DECACS, Inc. and all its Initiatives

Archive for the ‘NDAA’ Category

Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military | Glenn Greenwald

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

Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military | Glenn Greenwald
2011: Holly Petraeus (left) holding a bible as David Petraeus is sworn in as CIA director by Vice President Joe Biden. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Saturday 10 November 2012 
The reverence for the former CIA Director is part of a wider religious-like worship of the national security state.
(updated below [Sun.])
A prime rule of US political culture is that nothing rivets, animates or delights the political media like a sex scandal. From Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, and Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards, Larry Craig and David Vitter, their titillation and joy is palpable as they revel in every last arousing detail. This giddy package is delivered draped in a sanctimonious wrapping: their excitement at reporting on these scandals is matched only by their self-righteous condemnations of the moral failings of the responsible person.
All of these behaviors have long been constant, inevitable features of every political sex scandal – until yesterday. Now, none of these sentiments is permitted because the newest salacious scandal features at its center Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned yesterday as CIA Director, citing an extramarital affair.
It has now been widely reported that the affair was with Paula Broadwell, the author of a truly fawning hagiography of Petraeus entitled “All In”, and someone whom Petraeus, in her own words, “mentored” when he sat on her dissertation committee. The FBI discovered the affair when it investigated whether she had attempted to gain access to his emails and other classified information. In an interview about Broadwell’s book that she gave to the Daily Show back in January, one that is incredibly fascinating and revealing to watch in retrospect, Jon Stewart identified this as the primary question raised by her biography of Petraeus: “is he awesome, or super-awesome?”
Gen. Petraeus is the single most revered man in the most venerated American institution: the National Security State and, specifically, its military. As a result, all the rules are different. Speaking ill of David Petraeus – or the military or CIA as an institution – is strictly prohibited within our adversarial watchdog press corps. Thus, even as he resigns in disgrace, leading media figures are alternatively mournful and worshipful as they discuss it.
On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell appeared genuinely grief-stricken when she first reported Petraeus’ resignation letter. “This is very painful”, she began by announcing, as she wore a profoundly sad face. Her voice quivered with a mix of awe and distress as she read his resignation letter, savoring every word as though she were reciting from the Dead Sea Scrolls. On the Rachel Maddow Show later that night, Mitchell began her appearance by decreeing that “this is a personal tragedy” and said she was particularly sorrowful for “the men and women of the CIA, an agency that has many things to be proud about: manythings to be proud about” [emphasis in original].
Christiane Amanpour of CNN and ABC made Mitchell look constrained by comparison as she belted out this paean on Twitter:
 For good measure, she then added:
What does all that even mean? From which glorious “battlefield” is the CIA Director now absent, and how and why are we “at a time when we need them most”? But Amanpour is reciting something akin to a prayer here, and it’s thus insusceptible to rational inquiry of that sort.
Meanwhile, Michael Hastings – whose Rolling Stone cover story ended Gen. McChrystal’s career by including numerous intemperate quotes and, in doing so, revealingly prompted widespread animosity among his media colleagues for the crime of Making a General Look Bad – was on MSNBC yesterday with Martin Bashir. Hastings explained how the media has been devoted to Petraeus’ glorification and thus ignored all the substantive reasons why Petraeus should have received far more media scrutiny and criticism in the past. In response, Bashir – who has previously demonstrated his contempt for anyone who speaks ill of a US General – expressed his anger at Hastings (“That’s a fairly harsh assessment of a man who is regarded by many in the military as an outstanding four-star general”) and then quickly cut him off just over two minutes into the segment.
Then there’s the Foreign Policy Community, for which David Petraeus has long been regarded with deity status. Foreign Policy Magazine Managing Editor Blake Hounshell, under the headline “The Tragedy of David Petraeus”, gushedthat “Petraeus’s downfall is a huge loss for the United States,” as “not only was he one of the country’s top strategic thinkers, he was also one of the few public figures revered by all sides of the political spectrum for his dedication and good judgment.” He added: “He salvaged two disastrous wars, for two very different presidents.”
Also at Foreign Policy, Thomas Ricks, formerly of the Washington Post, arguedthat Obama should not have accepted his resignation: “So the surprise to me is that Obama let him go. But the administration’s loss may be Princeton’s gain.” Like most people in the media, Ricks has long been an ardent admirer of Petraeus, even turning his platform over to Paula Broadwell in the past for her to spread her hagiography far and wide.
There are several revealing lessons about this media swooning for Petraeus even as he exits from a scandal that would normally send them into tittering delight. First, military worship is the central religion of America’s political and media culture. The military is by far the most respected and beloved institution among the US population – a dangerous fact in any democracy – and, even assuming they wanted to (which they don’t), our brave denizens of establishment journalism are petrified of running afoul of that kind of popular sentiment.
Recall the intense controversy that erupted last Memorial Day when MSNBC’s Chris Hayes gently pondered whether all soldiers should be considered “heroes”. His own network, NBC, quickly assembled a panel on the Today Show to unanimously denounce him in the harshest and most personal terms (“I hope that he doesn’t get more viewers as a result of this…this guy is like a – if you’ve seen him…he looks like a weenie” – “Could you be more inappropriate on Memorial Day?”), and Hayes then subjected himself to the predictable ritual of public apology (though he notably did not retract the substance of his remarks).
Hayes was forced (either overtly or by the rising pressure) to apologize because his comments were blasphemous: of America’s true religion. At virtually every major sporting event, some uber-patriotic display of military might is featured as the crowd chants and swoons. It’s perfectly reasonable not to hold members of the military responsible for the acts of aggression ordered by US politicians, but that hardly means that the other extreme – compelled reverence – is justifiable either. 
Yet US journalists – whose ostensible role is to be adversarial to powerful and secretive political institutions (which includes, first and foremost, the National Security State) – are the most pious high priests of this national religion. John Parker, former military reporter and fellow of the University of Maryland Knight Center for Specialized Journalism-Military Reporting, wrote an extraordinarily good letter back in 2010 regarding why leading Pentagon reporters were so angry at WikiLeaks for revealing government secrets: because they identify with the military to the point of uncritical adoration:
“The career trend of too many Pentagon journalists typically arrives at the same vanishing point: Over time they are co-opted by a combination of awe – interacting so closely with the most powerfully romanticized force of violence in the history of humanity – and the admirable and seductive allure of the sharp, amazingly focused demeanor of highly trained military minds. Top military officers have their s*** together and it’s personally humbling for reporters who’ve never served to witness that kind of impeccable competence. These unspoken factors, not to mention the inner pull of reporters’ innate patriotism, have lured otherwise smart journalists to abandon – justifiably in their minds – their professional obligation to treat all sources equally and skeptically. . . .
“Pentagon journalists and informed members of the public would benefit from watching ‘The Selling of the Pentagon’, a 1971 documentary. It details how, in the height of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon sophisticatedly used taxpayer money against taxpayers in an effort to sway their opinions toward the Pentagon’s desires for unlimited war. Forty years later, the techniques of shaping public opinion via media has evolved exponentially. It has reached the point where flipping major journalists is a matter of painting in their personal numbers.”
That is what makes this media worship of All Things Military not only creepy to behold, but downright dangerous.
Second, it is truly remarkable what ends people’s careers in Washington – and what does not end them. As Hastings detailed in that interview, Petraeus has left a string of failures and even scandals behind him: a disastrous Iraqi training program, a worsening of the war in Afghanistan since he ran it, the attempt to convert the CIA into principally a para-military force, the series of misleading statements about the Benghazi attack and the revealed large CIA presence in Libya. To that one could add the constant killing of innocent people in the Muslim world without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.
Yet none of those issues provokes the slightest concern from our intrepid press corps. His career and reputation could never be damaged, let alone ended, by any of that. Instead, it takes a sex scandal – a revelation that he had carried on a perfectly legal extramarital affair – to force him from power. That is the warped world of Washington. Of all the heinous things the CIA does, the only one that seems to attract the notice or concern of our media is a banal sex scandal. Listening to media coverage, one would think an extramarital affair is the worst thing the CIA ever did, maybe even the only bad thing it ever did (Andrea Mitchell: “an agency that has many things to be proud about: many things to be proud about”).
Third, there is something deeply symbolic and revealing about this whole episode. Broadwell ended up spending substantial time with Petraeus when she, in essence, embedded with him and followed him around Afghanistan in order to write her biography. What ended up being produced was not only the type of propagandistic hagiography such arrangements typically produce, but also deeply personal affection as well.
This is access journalism and the embedding dynamic in its classic form, just a bit more vividly expressed. The very close and inter-dependent relationship between media figures and the political and military officials they cover often produces exactly these same sentiments even if they do not find the full-scale expression as they did in this case. In that regard, the relationship between the now-former CIA Director and his fawning hagiographer should be studied in journalism schools to see the results reliably produced by access journalism and the embedding process. Whatever Broadwell did for Petraeus is what US media figures are routinely doing for political and especially military officials with their “journalism”.
Other matters
Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith, formerly with the Bush justice department, has an excellent analysis explaining why “one important consequence of President Obama’s re-election will be the further entrenchment, and legitimation, of the basic counterterrorism policies that Obama continued, with tweaks, from the late Bush administration.” He explains why an Obama presidency will strengthen these policies far more than a Romney presidency could have (as a former Bush official, Goldsmith is understandably delighted by this fact).
In Seattle tonight, I’m delivering the keynote speech to the annual Bill of Rights dinner for the ACLU in Washington; there are still a few tickets left for the event, which begins at 7:00 pm, and they can be obtained here.
Finally, I participated, along with ABC’s Jake Tapper and Lisa Rosenberg, in a report by NPR’s “On the Media’ on Obama’s first term record on transparency. My participation is in the first four minutes or so and can be heard here. I was also interviewed yesterday by NPR’s local Seattle affiliate for about 30 minutes on Obama’s foreign policy and civil liberties record, and that segment, which was quite good as it included several adversarial calls from listeners, can be heard here.
UPDATE [Sun.]: CORRECTION
I wrote above that Petraeus “sat on [Broadwell’s] dissertation committee”. This is inaccurate. Petraeus was one of Broadwell’s “dissertation advisers”.

Advertisements

Obama-Mania? Cult of Personality? Politics Or Theater?

Dear Crystal Lucas Perry,

First as 1 artist to another, I appreciate you &all the hard work that went into creating this. HOWEVER, what I strongly disagree with, is making the POTUS into a celebrity.Creating this mythos around a man whose job is to lead the country FORWARD. He’s not a HOLLYWOOD STAR/ACTOR. I think it’s disrespectful.Will he go down in history as a SUPERSTAR or someone who really moved the country forward? Allegiance to a man? American Idol? Exalt & Elevate integrity, peace, love & truth. Poetic License? http://youtu.be/c_d9mntKvGM  My comment on YouTube

 I wish I could find the right words to express how uncomfortable it makes me feel. It’s like some kind of cult or something. “The Cult of Obama” Obama-Mania. People are all frenzied, teary eyed, gushing like they are having orgasms over him. That last campaign with the Obama girl was really over the top. What is that? Why do people need to idolize him? How is that cool for a thinking, educated, civilized nation of people? What if they did that to Bush, whom they clearly did not like. What if the Tea Party wrote songs about John Boehner?

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.

Is this really poetic license or is it opportunism? The number of YouTube videos that are out with people singing to him, and the number of hits these videos are getting begs to question the real motive behind this type of “free advertisement”.

I don’t  particularly agree with all that is presented in this movie, but the song does kind of say it all for me.

It just don’t sit right with me, and this is a very subjective assessment on my part. But idolizing another human being is a sure fired way to trouble. Look at the many other cult personalities that have lead people into serious trouble. Again this is subjective.

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 personality

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



A 1950s Chinese propaganda poster showing a happy family of five enjoying life under the image of Mao Zedong. The caption above the picture reads “The happy life Chairman Mao gives us”.

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.

Etymology

The term Cult of personality or Personality Cult first appeared in Nikita Khrushchev‘s Secret Speech in 1956[1]. Cult of the individual is a more accurate translation[2].

Background

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.

Purpose

Personality cults were first described in relation to totalitarian regimes that sought to alter or transform society according to radical ideas.[3] 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:

I know exactly what you mean. There’s this guy in my health club who wears an ‘Obama Knows’ t-shirt. The other day I went up to him and asked him, “Knows what?” He really couldn’t answer me.

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”.

“Obama’s popularity is clear evidence of a brand strategy that has succeeded beyond any strategists wildest dream and further proof that once you build a compelling saga and unleash it to the world, there is no telling how far and wide it will go. From a branding perspective, Obama may have become too hot too fast and now one of his biggest challenges might be dealing with the inevitable backlash created by the frenzied admiration from the millions of kool-aid drinking Barackolytes:”
 More from Dorothy:“I honestly don’t know whether to put this in religion or politics. I honestly feel the passion for Senator Obama expressed by most of his followers has equal elements of both – even if they deny it. But I suspect the moderators would move it here to politics if I put it in religion, so here it is in politics. I know this will make many people angry (primarily Obama followers), but I am not looking to debate. I just wanted to display some of the images of Obama because I find the whole media’s marketing – in this case, just the visual elements- behind the man so fascinating.
“CNN’s Carol Costello said that audience response at a Barack Obama rally is “a scene some increasingly find not inspirational, but ‘creepy,’ ” quoting columnists who have likened Obama supporters to members of a cult or described their enthusiasm as “creepy.” On-screen text during Costello’s report read: “OBAMA-MANIA BACKLASH” and “PASSION ‘CULT-LIKE’ TO SOME.” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer similarly cited other writers to make the same assertion: “ABC’s Jake Tapper notes the ‘Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities’ of ‘Obama worshipers,’ what Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times calls ‘the Cult of Obama.’ ”

US Elections: The Empty Politics of Duopoly

Friday, November 9, 2012
US Elections: The Empty Politics of Duopoly
Nile Bowie, Contributor
Activist Post

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. [1]

In the nation that gave birth to the marketing concept of branding, it is to be assumed that politicians would eventually adopt the same techniques used to promote consumer products – enter Obama.

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. [2]

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.

Patriot Game – OBAMA VS ROMNEY VIDEO GAME!

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. [3] 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. [4] 

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. [5]

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. [6] 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. [7]

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:


The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves. – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Notes:



[3] Obama and Romney agree to cowardly debates, Russia Today, October 16, 2012


[5] Gary Johnson Pulls One Million Votes, One Percent, Reason Foundation, November 7, 2012

[6] RT presents third-party presidential debate, Russia Today, October 19, 2012

[7] Yemen drone strike kills ‘al-Qaeda members’, Al-Jazeera, November 09, 2012

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.

The Special Interests Won Again

Cory Michael Skaaren Art

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The Special Interests Won Again

Paul Craig Roberts, Contributor

The election that was supposed to be too close to call turned out not to be so close after all. In my opinion, Obama won for two reasons: (1) Obama is non-threatening and inclusive, whereas Romney exuded a “us vs. them” impression that many found threatening, and (2) the election was not close enough for the electronic voting machines to steal.

As readers know, I don’t think that either candidate is a good choice or that either offers a choice. Washington is controlled by powerful interest groups, not by elections. What the two parties fight over is not alternative political visions and different legislative agendas, but which party gets to be the whore for Wall Street, the military-security complex, Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and energy, mining, and timber interests.

Being the whore is important, because whores are rewarded for the services that they render. To win the White House or a presidential appointment is a career-making event as it makes a person sought after by rich and powerful interest groups. In Congress the majority party can provide more services and is thus more valuable than the minority party. One of our recent presidents who was not rich ended up with $36 million shortly after leaving office, as did former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who served Washington far better than he served his own country.

Wars are profitable for the military/security complex. Israel rewards its servants and punishes its enemies. Staffing environmental regulatory agencies with energy, mining, and timber executives is regarded by those interests as very friendly behavior.

Many Americans understand this and do not bother to vote as they know that whichever candidate or party wins, the interest groups prevail. Ronald Reagan was the last president who stood up to interest groups, or, rather, to some of them. Wall Street did not want his tax rate reductions, as Wall Street thought the result would be higher inflation and interest rates and the ruination of their stock and bond portfolios. The military/security complex did not want Reagan negotiating with Gorbachev to end the cold war.

What is curious is that voters don’t understand how politics really works. They get carried away with the political rhetoric and do not see the hypocrisy that is staring them in the face.

Proud patriotic macho American men voted for Romney who went to Israel and, swearing allegiance to his liege lord, groveled at the feet of Netanyahu.

Obama plays on the heart strings of his supporters by relating a story of a child with leukemia now protected by Obamacare, while he continues to murder thousands of children and their parents with drones and other military actions in seven countries.

Obama was able to elicit cheers from supporters as he described the onward and upward path of America toward greater moral accomplishments, while his actual record is that of a tyrant who codified into law the destruction of the US Constitution and the civil liberties of the American people.

The election was about nothing except who gets to serve the interest groups. The wars were not an issue in the election. Washington’s provoking of Iran, Russia, and China by surrounding them with military bases was not an issue. The unconstitutional powers asserted by the executive branch to detain citizens indefinitely without due process and to assassinate them on suspicion alone were not an issue in the election.

The sacrifice of the natural environment to timber, mining, and energy interests was not an issue, except to promise more sacrifice of the environment to short-term profits. Out of one side of the mouth came the nonsense promise of restoring the middle class while from the other side of the mouth issued defenses of the offshoring of their jobs and careers as free trade.

The inability to acknowledge and to debate real issues is a threat not only to the United States but also to the entire world. Washington’s reckless pursuit of hegemony driven by an insane neoconservative ideology is leading to military confrontation with Russia and China.

Eleven years of gratuitous wars with more on the way and an economic policy that protects financial institutions from their mistakes have burdened the US with massive budget deficits that are being monetized.

The US dollar’s loss of the reserve currency role and hyperinflation are plausible consequences of disastrous economic policy.

How is it possible that “the world’s only superpower” can hold a presidential election without any discussion of these very real and serious problems being part of it?

How can anyone be excited or made hopeful about such an outcome?

This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts’ new website Institute For Political Economy.  Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

Tag Cloud