Comments: Welcome To The Terrordome

I don't know if I follow you here. Obama hasn't promised to hold onto Iraq (or indeed to give us gay marriage). He's promised to move us towards energy independence and try to do something about health care. Earlier I might have worried about Iraq, but now that the population has forced us into a tentative timetable I think we can count on President Notcrazy to withdraw after minimal pressure. Obama can add, he knows we need money, and he knows the Iraqis want us gone.

Posted by hf at August 30, 2008 09:07 PM

I would be amazed if all US troops were withdrawn from Iraq during an Obama administration. Whatever his personal wishes, he will come under INTENSE pressure to hold onto it in some way. But in any case, Iraq is not the US empire. Whatever happens there, Obama is certainly not going to withdraw the US from the rest of the Middle East, Asia, Europe, etc.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at August 30, 2008 09:10 PM

A condo on the moon might not be a bad idea after the election.

Posted by Mike Meyer at August 30, 2008 09:21 PM

hf: Obama has already said he plans some sort of incursion into Pakistan, ostrensibly to "get Bin Laden". (Where have I heard THAT before?) My guess is it won't be with a rifle, riding on a moped. Anything more will look like and end up being another, "ANOTHER INVASION." (have ya got an extra 12 bilion/mo)100 yrs in Iraq OR 100 yrs in Afghanistan/Pakistan its all long term empire planing. IMPEACHMENT IS the only way off our "Highway to Hell" and time is way long past due for it to be any kind of a guarantee other than a last chance.

Posted by Mike Meyer at August 30, 2008 09:39 PM

But why don't you want "inadequate imperial manager(s)" like Sarah, or George? The more of them, and the greater their inadequacy, the sooner the Empire will crash.

Posted by donescobar at August 30, 2008 10:35 PM

Well, yes, Don Escobar. Would that W himself could run again, as the man who did greater damage to the American empire in 8 years than the Soviets managed in 80. (Not that the Soviets were really trying.)

But purely for amusement's sake, may I be the first to argue the value of a split ticket vote? Someone should mention it to the PUMAs.

Posted by Rob Weaver at August 30, 2008 10:56 PM

Let us not get too optimistic about the empire crashing.
There are two lawsuits against both the presidential candidates about their eligibility for presidency.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10006
Mike Meyer, you are the constitution expert. What happens if neither is eligible?

And while that is being sorted out, let us be grateful to Sen mcCain for small favours!
http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2008/08/29/thank-mccain-for-small-favors/

Posted by Rupa Shah at August 30, 2008 11:00 PM

Go Buick! Vote for me, and everybody gets a free tire rotation by the mid-term elections!(And don't forget to check your tire pressure regularly.)

Posted by Jonathan Versen at August 30, 2008 11:47 PM

Rupa Shah: One would think Barr or one of the other candidates would win by default. In case of an invalid election the House votes on the matter, BUT HISTORICALLY, it seems SCOTUS makes those decisions (2000 election-Florida)
He's President of the UNITED STATES=Federal United States. He is NOT president of the People of The United States but of the group of 50 states, state governments, themselves. Thus the Electorial College as each state is deciding who they want for president. The president is for the benefit of the federal government, the People only when the federal interests and the People's interests coinside.

Posted by Mike Meyer at August 30, 2008 11:57 PM

I don't have much to offer, but I think this pretty right on. I also think it's reason number one why obama wins in november: the rulers of the world might be greedy and stupid, but there are bells and whistles on this mccain guy and not the kind announcing newest and best. Dude basically picked Harriet Miers for his running mate, not as a trial balloon, but bonafide name printed below his on the bumper sticker. If there was a beginning to the end of napalm's campaign, this is it.
At this point, I think responsible lefties need to start thinking of how we're going to use an obama victory to advance left causes. Just because he wants to co-opt change and run a more efficient empire, doesn't mean that there aren't opportunities for smart strategies reaching out to the millions of people who've gotten excited about their own agency.

Posted by history is a weapon at August 31, 2008 12:31 AM

It’s not just the “experience” issue. Palin is a woman who admits she has never CONSIDERED America’s place in the world. Should McCain/Palin win she would be a heartbeat away from being the President and while definitely not “stupid” she is staggeringly “ignorant” of the threats this nation faces and how to meet them.
Additionally, her positions on Women’s rights issues are so far out of the American mainstream that the mainstream is not even in sight. She is anti-choice EVEN if the mother’s life is in danger, even in the case of rape, even in the case of incest. She is against birth control, even condom use by married couples. She is a far right Evangelical Christian creationist from a tiny crazy-right religious community in a valley in Alaska.
This woman is so far out of the mainstream on every issue, is so “ignorant” on SO MANY issues that she doesn’t bear any serious consideration.
AND YET - She is not the issue – her judgment is not the issue – her sex is not the issue. The ISSUE is John McCain’s outrageous LACK OF JUDGMENT in even thinking for a second that this woman should be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Mrs. Palin is a fine woman, a GREAT mother and an exemplary Alaskan – none of which matters – none of which is an issue. John McCain – by choosing her over so many others so vastly more qualified, informed, interested and available is AN INSULT to the American people and shows that in his case “MAVERICK” means as Obama said about him - “John, you just don’t get it.”

Posted by Mylegacy at August 31, 2008 01:10 AM

Looks to me like Ms. Palin is a TAXPAYER and I don't care about her religion or her love life. That Mike Wooten situation might be a problem(abuse of office) but I'M SURE the local republicans and oil corps will helps US through all that. Unless she has actual charges pending have at it, she's an AMERICAN.

Posted by Mike Meyer at August 31, 2008 01:45 AM
Make no mistake about this: whatever explanations American liberals and Donkey party cheerleaders might churn out about being "adult" and "having solutions" and "lesser of two evils", etc, they don't give a shit about anything else but "abortion" and the one or two other things that important to them.

Well-off white people are the worst allies in the class struggle ever. The only way to rely on them is to become rich and white. Anything less and they'll single-issue* their way to some policy or asshole candidate that gets their rocks off and happily ignore the fallout from the nightmares that political decision creates for the rest of the world.

The U.S. had this problem during the Civil Rights movement. (Remember, kids, when well-off white liberals wagged their fingers at the much-too-radical MLK? Gosh, how patient we can be when it's not your people being raped and your churches being bombed.) The content liberal class is the gift that keeps on giving, like herpes.

We may well be better off with Repugs in office. They will send us screaming downhill in an exhilirating race into the Sixth Circle of Hell and, as they do so, they will discombubulate those content with Obama and his ilk. Repugs see no reason not to bring Guantanamo here. Once the government starts torturing lots of white people, progressives can make some progress.

With taser use on the rise, this could happen sooner than later.

(Remember kids, school shootings were on a steep downward trend during the Columbine shooting. Why was the world in a tizzy over it? White kids get shot. And I needn't point out brides and wells. . .)

*Yes, I just transformed the phrase "single-issue" into a verb. I can do that. I am a badass.

Posted by No One of Consequence at August 31, 2008 03:59 AM

Oh, I dunno, the Roman empire experienced quite a lot of incompetence and abuse and kept going just fine for hundreds of years more. Just read Suetonius - Caligula, Nero, Tiberius, and many, many others - all mad as a hatter. And those were the good times!

Posted by abb1 at August 31, 2008 08:05 AM

The only "class struggle" I can see is the struggle of the poor and lower middle class to stay afloat.
Wish I could spot another kind of class struggle. Let me know if one starts.

Posted by donescobar at August 31, 2008 09:38 AM

Mike Meyer: Many thanks for the explanation about the constitutional issue.
And yes, I get it--'President of the United States of Ameica' and 'President of the People of United States of America'--there is a wide gulf!

Posted by Rupa Shah at August 31, 2008 09:38 AM

How many of you have noticed being called on by flight attendants to give a round of applause to the military personnel on board a flight

You have got to be shitting me. Does this really happen these days?

Posted by Mike at August 31, 2008 11:11 AM

I think abb1 may be right. Besides, the empire has always been a little crazy. Kennedy and Kruschchev nearly blew us all up over nothing--the location of some missiles. "Strategists" in the Cold War got all bent out of shape concocting various war game scenarios where this or that factor would give someone an "advantage" in a nuclear war, as though they were discussing a computer game. Which would all have been funny if it weren't for the fact that people in power took this stuff seriously.

Posted by Donald Johnson at August 31, 2008 12:38 PM

Yup, but I'd say that people in power took it personally rather than seriously. If they had taken it seriously, they'd have gotten out of the game. People who worry a lot and laught a lot take it seriously.

Posted by donescobar at August 31, 2008 12:54 PM

hv, I couldn't agree more. I loved reading Digby when she was outraged by Bush, but I was totally put off by her acquiesence to the same actions by the Dems.
I've found the same trend in lots of lefty bloggers - how they can bet excited by Obama is beyond me, if they hold true to any ideals.
Do you have any blog recommendations?

I've found Glenn Greenwald very consistent, even his support for Obama is the grudging, "the other guy is worse" kind.

Posted by Phaedrus at August 31, 2008 01:18 PM

how do you keep from taking it personally when you're deep in it? all the corrective measures ever built seem pointed toward fixing this result. helping people keep their distance from power.

Posted by hapa at August 31, 2008 03:11 PM

Phaedrus: I do not know of blogs off hand but Prof Paul Street has consistently crticised Sen Obama's positions and he has a very good article about his nomination acceptance speech.
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/18645
His articles appear regularly on www.zcommunications.org/znet

and here is a video of his lecture on "Empire and Inequality"
http://www.archive.org/details/paul_street_grand_rapids


Posted by Rupa Shah at August 31, 2008 03:13 PM

I think the analysis is flawed. The President today is essentially a figurehead. After WWII the country has been run by the military-industrial complex. Our military (and the intelligence services born from the military and the corporate world) outgrew the democracy that gave birth to it. This has happened throughout history. The CIA disobeyed Ike and flew U-2s over the USSR, Gary Powers "crashed" and, voila!, the Eisenhower-Krushchev peace talks were cancelled and the Cold War continued. You can believe whatever you want about the NSAMs 263 and 273, but JFK did say that he was "going to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces" and we know who survived 1963. To suggest that JFK-LBJ was all of one piece is lazy thinking at best.

More and more since WWII, the President is pretty much a figurehead, a performance artist on the political stage. There's a bit of wiggle room between the Dems and the Republicans, but where the MIC is concerned you either follow orders or you get removed. Our current Prez is the perfect example. Does anyone think he's made any decision or changed any course without the advice and consent of our real rulers? Or that he could?

I would rather look at Palin than Romney on my TV, but I'll have my sound down. Just saying.

Posted by Bob In Pacifica at August 31, 2008 03:40 PM

I think the analysis is flawed. The President today is essentially a figurehead. After WWII the country has been run by the military-industrial complex. Our military (and the intelligence services born from the military and the corporate world) outgrew the democracy that gave birth to it. This has happened throughout history. The CIA disobeyed Ike and flew U-2s over the USSR, Gary Powers "crashed" and, voila!, the Eisenhower-Krushchev peace talks were cancelled and the Cold War continued. You can believe whatever you want about the NSAMs 263 and 273, but JFK did say that he was "going to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces" and we know who survived 1963. To suggest that JFK-LBJ was all of one piece is lazy thinking at best.

More and more since WWII, the President is pretty much a figurehead, a performance artist on the political stage. There's a bit of wiggle room between the Dems and the Republicans, but where the MIC is concerned you either follow orders or you get removed. Our current Prez is the perfect example. Does anyone think he's made any decision or changed any course without the advice and consent of our real rulers? Or that he could?

I would rather look at Palin than Romney on my TV, but I'll have my sound down. Just saying.

Posted by Bob In Pacifica at August 31, 2008 03:40 PM

abb1:

I dunno, the Roman empire experienced quite a lot of incompetence and abuse and kept going just fine for hundreds of years more.

Sure, but that was a very different situation. Rome was much less powerful in an absolute sense than the US, with control of much less of the earth. Meanwhile, the destructive technology of the day was both far less powerful and far more comparatively expensive. The Germanic tribes didn't have access to nuclear weapons. And there weren't the same kinds of overall stress like global warming, etc.

If all of that had existed at the time of Rome, I don't think it would have just quietly petered out over centuries as it did. It would have gone out with a bang.

Donald Johnson:

the empire has always been a little crazy. Kennedy and Kruschchev nearly blew us all up over nothing--the location of some missiles. "Strategists" in the Cold War got all bent out of shape concocting various war game scenarios where this or that factor would give someone an "advantage" in a nuclear war, as though they were discussing a computer game.

Yes, which is why the ones who are even crazier than the sane ones are so scary. Given enough time, and left to their own devices, the sane ones will destroy everything. The crazy ones will do so much more quickly. As bad as JFK was during the Cuban missile crisis, I'm very happy it was him in charge and not John McCain.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at August 31, 2008 04:13 PM

Circular argument, Bob. Sure, the MI Complex runs things, but that same complex ensures that our presidential choices are the Giant Douche and a Pile of Shit. They work very hard to make it so. Even mild populism is unacceptable. The president is only a figurehead because he chooses to be. A truly populist president would be completely off the leash: he or she would dispense with figurehead status on day one, and there wouldn't be much the powerful could do about it, short of assassination.

Posted by No One of Consequence at August 31, 2008 04:30 PM

@NoOneofConsequence and donescobar:

Arguing for letting the Republicans keep control so that the empire will crash that much sooner is one thing -- but to claim to be doing so on behalf of the people who're already having the hardest time is just armchair Leninism.

Comfortable white liberal professionals will have an easier time surviving another 4-8 years of steep decline than the working poor and barely getting-by "middle class", not to mention people who depend on already slashed public benefits.

And that's even assuming that the eventual result of the suffering is a progressive social movement. The likelihood in this country is far more to be some kind of overtly fascist formation.

Rooting for things to get worse faster by keeping the insane wing of the power elite in charge is crap analysis and morally bankrupt.

Posted by Nell at August 31, 2008 05:27 PM

Jon: counting on the thrills of chialism and military triumph...

Did you mean chiliasm?

Posted by Nell at August 31, 2008 05:35 PM

What happens if neither is eligible?

Everyone laughs at you and ignores your silly interpretation?

Posted by hf at August 31, 2008 05:57 PM

Anyway, it's all academic. I hear next month the earth will be destroyed by the hadron collider, disappear into a black hole.

Posted by abb1 at August 31, 2008 06:01 PM

JS, cheer up:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Posted by Don Bacon at August 31, 2008 06:25 PM

Nell:

Comfortable white liberal professionals will have an easier time surviving another 4-8 years of steep decline than the working poor and barely getting-by "middle class", not to mention people who depend on already slashed public benefits.

Not saying that you're doing so, but: I often see this argument being deployed against (genuine) progressives—typically by comfortable white liberal professionals—to chastise them for even considering straying from the Democratic reservation. And of course the speakers ignore that it was Clinton who championed attacks on the working class like the WTO, NAFTA, the (failed) MAI, PNTR for China, "ending welfare as we know it", vast expansion of the prison population, etc. And Clinton also benefited from the enormous dot-com bubble, which disguised the worst effects of some of these policies. So I don't buy the argument that Republicans are that much worse (or at least not anymore) for working poor and the middle class.

There's still not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, and that dime's worth is mainly in their ability to disguise their true intentions—which makes the Democrats just that much more dangerous.

Posted by John Caruso at August 31, 2008 06:27 PM

Now I can't protect a paid-off defect
Check the record
And reckon an intentional wreck
Played off as some intellect
Made the call, took the fall
Broke the laws
Not my fault they're fallin' off

...

How to fight the power
Cannot run and hide
But it shouldn't be suicide
In a game a fool without the rules
Got a hell of a nerve to just criticize


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmmS5Odu6Ag

Posted by Save the Oocytes at August 31, 2008 07:31 PM

no one of consequence, what did happen to JFK? He was assassinated (along with RFK and MLK). LBJ took his turn on the dancefloor, gave the military its war, and retired to Texas. Nixon grew too big for his britches when he created the DEA. Take a look at all the people who brought him down from E. Howard Hunt, the Plumbers, Butterfield, even Bob Woodward. They all had intelligence "histories". It was indeed a silent coup. Jimmy Carter? The October Surprise. I'm sure we all remember those "Retired CIA Agents for Bush" back in 1980. And Bush. And Son of Bush. Considering their history I suspect that both Clintons have been intelligence assets from their days at Yale.

Which is not to say that a President couldn't act independently of the MIC. But for how long? And how would all of our glorious media report it? Assassinations? The media can still say "lone nut" with a straight face when the most cursory examination of the evidence says otherwise. Sex scandals? Someone puts money in someone else's pocket? You ever think about how quickly Agnew was disposed of BEFORE Nixon was removed? Coincidence? Obama's plane had "mechanical problems" three days before the FISA vote. Coincidence?

As much as I want a courageous President, it won't do any good until a large enough segment of the population of the country is willing to publicly acknowledge what has happened to our government. Until then it's all for naught. When the East Germans could publicly make jokes about the Stasi the game was over. We haven't reached that level of awareness yet.

Posted by Bob In Pacifica at August 31, 2008 07:51 PM

no one of consequence, what did happen to JFK? He was assassinated (along with RFK and MLK). LBJ took his turn on the dancefloor, gave the military its war, and retired to Texas. Nixon grew too big for his britches when he created the DEA. Take a look at all the people who brought him down from E. Howard Hunt, the Plumbers, Butterfield, even Bob Woodward. They all had intelligence "histories". It was indeed a silent coup. Jimmy Carter? The October Surprise. I'm sure we all remember those "Retired CIA Agents for Bush" back in 1980. And Bush. And Son of Bush. Considering their history I suspect that both Clintons have been intelligence assets from their days at Yale.

Which is not to say that a President couldn't act independently of the MIC. But for how long? And how would all of our glorious media report it? Assassinations? The media can still say "lone nut" with a straight face when the most cursory examination of the evidence says otherwise. Sex scandals? Someone puts money in someone else's pocket? You ever think about how quickly Agnew was disposed of BEFORE Nixon was removed? Coincidence? Obama's plane had "mechanical problems" three days before the FISA vote. Coincidence?

As much as I want a courageous President, it won't do any good until a large enough segment of the population of the country is willing to publicly acknowledge what has happened to our government. Until then it's all for naught. When the East Germans could publicly make jokes about the Stasi the game was over. We haven't reached that level of awareness yet.

Posted by Bob In Pacifica at August 31, 2008 07:51 PM

Sorry for all the reposts, but I hit the button, wait a minute, and if nothing happens I try again. I'll wait five minutes next time.

Posted by Bob In Pacifica at August 31, 2008 07:53 PM

Arguing for letting the Republicans keep control so that the empire will crash that much sooner is one thing -- but to claim to be doing so on behalf of the people who're already having the hardest time is just armchair Leninism.

Comfortable white liberal professionals will have an easier time surviving another 4-8 years of steep decline than the working poor and barely getting-by "middle class", not to mention people who depend on already slashed public benefits.

I think you'll find, nell, that the people having the hardest time under the American empire don't actually live in America. Destroying the US government's ability to unilaterally "project power" anywhere on the globe might worsen the credit squeeze on low-income USians? Cry me a feckin' river.

Posted by Rob Weaver at August 31, 2008 08:41 PM

If I thought that letting the insane wing of the ruling elite would actually in the short term [destroy] the ability of the U.S. to unilaterally "project power" anywhere in the globe, I'd have to seriously consider it.

As things stand, though, my assessment is that the End of the Empire isn't nearly so close at hand. Which means that a McCain administration would result in both more U.S.-wrought death and destruction around the globe and more misery and insecurity for the bottom two-thirds of the U.S. population than an Obama presidency. (Though I certainly see plenty of continuing U.S.-wrought violence ahead, particularly if that 'blast Waziristan' bit is anything but election sloganeering.)

@John Caruso: You're preaching to the choir on the Clinton policies' war on the poor. To me, there is a dime's worth of difference in the current choice, though.

There's a real difference, one that could have lasting political as well as economic effects, in the ability of labor to organize and win contracts.

There's a real difference between some form of universal health insurance, even a crappy Pharma/financialco-blessed version, and "You're on your own; go to the emergency room."

There's a real difference between a Supreme Court that's no worse and possibly a bit better than the one we have, and one that would have gone the other way in Hamdan and Boumediene.

My experience is that the "heighten the contradictions" line hasn't gotten great results. But maybe things have changed enough that it will play more of a real role from here on.

This is a tough discussion to have online because we don't know or trust each other. I don't have any idea what kinds of work you do, Rob or NoOne or others, to promote a different kind of politics, nor do you about me.

I'm very, very interested in knowing what kinds of organizing and activism make sense to you all.

Posted by Nell at August 31, 2008 11:36 PM

What a bunch of sophomoric bullshit laced with delusions of grandeur.

Posted by Steve Mullen at September 1, 2008 12:24 AM

I couldn't agree with this analysis more. Excellently said.

Posted by Sergio at September 1, 2008 12:40 AM

Nell: I agree that rooting for Hitler because his Reich was bound to be shortlived is morally dodgy.

But one can both hope Obama wins against McCain and be opposed to Obama. Both positions are entirely consistent. And if Obama loses, it won't be for lack of cheerleaders, so the consistency is both theoretical and practical.

And speaking of cheerleaders, liberals are now supposed to go after Palin because of motherhood issues regarding her trisomic son/grandson? Is being a scumbag an acceptable price to pay get Obama elected? Honestly, how low do we have to stoop?

Or take Biden, that monstrosity of a man, who manages to be both verbose and dumb. The guy's record is not only atrocious but he's a certified imbecile with the worldview of a 9th grader. And about as articulate as George Bush.

Pro death penalty, pro-max-incarceration, pro-war, pro-empire, pro-credit card companies...
And he's got a new map of the Middle East in his pocket! (Stolen, I assume, from the Gertrude Bell archives...)

The fact is that Obama-Biden is essentially a Lieberman-Lieberman ticket.

Talk of third party or radical realignment is as timely as it'll ever be.

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at September 1, 2008 01:02 AM

"hat a bunch of sophomoric bullshit laced with delusions of grandeur."

Steve, if you want people to take your comment seriously, you'll have to be more specific. There's lots of sophomoric bullshit in the world, and a fair amount of non-sophomoric non-bullshit falsely labeled as sophomoric bullshit by sophomoric bullshitters, and it's hard to know where your comment fits in.

Posted by Donald Johnson at September 1, 2008 08:41 AM

Two cheers for sophomoric bullshit, where you can find occasional nuggets. As I recall it, from dark coffeehouses and beery dorm rooms in the Sixties, many of the kids could separate the bullshit from the insights, and they knew you'd have to pay the price--listening to both. And much of it was fun, from Camus to Marcuse. Better than the arid careerism of today and the "expertise" sold by the media and their sponsors.
Armchair? Yes. but who is building barricades?

Posted by donescobar at September 1, 2008 09:50 AM

"Chiliasm"? Is Jesus coming back for a thousand-year cookoff?

Perhaps this is the sophomoric BS which Steve remarked upon. I am happy to provide!

Seriously, this blog is turning into a lot of work if I need to use a dictionary to read it.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at September 1, 2008 10:20 AM

Talk of third party or radical realignment is as timely as it'll ever be.
Posted by Bernard Chazelle at September 1, 2008 01:02 AM

and unfortunately just as futile, bernard...

How is the selection of Palin NOT an admission that the actual names, histories, politics, etc, of our/their candidates are as irrelevant as if they were characters in a movie, and that the 'action' is contained on the story-boards of the bosses who, in regular production meetings at elite gatherings in faux-bucolic, sylvan glades and corporate boardrooms, work out the kinks in the plot and solicit more advertizing?

Posted by woody, tokin librul at September 1, 2008 10:56 AM

Bob: my Mom used to say that you'll know you're doing something right when they try to kill you.

Guess that's what you learn when you live through JFK, RK, and MLK assassinations.

Which is not to say that a President couldn't act independently of the MIC. But for how long?

Long enough. Basically, I conclude that if a progressive, populist demagogue makes it into presidential office, he or she is a fighter with a nigh-fanatic power base. That's what it will take, no less. So that kind of individual is prepared in a way that JFK et. al. were not. He (I'm assuming male, but would be happily wrong) will be on the offense.

And you don't just up and kill such a revolutionary. If you do, the nation will slaughter you. There won't be "investigations" and "inquiries." A demagogue will make it clear that it is the entire social class that is to blame. Pretty soon, everyone that makes six figures is getting drug out into the street and shot.

This didn't occur with JFK because he wasn't a revolutionary; he was merely a politcal opponent of high caliber. It did happen, to a certain extent, with MLK, but blacks didn't have the wherewithall to do more than simply riot. Given the right powerbase, think of the damage that could have been done?

And how would all of our glorious media report it?

Fuck 'em. Use military appropriations to create a rival, non-cable news network that funds local political coverage in every major (and many non-major) cities in the U.S., and encourage party organizers to use these new resources to get the truth out. Because local faces will appear on the network, they will be trusted.

Assassinations? The media can still say "lone nut" with a straight face when the most cursory examination of the evidence says otherwise.

Networks are owned by multinational corporations, all of which have committed felonies, and some of those crimes have yet to be prosecuted. Some of those crimes would be treason if you committed them. As a matter of national security, investigate each corporation and take control of its propaganda division (e.g., CBS, ABC, NBC, etc.). If there is significant pushback, danger, or the corporation's crimes are simply too egregious, dissolve the corporate charter as a matter of national security.

If this sounds like martial law, well, yeah. If martial law is good enough for blacks in the U.S., it's good enough for rich white people. . . and their house negroes.

Sex scandals? Someone puts money in someone else's pocket? You ever think about how quickly Agnew was disposed of BEFORE Nixon was removed? Coincidence? Obama's plane had "mechanical problems" three days before the FISA vote. Coincidence?

Sex scandals don't mean shit if the candidate or officeholder is bold enough. "Yeah, I slept with her. And her. And I'm sleeping with these three tonight. These reporters are just jealous." We have VERY BAD candidates. Their social class is obsessed with sex and doesn't give a flying fuck in a windstorm about murdering brown people abroad -- or even here in the U.S. (This is how aristocracies work. Royal pussy is always news, but who cares if a few hundred peasants starve? Why do you think French aristocrats were surprised during their Revolution?) Up-from-the-bottom revolutionaries are invulnerable to what happened to Edwards. Hell, the populace still doesn't care about Lewinsky. Only the Village cared.

Everything else is just a matter of being aggressive and creating a proper revenge fund. The revenge fund is what I was alluding to earlier in the form of social unrest once a leader is martyred. Just be sure that if you go down, a number of named individuals go down with you. Hell, let them know that they're definate targets.

If the threat is a foreign national, btw, you can just kill him. I have no ethical problems with the deaths of any official in our government, or without, that indulges in war crimes and similar. I have immense practical problems with such death (e.g., they're all replaceable). But once a progressive gets into office, the resource spigot to the right-wing can be cut off, and such assholes become a non-renewable resource. They serve or die -- or just go to prison.

As much as I want a courageous President, it won't do any good until a large enough segment of the population of the country is willing to publicly acknowledge what has happened to our government. Until then it's all for naught. When the East Germans could publicly make jokes about the Stasi the game was over. We haven't reached that level of awareness yet.

You are correct. (Should have read this bit first before starting this reply; we're in agreement. :-]) But as I said before, we won't have such a virtuous President WITHOUT such a strong public. So once we win, we win. This will not be half-assed.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 1, 2008 11:52 AM

Woody: I agree. The Truman Show is real. It's us. In fact I was reminded of that during the Olympics. I tried to watch Usain Bolt in the sprint final live in the morning. Turns out they didn't broadcast it! I read later in the Financial Times that the US was the only country in the world that didn't broadcast it live. Everything has to be fake, like Disneyland.

Obama gives a fine speech promising us happiness, but as John Caruso correctly says it's all a lie, an illusion. Everyone knows it. He knows it, we know it. People are in tears not because there's any connection to reality. On the contrary, people cry best at the movies.

But as Nell points out, there are categories of people for whom life is very real, usually the poor, the sick, the handicapped, the folks stuck in hurricanes. They don't have the luxury of the "theater" of American life.

Re. the futility... it's a mistake to condition hope on an expectation of success. In other words, just do it.


Posted by Bernard Chazelle at September 1, 2008 12:00 PM

YOUR THIRD PARTY already exists and IS a very powerful influence on this upcoming election. Listening to NPR the other day Neil Cohen had a show about media influence with NO mention of the Net in its format, but ALL the callers mention the Net and the show progressed that way. The Net influences this election as it will GREATLY influence all elections from now on, and nothing will stop that. The question is "Will the party work toward electing ITS OWN candidates to office?" Will the party WORK toward a more direct control of governance? And of course, Will WE remain FAITHFUL to THE CONSTITUTION, to defend what WE ARE?
This third party IS NECESSARY as the 2 antique parties have shunned OUR CONSTITUTION and the nation is falling apart. SECURE THE CONSTITUTION and the nation is well able to overcome ALL obsticles. AMERICA needs NO defender, the nation IS THE DEFENDER as long as WE follow THAT piece of paper.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 1, 2008 12:01 PM

Officers' oath (excerpt): "I do do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic . . ."

What we have is domestic enemies of the Constitution.

Posted by Don Bacon at September 1, 2008 12:06 PM

You hope a majority of Americans will acknowledge that they have been fools and idiots for more than half a century? And once they have acknowledged, and understood what our government and our society have become with their consent and support, they will push for, yikes, a new, improved system?
Not in Berkeley or Cambridge, not in Scranton or Sacramento, not today, not tomorrow. We are "political capitalism," in heart and mind. Maybe if five million of us sell pencils on the streets again, we'll get the usual band aids of "change" for a few years.
This ain't no Wonderland. Ths is LA LA land.

Posted by donescobar at September 1, 2008 12:08 PM

I want to second everything Nell says above. I also wonder how many people commenting here are black. And, how blanket condemnation of every political act as something already co-opted by imperialism or corporatism has benefited any alternative party or political system in the past 8 years. It's not that I think there is nothing to condemn -- it's more that what it has led to is lazy thinking and lazier action and playing into the hands of the right. Amiri Baraka - not exactly your middle of the road liberal - made some excellent points on this matter in an essay in "Seeing Black" --http://www.seeingblack.com/article_485.shtml .

Baraka:

"So this is a time much like that in Germany, during the last phase of the Weimar Democratic Republic. Ostensibly a democratic republic, the Depression caused widespread unemployment and great public unrest. And as the curtain began to rise for fascist takeover, (See Brecht’s Berlin) the country, especially the large cities like Berlin, were inundated with pornography, sex crimes, business and political scandals and street fighting, usually between the rising fascists and the communists.


What brought the democratic era to an end was a split between the communists and the social democrats, i.e., the left and the near left and the liberals, which permitted Hitler’s National Socialists in a coalition with the conservatives and nationalists to win the election, even though the left-center coalition had more voters objectively. It was the split which allowed the right to consolidate power.


Recently in the U.S. presidential campaign we have seen two tendencies, the one to vilify and distort Obama from the right, e.g., the recent New Yorker cover described as “satirical” with Obama as a Muslim, his wife as a machine toting militant with an American flag in the fireplace and Osama bin laden in a portrait of honor on the wall. It is objectively a message from McCain, the U.S. Right and the Israelis.


But as well there is the tendency on the presumed left and the social democrats and people styling themselves “progressives” to attack Obama for moving to the right, thereby disappointing some very vocal would-be Obama voters. One woman publicized prominently in the NY Times said now she “hated him.” But as I have said repeatedly this is an imperialist country, with two imperialist parties and a media controlled directly by the 6/10ths of 1 percent of the people that own the land wealth factories, the means of production.


There is no way Obama is even in the presidential race condemning Israel or embracing Cuba. Not to know this is not to know where you are or where you have been for the last 40 years. But even with this clear motion to the center for the purposes of the general election, McCain is still a more backward and a more dangerous candidate and exactly the kind of right leaning militarist that would fit the paradigm for the weak chancellors during Weimar’s last throes that President Hindenburg removed and then appointed Hitler.


It is this split between the left and near left that is being exploited by the right with war and Depression threatening to dump this whole nation on its head, so that Obama will be defeated, McCain elected and with the McCain opening plummet the country headlong into the far, far right. Bush 2 has already obviously set the stage for this. Those elections were stolen out of desperation. The fact that Gore and Kerry were such weak liberals, tied clearly and obviously to the ruling class of this imperialist state allowed that theft to take place with minimum real struggle.


So that is the real struggle unfolding before us. First, to oppose the empty idealism which allows the elitist base to claim to represent the masses but actually have as little to do with them as possible. Allowing seemingly intelligent people to throw their votes away on McKinney or even the racial chauvinist, Nader, thus formalizing a hole in an actual progressive constituency, which allowed Bush 2 to seize power in 2000.


We must also oppose the absolutising of Obama’s progressive stance and,with that, drawing away from him as he gets closer to the general election and tacks toward the middle. This would be the other aspect of the tragic Weimar breakup of the fragile democratic coalition that caused millions to die in fascist purges, concentration camps, or World War 2."


On the other hand, it should be part of our campaign tasks to create a document of planks of progressive character to submit to Obama and publish and popularize this as well, to exert what pressure we can bring to bear on the campaign and publicly for a reversal of Bush’s neo-fascist creations, war, Depression, unemployment, violation of democratic rights, diplomatic isolation from the rest of the world, a general weakening, morally and politically and economically, of the country.

Posted by thomyris at September 1, 2008 08:18 PM

whoops -- quotation marks should be at the very end, not next to last paragraph.

Posted by thomyris at September 1, 2008 08:20 PM

thomyris: I am having trouble with the Hindenburg->Hitler vs McCain->Hitler analogy.

Lieberman? What about Lieberman?

He was Gore's VP pick.

He was (almost) McCain's VP pick.

So either Lieberman is that miraculous politican who could be a communist, a nazi, and a social democrat all at once! Or, rather, he is an ordinary politician who's realized that the parties are essentially indistinguishable and to belong to one or the other is only a question of opportunism.

Which one is it?

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at September 1, 2008 10:02 PM

Thomyris--I am going to vote for Obama, but it's strictly lesser of two evils voting as far as I am concerned. I don't like him, don't trust him, and don't expect much out of him. I think he's less likely to get into a war with Iran. Maybe he'll give us some sort of health care plan. He's better on energy and the environment. On imperialism, he's the kinder gentler sort of warmonger--remember how offended he got when his former friend Rev. Wright suggested that the US had engaged in terrorism?

As for pressuring Obama, sure--I think he needs pressure. I'm not exactly sure what sort of pressure he's going to feel from progressives who will vote for him no matter what. That's the problem people like you and me have--once we say we're going to vote for Obama as the lesser of two evils, he's free to move towards the center, govern from the center, run for re-election from the center and that's been the pattern all along. As some blogger put it in a different context, just because you're on his side doesn't mean he's on your side.

Posted by Donald Johnson at September 1, 2008 10:32 PM

FISA and the 4th Amendent have nothing to do with Israel, Cuba, Weimar, Hitler or even Mckinney or Nader, its about THE CONSTITUTION, nothing to do do with Rev. Wright. Continue killing so WE can have affordable health care---MAYBE.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 1, 2008 11:08 PM

I think Lieberman is an opportunist, and was a terrible choice for Gore. But it doesn't necessarily follow that there is no difference between the parties. And if you listen to right wing radio all you hear is about how Obama was friends with William Ayers, the former Weatherman, ie Obama is close to terrorists, oh what a radical leftist he is.

I think part of the point is that the people in power have power. Without that power, we're wasting our time. Obama is willing to do what it takes to get power -- and yes, selling out on the FISA issue in order to collect campaign funds from the telecorporations was probably part of this. But look at Gorbachev. He didn't get into power by talking about ending the Soviet Union. He wasn't able to initiate glasnost and perestroika until he was General Secretary. Of course we don't know if Obama will move more to the right or to the left once elected. But he does have roots organizing on the South Side of Chicago, which I hope must mean something. Of course, as you guys say, the system will still be the system and the struggle must go on. But even so it will be a great day for African Americans and a blow to (though far from a cure for) our racist past.

Posted by thomyris at September 2, 2008 12:11 AM

But is Biden different from Lieberman? His record indicates he is not. Biden has cheerled every single war waged since 1992. Lieberman is, in fact, highly representative of your typical democrat.

The Congress has been democratic for 2 years. What have they done? Which Bush policy have they opposed? You're saying "without power" we're wasting our time. But aren't we wasting our time "with power," too?

>> it will be a great day for African Americans and a blow to (though far from a cure for) our racist past.

I agree wholeheartedly.

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at September 2, 2008 12:24 AM

re: Our racist past -- check out a series on 20th century slavery by Nathan Newman on TPMCafe.
http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/

Posted by Don Bacon at September 2, 2008 12:30 AM

Don: Which goes to show that ATR is two months ahead of TPMCafe.

http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002380.html

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at September 2, 2008 12:38 AM

Silly me -- I should have known.

Posted by Don Bacon at September 2, 2008 01:22 AM

Good post and great thread - dark as hell, but not without a few laffs... I dunno if you guys have much of an idea what to do, but you sure as hell know what's wrong. Thanks all.

Posted by Glenn Condell at September 2, 2008 04:15 AM

Actually, Palin's resume is making me feel sufficiently emboldened to run for the Senate. So if you live in Texas and intend to vote in November, please write my name in as your candidate, instead of John Cornyn or whatisname, the democratic challenger. In return I promise that if I win I'll show up for at least 90 per cent of the votes, collect my Senate paycheck for six years, and maybe even give an occasional speech.


(Mike Meyer helped me see the error of my ways in my brief, impetuous, and essentially invisible run for the top spot. The Senate makes more sense, and holding a job for six years rather than just four will look better on my resume. )

Posted by Jonathan Versen at September 2, 2008 04:23 AM

JonathanV: But you'll still comment at ATR, right?

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at September 2, 2008 09:25 AM

Mike Meyer wrote: "FISA and the 4th Amendent have nothing to do with Israel, Cuba, Weimar, Hitler or even Mckinney or Nader, its about THE CONSTITUTION, nothing to do do with Rev. Wright..."

I am curious why Dems (or the Left) have presumed that Obama caved in to the Republicans (or the Right) over FISA. Congress will probably have a Democratic President and an even more Democratic Congress next January. If anything, the Republicans caved into the Democrats. Isn't all this additional spying power falling into the hands of the Executive Branch?

Of course not. That power falls into the hands of the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, military intelligence, etc. While an increase in state power over the individual is consonant with current Republican "values" it is precisely opposite of former Republican "values". It's not so long ago that Republicans were against national ID cards and the use of social security numbers.

So if we are talking about state spying, or wars, etc., wouldn't a better schematic have another unit of the government, like say the "military-industrial complex", wanting more spying power and more wars while the two major powers either go along or not go along with the agenda?

These arguments about the Rs v. the Ds are pretty meaningless without the context of who the piper is who's calling the tune. Since long before WWI the Republicans have been the party of the industrialists. While it was FDR who led the battle against the Nazis, it was the mostly Republican Wall Streeters who made the peace with them after WWII, and who converted fascists into allies in the Cold War. This is the process that even Eisenhower saw and warned against.

JFK was eliminated not because he was too liberal but because he tried to stop the expansion of the military-industrial complex's power. Nixon was dethroned because he wanted to accrue power to himself. In short, Nixon (and Kennedy before him) misjudged that he was bigger than the actual rulers. Even though his foreign policy was pretty conservative, Carter ordered the firing of hundreds of "operational" players at the CIA and his energy policy was at odds with the central consituent of the "industrial" half of the ruling class alliance. After 1981 the White House has been controlled totally by the MIC through the CIA.

Posted by Bob In Pacifica at September 2, 2008 09:59 AM

Wonder what happens if we have an October surprise!
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1220186494776&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

For those, who know Dutch:
http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/1796098/__Aanval_op_Iran_verwacht__.html?view=print

Posted by Rupa Shah at September 2, 2008 11:36 AM

BChazelle:So either Lieberman is that miraculous politican who could be a communist, a nazi, and a social democrat all at once! Or, rather, he is an ordinary politician who's realized that the parties are essentially indistinguishable and to belong to one or the other is only a question of opportunism.
Which is it?

Unless it's not a binary. Unless we're precipitously on the brink of the verge of having essentially an invisible third or meta-party which just about owns both of the other two, lesser, visible parties.
And Lieberman's just being a dependable hack for that other, third, invisible meta-party.
Personal ambitions aside, he's a tool.

Posted by Roy Belmont at September 2, 2008 01:10 PM

Jonathan Versen: If YOU don't mind me asking---born in Texas?

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 2, 2008 01:38 PM

Most Americans in the Thirties didn't give a hoot about Fascism in Italy or Germany. Didn't interfere with our boys making a buck, did it, and that's good for me. Now those Leninists, Fascists in Red rather than Black, now they're bad for business. What else mattered, or matters now? Human rights? That unpleasantness with the Jews? Let the bleeding heart types in Cambridge or Berkeley scream about those things. Us? You bet.
You say Lieberman, I say Leiberman...
As always, there are the exceptions. The Lincoln Brigade. The kids on the buses in 1962. And today? Yawn.

Posted by donescobar at September 2, 2008 03:02 PM

Maybe McCain's choice wasn't all that nutty.
(As was Nixon's choice of Agnew in '68.)
Never understimate the stupidity and cuteness of American's gut feelings: "I kinda like her."
Well, she's got the trailer park vote for McCain.

What do real American lefties do to practice their lefty ideology? Are there "real" lefties left here?
And let's remember Engels: "Nett sein ist noch kein Programm." But what else do we have?

Posted by donescobar at September 2, 2008 08:30 PM

@donescobar:

Why ask about others? Do you consider yourself a "real" lefty, or any other kind?

Whether or not you do, what do you do to put your political beliefs into practice?

Posted by Nell at September 2, 2008 09:30 PM

If nothing else, this thread is one I'll treasure for Aaron Datesman's contribution:

"Chiliasm"? Is Jesus coming back for a thousand-year cookoff?

Posted by Nell at September 2, 2008 09:38 PM

I joined organizations and was blacklisted. I marched. I withheld taxes.
That, however, was and still is chickenshit.
We haven't made left chicken salad since the Wobblies and again in the Thirties. Since then, gestures.
But, your question is fair enough.
The Left remains an impossibility here unless...
We know what the blanks are. But we're not filling them in.

Posted by donescobar at September 2, 2008 09:41 PM

Soon-to-be-Senator Versen wins the thread, though:

But mah deft segues are highly, ah say highly, regarded.

Posted by Nell at September 2, 2008 09:52 PM

kgwzha iwjvbfl, I hope you realize how #@!%$ you are.

Posted by Sarah Palin at September 3, 2008 08:16 PM