killing innocents, drone striking, torturing, destroying infrastructures on other people’s land, dropping depleted uranium on towns and villages, messing up the water and electric infrastructure, cause all manner of birth defects, cover up rape and abuse towards military women, deal very poorly with the veterans upon their return, declassifying PSTD to other than a medical issue, have these veterans homeless and suicidal, fund and support terrorists militias, cover up and enhance the opium production, drop bombs on people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, arm the insurgents in Syria, yet, when they pull their little dingy out and flash it around, inserting it here and there, NOW THEY MUST RETIRE?????
Something is seriously and morally wrong with American ethics. Dude done did something else other than fool around with a drama queen, and that’s for sure!!! NB
Dear Crystal Lucas Perry,
Okay, political parody, satire, or even cartoons, but this romanticizing of the President is a bit much for me. They are so memorized they care not to look at the true picture, the real deal and that means they are dangerous. That Obama Kool Aid is really powerful.
I don’t particularly agree with all that is presented in this movie, but the song does kind of say it all for me.
Cult of Personality Links
“A personality cult appears whenever an individual uses mass media propaganda to create idealized, quasi-heroic public personae arising from unquestioned flattery and praise. Personality cults aim to make the leader and the state synonymous, so that it is nearly impossible to make a distinction between them.” Read more here GeeeeeeZ! OBAMA: Cult of Personality
Cult of personalityFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Sociologist Max Weber developed a tripartite classification of authority; the cult of personality holds parallels with what Weber defined as “charismatic authority“. A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda.
The term Cult of personality or Personality Cult first appeared in Nikita Khrushchev‘s Secret Speech in 1956. Cult of the individual is a more accurate translation.
Throughout history, monarchs and heads of state were almost always held in enormous reverence. Through the principle of the divine right of kings, for example, rulers were said to hold office by the will of God. Imperial China (see Mandate of Heaven), ancient Egypt, Japan, the Inca, the Aztecs, Tibet, Thailand, and the Roman Empire (see imperial cult) are especially noted for redefining monarchs as god-kings.
The spread of democratic and secular ideas in Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries made it increasingly difficult for monarchs to preserve this aura. However, the subsequent development of photography, sound recording, film, and mass production, as well as public education and techniques used in commercial advertising, enabled political leaders to project a positive image like never before. It was from these circumstances in the 20th century that the best-known personality cults arose. Often these cults are a form of political religion.
Personality cults were first described in relation to totalitarian regimes that sought to alter or transform society according to radical ideas. Often, a single leader became associated with this revolutionary transformation, and came to be treated as a benevolent “guide” for the nation without whom the transformation to a better future couldn’t occur. This has been generally the justification for personality cults that arose in totalitarian societies of the 20th century, such as those of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
Not all dictatorships foster personality cults, not all personality cults are dictatorships (some are nominally democratic), and some leaders may actively seek to minimize their own public adulation. For example, during the Cambodian Khmer Rouge regime, images of dictator Pol Pot (Saloth Sar) were rarely seen in public, and his identity was under dispute abroad until after his fall from power. The same applied to numerous Eastern European Communist regimes following World War II (although not those of Enver Hoxha and Nicolae Ceaușescu, mentioned below).
Che Obama: the new cult of personality
“It is doubtful that anyone ever thought to wear a t-shirt with George Bush’s image splashed across it, except to deride him. Now, wearing the image of the president is not only popular, it has become almost obligatory in some circles.
|An Obama T-Shirt|
Obama’s image is not just appearing on t-shirts. There are Obama hats, Obama pencil cases, Obama hoodies, Obama screen savers, Obama jewellery, Obama coffee cups and Obama street murals. And Obamamania has gone mainstream. Today in DC we can buy metro tickets sporting Obama’s image. Numerous buildings are decorated with huge banners welcoming the new president. Even the National Portrait Galley has got in on the act, snapping up Shepard Fairey’s original collage for the gallery walls long before the new president’s official portrait will be commissioned.
Such is the strength of the cult surrounding Obama’s image that vendors at the inauguration were hard pushed to find new ways to commemorate the day. Many tried, of course. On my own walk into the city I saw Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street, a local landmark, displaying a huge red, white and blue ice sculpture of the letters OBAMA. A church on 16th Street offered hot cocoa and a chance to be photographed with a life-sized Obama cut-out. On the Mall itself everything from Obama special inauguration bandanas to Obama dollar bills (with President Lincoln’s image replaced with President Obama’s) to my own personal favourite, Obama water, was on offer.”
The media’s new Messiah is a mania and fad like the hula hoop
“Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair.”
…Barack Obama just seems to get cooler and cooler. He’s the most popular topic on the New York Times topics page…Internet widgets allow you to see what great thing Barack Obama has done for you…on the New York subway Friday morning, one of our copy editors…heard one woman joke to another: “Obama, will you pick me up after my noninvasive minor surgical procedure?” To which the other replied: “Obama, will you hold my hair back when I puke?”…
Many spiritually advanced people I know…identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul…
John Lewis, the venerable civil rights hero and congressman, put words to this feeling recently. “In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit,” he said, suggesting that he might switch his superdelegate vote from Hillary Clinton to Obama. “Something is happening in America and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap.”…On Facebook, people write about dreams featuring Obama. There is only one correct reaction to the will.i.am “Yes We Can” video and that is to start chanting along…
There was the woman in New Hampshire who compared him with Christ. There was Maria Shriver’s comparison of the candidate with the state of California, with the rhetorical fervor usually seen only after a preacher shouts, “You are healed!”…
“Be not afraid; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of Chicago a Savior, who is Barack the Democrat.”
The Obama cult
“Recently I have noticed an interesting but disturbing phenomenon in New York City. On the streets, subways and buses, you can see people still wearing Barack Obama buttons even though the election is long over. I wonder to myself whether these buttons express an inchoate political/psychological yearning. In some ways it reminds me of how people wore pictures of the fifteen year old guru Maharaj-ji, who counted former 60s radical Rennie Davis as one of his main followers.
When I spoke to a fellow radical in my department at Columbia University about my concerns, his eyes lit up and he said:
At some point I will ask one of these Obama button wearers the same kind of question. What’s up with the Obama button? What are you trying to say? I once asked someone wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt the same kind of question. Trust me; they did not decide to wear the t-shirt after reading “Socialism and Man in Cuba”.
Friday, November 9, 2012
US Elections: The Empty Politics of Duopoly
Nile Bowie, Contributor
After months of rhetoric and political campaigning, the smoke has finally cleared on the media frenzy that is the US Presidential Election. Once the winner of the race was announced, supporters at the Obama Campaign headquarters in Chicago jubilantly celebrated.
The haze of American flags, pop music, and confetti worked wonders to mask the absence of any real political substance throughout the election process.
Cheering supporters shouted “four more years” as President Obama took to the stage to deliver his victory speech – complete with highly emotional grandiloquence, two mentions of the US military being the strongest in the world, and of course – a joke about the family dog.
After an exorbitant $6 billion spent by campaigns and outside groups in the primary, congressional and presidential races, Americans have reelected a president better suited for Hollywood than Washington. A 2010 ruling by the US Supreme Court that swept away limits on corporate contributions to political campaigns has paved the way for the most expensive election in American history, in the midst of an economic crisis nonetheless. 
After eight years under the Bush administration, America desperately needed change. Instead of any meaningful structural reform, America ushered in a global superstar whose charm and charisma not only resuscitated American prestige, but also masked the continued dominance of deregulators, financiers, and war-profiteers.
Obama’s most valuable asset is his brand, and his ability to channel the nostalgia of transformative social movements of the past, while serving as a tabula rasa of sorts to his supporters – an icon of hope who is capable of inspiring the masses and coaxing them into action – despite the Obama administration expanding the disturbing militaristic and domestic surveillance policies so characteristic of the Bush years, and channeling never before seen authority to the executive branch.
The American public at large is captivated by Barack’s contrived media personality and the grandeur of his political poetry and performance, and is therefore reluctant to acknowledge his enthusiastic continuation of the deeply unethical policies of his predecessor. Obama is indeed a leader suited for a new age, one of post-intellectualism and televised spectacle – a time when huge demographics of voters are more influenced by Jay-Z and Katy Perry’s endorsement of Obama over anything of political substance he preaches. 
While the US has historically exported “democracy promotion” through institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy (trends that have accelerated under the Obama administration), so few see the American electoral process for what it is – unacceptably expensive, filled with contrived debates, and subject to the kind of meticulous controls that America’s foreign adversaries are accused of presiding over.
A leaked ‘Memorandum of Understanding,’ signed by both the Obama and Romney campaigns, provides unique insight into the nature of the three televised debates, and the extent to which organizers went to prevent the occurrence of any form of unplanned spontaneity.  The document outlines how no members of the audience would be allowed to ask follow-up questions to the candidates, how microphones will be cut off right after questions were asked, and how any opportunities for follow-up questions from the crowd would be disregarded. In what was billed as a series of town-hall style debates where members of the community can come together and ask questions that reflect their concerns – in actuality, the two candidates dished out pre-planned responses to pre-approved questions, asked by pre-selected individuals.
The political domination of the Republican and Democratic parties over the debates is nowhere more apparent than in the arrest of Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, as the two attempted to enter the site of the second presidential debate. 
Despite the obscurity and almost non-existent media presence of third party candidates, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party received 1% of the popular vote in the general election, amounting to over 1.1 million votes, the best in the history of the Libertarian Party. 
In contrast to the choreographed exchanges offered by the televised debates between Obama and Romney, Moscow’s state-funded Russia Today news service offered third-party candidates an opportunity to voice their political programs in two debates aired on the channel.  Throughout these debates, third-party candidates spoke of repealing Obama’s authorization of indefinite detention through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the need for coherent environmental legislation, the gross misdirection of American foreign policy, the necessity of deep economic restructuring, and the illogicality of marijuana prohibition. In her closing statement at the debate, Green Party candidate Jill Stein brought up a significant point:
They’re 90 million voters who are not coming out to vote in this election, that’s one out of every two voters – that’s twice as many as those who will come out for Barack Obama, and twice the number that will come out for Mitt Romney. Those are voters who are saying ‘No’ to politics as usual, and ‘No’ to the Democratic and Republican parties. Imagine if we got out word to those 90 millions voters, that they actually have a variety of choices and voices in this election.
American presidential politics are not devoid of progressive voices; but, in reality, America doesn’t need a third-party – it needs a second party. The overwhelming lack of choice offered by this election can only be attributable to the political duopoly of the Republican and Democratic parties.
As President Obama begins his second and final term, some feel that this could be a chance for the White House to pursue more progressive ends – an opportunity for Obama to act on his own campaign rhetoric and roll back militarism and the influence of Wall St. financiers.
Barack Obama now prepares for his second term as the President of the United States. Though the race was tight, especially in states like Florida and Virginia, Obama won by more than 2 million popular votes at last count, and had at least 303 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206. (Florida was still too close to call as of midday Wednesday.)
While such optimism may prevail in the minds of many, the fact that President Obama issued a drone strike that killed three people in Yemen just hours after being reelected is a telling sign of things to come from the Obama administration. 
As the United States continues to project itself around the world as the definitive model of “freedom and democracy,” it is apparent that the central bankers, corporate financiers, and crony capitalists who control America’s electoral system did indeed learn and thing or two from Communism:
Nile Bowie is a Kuala Lumpur-based American writer and photographer for the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada. He explores issues of terrorism, economics and geopolitics.