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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
Rumsfeld knows a fellow Corporatist when he sees one:
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says President Barack Obama has come to accept much of the Bush Doctrine out of necessity, despite what he campaigned on in 2008.
Rumsfeld said that Obama needed to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention center open because of national security concerns, and it was the best solution among a host of bad options.
“They ended up keeping Guantanamo open not because they like it – we didn’t like it either – but they couldn’t think of a better solution,” Rumsfeld told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday.
Rumsfeld then listed a handful of other Bush administration policies that have continued into the Obama administration, something that he sees as vindication of the policies.
“The same is true with the Patriot Act, and military commissions, and indefinite detention. All of those things were criticized but today are still in place two-and-a-half years later because they are the best alternative to the other choices – and they are in fact successful in keeping America safer,” he says.
As usual, of course, Rumsfeld and his ilk are incapable of refraining from twisting the truth in some way or another. For Rumsfeld to suggest that Obama campaigned against the Bush Doctrine is disingenuous, as Obama’s campaign was little more than a collection of vacuous platitudes. “Yes, we can” continue our multiple wars of terror; “Yes, we can” ignore the rule of law and illegally detain people without charge or recognition of basic human rights; “Yes we can” continue a 30+ year streak of government policies that strongly favor the rich while decapitating America’s middle class.
And then we have Rumsfeld’s bogus assertion that the Bush Doctrine and its associated tenets – Guantanamo Bay, indefinite detention, the Patriot Act – are somehow the “best alternative to other choices.” Of course, the vagueness of the term “other choices” leaves open the slimy possibility for a sliver of truth; but to what other choices are we referring? Mass genocide? Mandatory castration? Government-imposed lobotomies? (Actually, a form of nationalized lobotomy already exists; we call it public school.)
Obama never campaigned against the policies of the Bush administration, because he never had any intention of implementing anything different. We have been living under a One-Party State since at least the Reagan administration, but that single Party has been becoming more and more brazen in its attempts to enslave the masses for the benefit of the Elite. The Obama administration represents perhaps the most blatantly corporatist regime in the history of our nation – which says a lot, considering the notoriety of its predecessors.
U.S. elections are now and have long been a sham, and they will only continue to degenerate thanks to the preposterous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. There is no meaningful difference between the Republicans and Democrats and has not been at any time in the modern era; to vote Democrat is merely to enable to the continuance of our long, dark slide into the depths of the dismal Right, where corporations hold more rights than humans, and the common good is sacrificed for the ever-growing profits of the Elite. Any person who willingly identifies himself as a Democrat or Republican, and votes accordingly, is a part of the problem, and should be held accountable.
Boycott the One Party State.
If it’s not A, it must be B, because life is always black and white, right?
Voters are increasingly displeased with President Obama’s handling of the economy, but a new poll finds most Americans still think George W. Bush is responsible for the nation’s dismal financial state.
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 54 percent of those surveyed say Bush is responsible for the “current condition” of the economy, compared to just 27 percent who blame Obama. Among self-described independent voters, a key 2012 voting bloc, the number shifts slightly: 49 percent point the finger at the former GOP president, while 24 percent blame Obama.
Part of the problem, of course, is the simplistic wording of the question which automatically creates a false dichotomy of Republicans versus Democrats. The question might have been, which administration is more responsible for the current financial crisis, which then translates into the definitive statement that voters “think George W. Bush is responsible.” This simplified version of reality, which suggests that the complex terrain of the political frontier is easily understood in concrete, black-and-white terms, is then absorbed by an impatient and apathetic public whose attention span is incapable of grasping anything beyond the 10-second sound byte.
Following yesterday’s passage of the temporary budget bill that includes a disputed $38.5 billion in spending cuts, like many Americans I wanted to know precisely what had been cut. Mainstream media coverage contains only vague language about “social programs” and various “health benefits” being slashed, but offer almost nothing in the way of specifics. The narrative is almost always the painfully familiar story of Democrats versus Republicans, and the epic battle between these seemingly diametric forces that took place before the passage of the final bill. The consensus within the MSM is that the Republicans were victorious in this round, although there is no real indication as to what that victory actually means.
The Republican vultures are already gathering to swoop in:
Move to Repeal Healthcare Will Come Next Week
Republicans in the US House of Representatives plan to pass a bill next week to repeal President Barack Obama’s overhaul of the US healthcare system, a senior party aide said on Monday, but the effort is widely expected to fail in the Senate.
The new Congress will convene on Wednesday with Republicans in control of the House after November’s midterm elections. They are set to move ahead with their campaign promise to try to rescind the new healthcare law, one of Obama’s signature legislative victories. …
“Obamacare is a job killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs,” Dayspring said.
Interesting choice of words, terming “Obamacare” a job “killer” – given that lack of access to health care kills untold thousands each year. But I digress.
The Republican fascination with dismantling the health insurance industry bailout (a.k.a. “health care reform”) is somewhat perplexing. The insurance companies, by and large, have to be quite pleased with the health care bill, since it delivered some 45 million new customers into their pockets. What company can you think of that would honestly be miffed by a government mandate requiring people to use their product?
You know Obama’s transformation into a Republican is complete when the AP so shamelessly fawns over him:
Obama toasts “season of progress” after big wins
WASHINGTON – Buoyant in political victory, President Barack Obama on Wednesday wrapped up a long, rough year in Washington by rejoicing in a rare, bipartisan “season of progress” over tax cuts, national security and civil justice. Halfway through his term, he served notice to his skeptics: “I am persistent.”
If, of course, by “persistent” he is referring to his efforts to uphold DADT, or to reject anything even remotely progressive. But I digress.
Obama spoke on the same day that he found enough allies in both parties to get Senate ratification of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, a vote watched around the world as a test of international security and presidential clout. He also signed landmark legislation to allow gays to serve openly in the military, calling himself overwhelmed by the enormity of the moment.
And that was on top of other achievements, including a hard-fought deal to extend tax cuts and unemployment insurance even as it piled on more debt, a broad food security bill, a trade deal with South Korea and declarations of progress in the widening war in Afghanistan.
Now, I am hardly an expert on any of these issues, but it seems to me that Obama is being extremely disingenuous here. Obama has actively struck down the repeal of DADT several times this year, and it has only passed this time due to the unexpected – but highly welcomed – efforts of Congress, lead by Nancy Pelosi. For Obama to in any way attempt to take credit for its repeal is dishonest in a way I thought only Republicans were capable.
The absurdity of mainstream media coverage is matched only by the sheer ignorance – and apparent stupidity – of the apathetic masses that accept such coverage as accurate. Take, for example, this recent screen grab from Yahoo! News:
The headline itself is seemingly innocuous, as indeed there was a piece of legislation dealing with taxation that had passed the Senate and was headed towards the House [which, regrettably, has since been signed by Obama]. The trouble begins, however, with the dubious lead sentence that follows:
AP – A massive tax package that would save millions of Americans thousands of dollars in higher taxes is headed for a vote in the House Thursday even as rebellious Democrats complain it is too generous to the wealthy.
The sheer volume of misinformation crammed into that single sentence is staggering, and one is almost tempted to admire the immense skill in deception that is on display here. Let’s face it: the corporate media knows its craft well, and it’s only when we guage their performance based on the antiquated -and sadly, inaccurate – notion that the media’s goal is to educate the masses. When we acknowledge that media’s goal is mass manipulation, we realize they are absolute masters of their field.
The basic theme in this particular story is highly familiar, even though it runs wholly contrary to reality. The “rebellious Democrats” (and for once the term is used in the pejorative sense) are seen as standing in opposition to a populist bill that would “save millions of Americans thousands of dollars in higher taxes.” In other words, the righteous Republicans have stormed the capital after the mid-term sweeps, and are now bravely fighting to lower taxes for the masses, because that’s just what conservative, Republican values entail. Right?
From Mother Jones:
By now you’ve probably read about the ongoing legal wrangling over Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment to ban Sharia. There are plenty of reasons to pick on Oklahoma, but it turns out the state actually has plenty of allies in the fight against Islamic law. …
Although Oklahoma’s law is the first to come under court scrutiny, legislators in at least seven states, including Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, have proposed similar laws, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.
For good reason, Oklahoma’s move to ban sharia law has lead to endless mockery and ridicule, largely from the left. A remarkably homogeneous state some 80% of the population white and 85% Christian, it is readily apparent that Oklahoma does not stand in imminent danger of being plunged into Sharia law. Yet as is strangely the norm in today’s world of doublespeak politics and shameless corporate-media-driven propaganda, the right seems in favor of restricting religious practices, while the left seeks to uphold religious freedom.
Partially, this is due to the nature of being a self-professed Republican. Unless a person is substantially wealthy, voluntarily affiliating oneself with the Republican party is essentially tantamount to an admission of unfathomable ignorance. It really is that simple: the disgustingly rich and the embarrassingly uninformed represent the entirety of the Republican base. Sadly, an integral part of being uninformed in this country seems to include being viciously prejudiced. Thus, white Christian Republicans invariably despise – whether secretly or openly – those of other ethnicities, religions and/or sexual orientation.
Senator Bernie Sanders on the Federal Reserve’s secret Wall Street bailout:
After years of stonewalling by the Fed, the American people are finally learning the incredible and jaw-dropping details of the Fed’s multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and corporate America….
What have we learned so far from the disclosure of more than 21,000 transactions? We have learned that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout signed into law by President George W. Bush turned out to be pocket change compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near-zero interest loans and other financial arrangements the Federal Reserve doled out to every major financial institution in this country. Among those are Goldman Sachs, which received nearly $600 billion; Morgan Stanley, which received nearly $2 trillion; Citigroup, which received $1.8 trillion; Bear Stearns, which received nearly $1 trillion, and Merrill Lynch, which received some $1.5 trillion in short term loans from the Fed.
We also learned that the Fed’s multi-trillion bailout was not limited to Wall Street and big banks, but that some of the largest corporations in this country also received a very substantial bailout. Among those are General Electric, McDonald’s, Caterpillar, Harley Davidson, Toyota and Verizon.
Perhaps most surprising is the huge sum that went to bail out foreign private banks and corporations including two European megabanks – Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse – which were the largest beneficiaries of the Fed’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities.
Sanders has some obvious biases here, but he deserves credit for broaching the inexplicably taboo subject of criticizing the Federal Reserve. And the revelations that he has uncovered are absolutely appalling, but honestly, is anyone surprised by this? It should be readily apparent to anyone with eyes and a brain that our government was long ago transformed into a vehicle for protecting and expanding corporate wealth and power. Main Street is the recipient of endless platitudes and a paltry, ineffective stimulus package; Wall Street and the corporate elite receive virtually anything they desire. As John Dewey wisely stated, our government is merely the shadow cast by big business.
There’s an amusing – if tragic – anecdote circulating the blogosphere at the moment about one of the newly elected teabagger darlings inadvertently whining about the lack of a public option he had so fervently derided. Republican Andy Harris lamented the fact that he would be without health care for an astonishing 28 days; the exchange with his aids was quite telling as to the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of most teabaggers and other right-wingers:
“According to an unnamed congressional staffer quoted by [Glenn Thrush of Politico], [Andy] Harris stood up at the meeting “and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care.”
“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.” [ h/t Mock, Paper, Scissors ]
So this teabagger – a physician, no less – who in public rabidly denounces universal health care or anything even resembling it, then turns around and hypocritically demands why a public option is not available for himself. One wonders if he is even aware of his loathesome intellectual dishonesty, or whether he simply believes he is entitled to something more than ordinary plebes because he is an elected official.
But the fact is, we find such ludicrous hypocrisy with virtually every right-winger we encounter. Read more of this post