15 01 2009

I could be wrong.  In fact, for all our sakes, I really, really hope I’m wrong.  But it’s looking more and more like I’m going to be able to say, to all the social activists who shafted the Green Party again and worked and voted for Barack Obama, “Dumb-ass suckers!  Nyah, nyah, ya stupid sumbitches, I told you he was just ‘Colin Powell with charisma’.  You could have mobilized behind Cynthia McKinney, who is really black.  Or you could have gotten behind Ralph Nader, who may not have Hussein for a middle name or Barack for a first name but is just one generation out of freaking Lebanon, for Chrissakes, but NO! You fell for a high yaller fellow who sounded so sincere, then turned out to be the DLC’s housebleep!”  (That’s the “n word” that got bleeped, just in case you were wondering.)

And yes, I know how sincere, how real he can sound.  When I first saw him on TV, watching with my mother, a deeply devoted Democrat who did not live quite long enough to see the neocons get thoroughly trounced in last Fall’s election, we both commented on how he did not sound like a politician.  He didn’t, you might say, bloviate like most Senators and governors and other members of the blowdried set.

But it’s starting to look like it was all a front.  This is not a new regime, this is Clinton III.  The neocons have been replaced by the neoliberals,  and Neo is just a character in a movie.  There is no savior in sight.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

In October, In These Times Magazine, a supposedly radical publication that had shilled ceaselessly for Barack, published a breathless list of all the really cool people they hoped he would appoint.  Not one of them made the grade.

And what do we get from “Obama’s dream team”?  While Jim Hanson warns that coal is killing the planet and anybody who can add can see hat nuclear power makes no sense, energy secretary Steven Chu insists that “coal and nuclear energy are critical parts of the nation’s energy mix” and that he will pursue clean coal, safe nuclear, and, I suppose, perpetual motion machines.  Hey, they’re all equally likely, it’s just that perpetual motion doesn’t have a multi-billion dollar industrial base lobbying for it in Congress.

As I was writing this, I heard the news that Tom Vilsack’s nomination as Secretary of Agriculture “sailed through the Senate with bipartisan support,”  if I remember NPR correctly.  Vilsack, while he says he supports organic agriculture, is better known as a strong backer of genetically modified crops, concentrated animal feeding operations, and using corn and soybeans to make fuel, which as everybody knows by now is even more wasteful than feeding them to animals.  He also pushed through a bill in Iowa that made it illegal for local communities to ban GMO crops, which threaten the possibility of organic agriculture due to pollen’s pesky tendency to spread on the wind.

At Health and Human Services, Obama tried to appoint Tom Daschle, who  proposed to “reform” health care by creating a Federal Reserve-type agency to oversee our current private health care system.  Hey, the Federal Reserve has done a swell job, hasn’t it?   Take that, all you folks who thought you’d get a single-payer system out of Obama!  And just because Daschle got shot down, don’t bet that his replacement will be any more radical.  The fact that Daschle was in bed with the insurance industry seemed to be secondary to his unpaid taxes…I’m no defender of the Democrats, but why is it that Repugs can get away with just about anything, but Democrats have to be paragons of virtue?  Can you say, “Double standard,” boys and girls?

Oh, this just in!  Obama is considering Phil Bredesen for the post!  The guy is a known health care vampire–he got rich off of other’s suffering, he “fixed” health care in Tennessee by denying it to tens of thousands of people, and he let quadraplegic Paul House languish in jail for years for a murder he didn’t commit.  Heckuva job, Obrownie!

Furthermore, Obama has nominated Sanjay Gupta for US Surgeon General.  Gupta is well known as a medical commentator on CNN, and also well known in some circles as the guy who lied in order to appear to successfully rebut some of the points Michael Moore made in Sicko.  Hey Mike, what a great payoff for all the work you did for Obama, huh?  Do you like to bend over and spread?  Too bad, ’cause that’s what Obama just told you to do!

And, while Gupta has expressed limited support for medical marijuana and therapeutic uses of MDMA, he has also said

I suspect that most of the people eager to vote yes on the new ballot measures aren’t suffering from glaucoma, Alzheimer’s or chemo-induced nausea. Many of them just want to get stoned legally. That’s why I, like many other doctors, am unimpressed with the proposed legislation, which would legalize marijuana irrespective of any medical condition.

“Why do I care? As Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, puts it, “Numerous deleterious health consequences are associated with [marijuana’s] short- and long-term use, including the possibility of becoming addicted.”

So take that, all you hope fiends who made “ending the drug war” the most popular idea on Obama’s transition website.  Thanks for your votes, now get lost.

There’s a lot I haven’t talked about here–the financial sector being the most glaring omission, but that’s been well covered elsewhere and I think I’ve shown enough of the pattern so that it’s obvious that what we are looking at here, overall, is not a wonderful popular revolution.  We have exchanged 1984 for Brave New World, that’s all.    A “kinder, gentler” fascism.

Yes, we are still in the throes of a fascist takeover in this country.  The collapse is still happening, and the government will still be primarily concerned with blunting its impact, not on the people, but on the corporations that form the core of its support.  To this end, we will likely see increasing regulation and corporatization of the economy, and increasing attempts to bring the informal economy–local craft workers and repair people,  farmers’ markets and small farms, yard sales, Craig’s list, etc.–to heel.   I think this will be balanced out by the increasing disorganization of American society and the decreasing ability of the government–at any level–to enforce its will.

And maybe I’m wrong.  I hope I’m wrong.  It would be great if Obama is telling all the Washington insiders he has enlisted, “OK, suckas, you got us into this mess, now all you smart-asses figure out how to get us out of it, or heads are gonna roll!”  But somehow, I doubt that this is the case.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss….

Music:  The Who, “Don’t Get Fooled Again




9 responses

17 01 2009

You expressed the fear that” we will likely see increasing regulation and corporatization of the economy, and increasing attempts to bring the informal economy–local craftworkers and repair people to heel” which means basically
licensing, taxation and control.
Well, I am a Carpenter/Builder and all around Wizard, and I defy them to
bring me to heel, I am not going to fill out a form, apply for a permit every time I pick up a tool, nor give those bastards an unearned share of my
compensation so they can redistribute it to those whom they have deemed are deserving and needy, fuck em.
You want to see a revolution? Well, on many levels, it has already happened.
There are many who operate at least a portion of their lives off the radar,
and unless Big Brother is willing to put a bracelet on each and every one of our ankles to monitor and micromanage our activities, many apply the same amount of ingenuity and skills to keeping free as we do to our craft.
When the day comes where we are required to account for how all our time, energy and resources are spent, then the rifles will come out.

17 01 2009
martin holsinger

and the rifles will be met with tanks and machine guns and helicopters, just like Gaza, unless the army and national guard are demoralized enough to question orders and turn their weapons around…i’ll go for a mostly quiet, slow-cook collapse myelf, one in which the behemoth of state is lulled by warm water until he’s too relaxed to move any more….. Gandhi was more successful (and lived a lot longer!) than Che, after all….

17 01 2009
martin holsinger

isn’t it amazing how the genocide in Gaza is just like the urban warfare pictured in “children of Men”?

20 01 2009

I’m so sick of people already judging Obama’s legacy before he’s even sworn in. It’s incredible. None of us know what the next four years will bring.

20 01 2009
martin holsinger

i’m not “judging his legacy.” i’m saying i hope he turns out better than most of his initial choices for cabinet and vp seem to indicate…just the facts, jamie, don’t be so emotional….and it’s true, we have no idea what the next four years will bring–ah, interesting times!

24 02 2009

great blog Brother Martin,

I agree with all you have said here, except your solution of a slow cook, rather then bloody civil war.
I say make a dictator act like a dictator and then throw them out, at all cost.
Our fore fathers shed their blood for our freedoms, and you are suggesting that we just hide our heads in the sand while the elite wipe there ass with our freedoms.

Things will not get better before they get worse, but I will not stand by while these offshore bankers enslave our people, so if it is going to get worse for the majority, I say make it hell for everybody.

And I dont know why everybody is so at peace with the fact that 4 of Obama’s apointiess had to withdraw because of tax evasion. If that were any one of us, we would be in prison right now, but the congress touts these people as being heros for stepping down before they cause Obama grief.

You say, “when the rifles come out, they will be met with tanks, helis, and machine guns”, I say, that is why, everybody needs to have a gun, so they can fight the tyrants. “live for nothing, or die for something”
What is more noble then to die protecting your family from criminal government agencies?
And don’t tell me dieing on your knees with your fingers forming a peace sign!

24 02 2009
brother martin

I believe it was Tolstoy who said “the difference between establishment violence and revolutionary violence is like the difference between dog doo and cat poop,” or something like that….

It is self-evidently contradictory to attempt to establish a non-coercive state by coercion, i.e., violence. I appreciate the Oriental arts of self-defence, because their first principle is to avoid getting into a situation where you need them. You’re not going to outgun the government, but the government will run out of gas if you wait it out. I have had to survive on my knees at times in my life, and i’m glad i did, because i’m still here, and relatively free….all things pass, the question is having the patience to let them. . If you can keep your mind free, the position of the body is not so important.

16 12 2016
akima tendo

after the madness of George w Bush – Barack Obama should have come in to protect our Constitutional Republican mortal state and Liberal Democratic mortal society – and Welfare Capitalist mortal marketplace. Instead, he bent worse than Bill Clinton before the ‘Republican’ Party and its power lust and warmongering. Heaven help us under Bush III – Donald Trump! Buddha, Tao, Gods, and Goddesses bless America and this blood soaked Earth.

19 12 2016

Alas, all that “hope and change” rhetoric was mere rhetoric–the only choice between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump was velvet glove fascism or iron fist fascism. It is, indeed, going to take some extraordinary intervention for this planet to remain a safe haven for complex sentient beings.

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