Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Mouth of Sauron Dies, Another Game is Begun

Chris Floyd pretty much sums up what I think:

... I've read William Buckley's scribblings for almost 40 years. And the idea that he could be considered an "intellectual" in any sense of the word just shows how thoroughly degraded our public discourse has become. Unless, of course, by "intellectual" you actually mean "guy who uses big words and urges on other people to take base and evil actions while he sits back in well-wadded comfort." Then yes, in that sense -- and in that sense only -- Buckley was indeed an "intellectual."

But if you are talking about quality of mind, scholarly depth and scope of understanding, only a fool would apply such a term to a moral cretin like William Buckley.

There are lots of fools, all over the spectrum.

February was very, very good for Barack, and despite the cartoon Hillary isn't hurting either. In fact, she has more cash in hand as of this moment than Obama. But she rates only slightly better with donors from the banking industry, the hedge fund/ private equity crowd, or the securities/ investment crowd.

All together, the candidates have already raised more than a half a billion dollars.

Perhaps Obama's rise is related to this popular response.

But it's not likely the exclusive reason. Chris Floyd again:

... by the choices he has made in picking advisers to help him shape his policies, he has given every indication that while his presidency might represent a better management and presentation of the current system, it will in no way overturn or even seriously challenge it on any essential point. In other words – and bearing in mind the type of not-insubstantial mitigations noted above – he will keep doing what Bush has been doing, only more competently, less radically, with a greater care for the long-term viability of the power structure. And what is that structure that Obama seeks to refine and extend? It is an imperial system based on militarism and the exaltation of elitist profit and privilege above all other concerns.

...We know that one of Obama's principal foreign policy advisers is Zbigniew Brzezinski, an incorrigible Great Gamester and one of the unsung architects of the modern world. It was Brzezinski who, as Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, devised the strategy of arming and funding violent Islamic extremists in order to destabilize Afghanistan and bait the Soviets into a military intervention to bolster their client regime in Kabul. Brzezinski can thus lay claim to being one of the fathers of the global jihad that has spawned – and been used to justify -- so much death and suffering….and so much profitable permanent war. We know that Obama has called for the American military to be even larger and more powerful, more ready to strike anywhere in the world with overwhelming force whenever the nation's "interests" – defined solely by the elite – are "threatened." We know that his plan for "withdrawing" from Iraq involves leaving an undetermined number of troops in the conquered land, carrying out the same "missions" which they are supposedly conducting now: training Iraqi security forces, fighting terrorism, protecting American assets and personnel, bringing "stability to the region," etc. And as Jeremy Scahill points out, Obama's plans could also lead to an increase in the number of private contractors – mercenaries – in Iraq. Obama has refused to support legislation banning the use of these volatile hired guns in war zones.

In all of this we can see that Obama is a "safe pair of hands" for the militarism that underpins the never-ending quest for America's "full spectrum dominance" over world affairs. The "hope" for genuine change in this regard is a tragic illusion, a hope projected onto, not embodied by Obama.

At least in the case of militarism, there is not a great deal of hypocrisy involved on Obama's part. His allegiance to the imperial project is fairly open. The domestic front, however, is a different matter. Here too Obama has become a blank screen onto which the hopes of millions for some kind of rectification of the ever-worsening economic and social injustices in American society are being projected. And again, while an Obama presidency would not be as openly radical and predatory as the Bush Regime in the pursuit of elitist profits, his choice of advisers gives every indication that his actual policies would differ largely in management and presentation, not in essence. Yet unlike the case with Obama's unabashedly militarist statements on foreign policy, the dichotomy between his progressive rhetoric on socioeconomic justice and the agenda of some of his top advisers and backers means he cannot escape the charge of hypocrisy.

A new report from Consortiumnews.com puts this in stark relief. It tells the back-story of the Finance Chair of Obama's campaign: a woman who was instrumental in devising and pushing the same kind of sub-prime loans and predatory lending practices that he now routinely denounces in public...

Obama has now put one of these "predators" in charge of his campaign finances; doubtless she – or someone else of that ilk – will be placed in charge of the nation's finances if he makes it to the White House. Thus once again, it appears that any hopes that an Obama presidency will produce genuine structural change in a system designed to perpetuate harsh injustices on behalf of a privileged elite will also prove to be a tragic and painful illusion.

And so the question returns to the individual conscience: do you choose to support the chance – the hope – for some mitigation of the system's evils? Or do you reject the system altogether? Again, this is a balance that each person must strike for themselves. But it should be done with eyes wide open – and no illusions.

There are no illusions here about Hillary either: but that pretty much goes without saying, because their Congressional voting records are pretty indistinguishable. On the other hand, Obama hasn't tried to disenfranchise and then steal the delegates to Michigan, Florida, and Texas. Yet.

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