When the Fascists rose to power in Europe, they did so by demonizing their opponents. In Spain, they were against intellectuals educating the peasants as it was anti-Catholic. In Germany, they worked on centuries of bigotry by promoting the International Jewish Conspiracy. Mussolini did things differently. His fascism welded bigotry and anti-intellectualism to progressive ideas like a minimum wage and women’s suffrage. While the Germans and the Spanish made fascists out of their right wings, the Italians made fascists out of their left wing.
The American government propaganda machine managed to take the anti-intellectualism of Franco, the bigotry of Hitler, and the pseudo-progressive chauvinism of Mussolini and apply them to both the left and the right wing. The anti-intellectualism is promoted by conspiracy theories. The bigotry is promoted by applying conspiracy theories to different ethnic and political groups. The chauvinism comes in with both sides convincing themselves that they are the only side with the answers.
Conspiracy theory is the idea that science is lying if it does not conform to preconceived notions. For instance, conservative Christians insist that evolution is a conspiracy as it denies special creation. The Truthers insist that relativity is a conspiracy as it disproves their notion that the government rigged the towers with bombs. We are seeing anti-intellectualism at its worst on the left as well as the right.
Both sides of the political spectrum are applying conspiracy theories to different ethnic and political groups. In the case of the conservatives, the targets of hatred are Gays. They will tell you they have nothing against homosexuals (hate the sin, love the sinner, and the rest of that rot.) They will tell you that they are against the “homosexual agenda”. Thanks to conspiracy reasoning, they see the LGBT community demanding equal rights and acceptance as a direct attack on their conservative values. Gays are then demonized along with others who supports gay rights.
On the other hand, the left is scapegoating Jews. Just like their counterparts on the right, people on the left will tell you they have nothing against Jews, they are just against Zionism. These stalwart champions of human rights have no more idea of what Zionism is than Michelle Bachman knows what it is to be a lesbian. All they know is that Noam Chomsky is against it, which is good enough for them. That statement sums up what Bachman’s followers know about homosexuality. The left is as delusional as the right now that the Truthers have jumped in with their mad accusation of the Mossad and bombs in the tower.
Chauvinism is the result of both sides so wrapped up in their different conspiracies that reason becomes impossible. Elements on the left are out to protect America from the International Jewish Conspiracy, blaming Israel for everything from September 11th to Obama’s adopting Bush’s idiot wars. The right is blaming the homosexual agenda for high taxes and unemployment. Neither side can be spoken to. The result is the descendents of the same people who took control of this country in 1790 are in control of it today, and continue to rob us blind as the right tries to save us from homosexuality and the left from creeping Zionism.
The Right had their Tea Party where they promoted their anti-intellectualism and bigotry. Now the Left has their Occupation Movement where there are as many signs promoting Jew hatred as there are signs demanding the demise of Wall St. In Oakland, I have seen so many signs calling for the end of the Jewish Banking Conspiracy, I just gave up on it.
Any real revolution in this country has to do two things. The first is The Occupation has to get it’s shit together. This means that the wing-nuts have to go. The Truthers/anti-Zionists are as aggressive as Born Again Christians. They will drive out anybody who does not believe in their paranoid fantasies. I watched them do this to the peace movement. They will do the same to the Occupation. The second thing is creating a reasonable agenda that people on the right can at least discuss. I have seen this on the Las Angeles Occupation website. They have adopted an agenda that include basic rights like food, shelter, education, and Medical care. So far, Los Angeles and Berkeley are the only two Occupations supporting basic human rights. Other Occupations are being too divisive in their antisemitism and determination that the Jewish bankers be punished. Unless the other Occupations catch up to Los Angeles and Berkeley, we are going to end up like Egypt and our fundamentalist religious military will take over.
And if you don’t think this can happen here in America, think again. The military is already dominated by Born Again Christians. The Air Force is the worst, and they have access to nukes. Rick Perry, in his latest round of idiocy, is calling for an end to civilian management of the military. This is the one thing separating us from a fascist dictatorship. It doesn’t matter if Perry becomes president or not, if Wall St. wants an end to civilian management, Wall St. is going to get it. After all, Wall St. actually runs this country and its propaganda mill. Besides, a military dictatorship is the usual way an imperialist nation ends.
After long and careful consideration, I will not be supporting the Occupation Movement unless those two criteria are met. My energy is going to keeping my family and me alive for the next ten years of military rule. Unless Americans abandon conspiracies for reason, this is all we have to look forward to.
The Truthers have one solid point. We are not being told the truth about the events that occurred on Sept 11th. Let’s take a look at the event and ask a few hard questions.
On Sept 11th 2001, 19 men hijacked four airliners for the purpose of destroying preselected targets. The First thing I would like to know is why they were not stopped by airport security? They were in the airports, praying loudly and carrying on like it was their last day on earth. Yet, Security did not investigate them. If the Truthers are to be believed, this is proof of some sort of high reaching conspiracy. Unfortunately, we are not going to know why security did not intervene until there is an actual investigation. I cannot believe the Truther contradictory claim that Security was ordered to leave them alone. Personally, I think it was the American taboo against disrespecting religion. The hijackers were praying, and security did not want to look like a bunch of bigots by disturbing them.
I would also like to know what were our government was doing while the 19 hijackers were bound for glory? According to the newspapers, the FBI and the CIA were trying to warn President Bush and Condileeza Rice that it was going to happen. According to one intern, Bush refused to hear an FBI report regarding the hijacking. Daniel Ellsberg reported that Rice had CIA director Tenent tossed out of her office. French Security, the KCIA, Britain, Switzerland, and even the Mossad tried to warn our government that something big and bad was heading for us. It all fell on deaf ears.
Any legitimate inquiry on Sept 11th needs to ask why did the Bush Administration ignored their own security services as well as the security services of other countries. It could be that Sept 11th was allowed to happen. Bush and his cronies wanted the war in Afghanistan. They knew about all the oil and mineral wealth there even if the rest of us forgot the reasons behind the Russian occupation. Allowing the attack to occur would be the perfect excuse to send in the troops to secure the oil. A government that allows outsourcing of jobs and homelessness is perfectly capable of allowing the murder of Afghan citizens.
On the other hand, The Bush administration and everybody connected to it is as dumb as a sack full of hammers. September 11th could have happened out of pure stupidity. Being themselves the ultimate ugly Americans, they were too arrogant to believe that a bunch of Arabs could actually hurt the United States. The Afghanistan war could be the result of a carefully orchestrated conspiracy or it could be the panicked reaction of an utter moron. Only a real commission will bring the truth to light. This commission will not happen as long as the public keeps asking stupid questions.
Ironically, I think that the 9/11 Truth Movement is the government conspiracy. I also think that the same Public Relations firms that orchestrate the Intelligent Design movement orchestrate the Truthers. The M.O is identical. Intelligent Design denies evolution by concentrating on specific branches of science while ignoring others. They will harp on the gaps in the fossil record and ignore the genetic evidence. The Truthers concentrate on Newtonian physics while ignoring Einstein. I think the government is hiding the reasons why the hijackers did it. Don’t try telling me it was because they were promised 72 virgins. That’s pure propaganda. The hijackers killed themselves for political reasons. If we are going to prevent more tragedies and loss of lives, we are going to have to find out why they did it and address it.
Any sane commission on Sept 11th is going to have to concentrate on US Middle Eastern policy. They are going to have to look at how American based oil companies treat oil field workers. What roles do mercenary companies like Xe play in the Saudi and Syrian regimes? If we learn why the hijackers did it, we will know everything we need to know about Sept 11th. The Truthers are the number one reason these important questions are not being asked.
In the next post we will take a look at the blatant ugly antisemitism in the Truth movement and how it got there. Then in the last part we will look at how the media and how the government uses it to encourage conspiracy theories.
Once upon a time, I associated tea parties with little girls and teddy bears sitting on little chairs around a tiny table. That cute little image has been permanently ruined by a bunch of raging morons marching around with tea bags hanging off their hats. Tea Parties are now associated with bullies tossing dollar bills at a sick man. What’s worse is that now tea parties are associated with screaming racism.
Things became absolutely surreal when the left wing press started calling the Tea Party, populist. When I first saw this on an Alternet article, I could not believe what I was reading. The Tea Party is no more populist than Goldman Sachs or the Democratic Party. The Tea Party is an AstroTurf movement organized by the same Wall Street crooks who tanked the economy. The Tea Party is nothing but a smoke screen. Sean Hannity and our darling Sarah Palin are using time honored advertising techniques to whip the right wing true believers into a lynch mob. The stupid, the bigoted, the ignorant, and the arrogant are frightened. The economy has tanked, their retirements are in jeopardy, their mortgages are foreclosing. Their health care is inadequate. Credit card limits are dropping. Rather than organizing against the Wall Street criminals who caused it, they are organizing against their fellow victims. The poor, the minorities, the educated, and the progressive are all targets of Tea Bagger rage instead of the real cause of their problems.
Populism and populists movements have never been middle class. They have never had the support of Wall Street talking heads. Throughout American history they have been poor people’s movements. When the middle class gets involved it is for reasons of personal ethics, as illustrated by the Abolitionist and Civil Rights movements. The earliest recorded American populists were the Regulators. In the days before the Rapture was created, a large group of religious non-conformists got together to use government as a means of establishing the Millennium. Poor farmers, freed slaves, and wealthy plantation owners joined together to establish just laws that included abolition, progressive taxation, land ownership for tenant farmers, and free elections.
While the Regulators were finally wiped out in the Whiskey Rebellion, Populism lived on through the Abolition movement. Abolition was a movement that never died and still exists today. Despite attempts by the libertarians and John Birchers to rehabilitate the South, slavery was one of the main reasons the South tried to leave the Union. Abolitionists simply did not give a fiddler’s damn about state rights. Slavery was an abomination and the Abolitionists were out to end it. Like their Regulator grandfathers, the Abolitionists were using the power of the Federal Government to end a monstrous injustice.
Jump forward a few decades and look at the beginnings of the labor movement in the United States. I cannot think of a better example of a Populist Movement. The beginnings of the labor movement can be found in the churches. Free Methodists, Western Baptists, Congregationalists, and even Catholics were amongst the leaders of the early American unions. While there was a socialist labor movement going on in Europe, it had very little to do with the American movement until the beginning of the twentieth century. While the American press was yelling “anarchism” during the 19th Century, the unions were anything but. They were organized by their churches and they were not calling for the end of the American government. Rather they were demanding their voices in the American government. They were demanding that the government oversee safety standards, collective bargaining, and that the rich be taxed the same as the poor.
Here is another reason that the Tea party is not populist. Populist movements were never anti-tax. They knew that government did not happen by magic. All the populist movements from The Regulators to the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s knew full well that it was going to take tax money to make their dreams come true. The difference is that the populists were demanding that the rich be taxed the same as the poor. The income tax was a populist movement. The entire idea behind the income tax is that the corporations pay as well as the poor. “I’m a taxpayer and I have my rights” would mean the same to the poor as well as the rich.
Populism are movements that demand that special privileges become universal privileges. Nothing demonstrates this more than the Civil Rights Movement. Abolition neither died nor went to sleep after the civil war. Citizens of African descent continued to live in conditions little better than slavery. Jim Crow simply rubbed salt into the wounds. Separate can never be equal. Dr. King demanded that the vast resources of the US government be used to correct this injustice. Part of the correction that Dr. King demanded was that more tax money be placed into education and affirmative action.
That’s right, libertarians. Dr. King was behind affirmative action. I know this is not true in your fairy tale world of George Washington meets John Galt, but in the real world, Dr. King demanded affirmative action. The reaction of the bigots was to run around screaming “states rights” while turning the fire hoses on peaceful protesters. I mean really, what relevance do states rights have in the 21st Century? It was an idea that made sense in the 18th Century when it took weeks to travel from Philadelphia to New York by land. By the 19th Century such inventions as the telegraph and the railroads made states rights irrelevant. The civil war showed the practical limits of states rights.
The entire purpose of the Constitution was to establish a national tax base, place the armed forces under one command, and to establish a uniform code of law. Under the Constitution, the DEA has every right to come into California and close dispensaries. We may not agree with what they are doing, and I feel it is just wrong. However, it is constitutional and we are not going to accomplish anything by ignoring that unfortunate fact.
During the Whiskey Rebellion, George Washington sent tax collectors and marshals into Pennsylvania to enforce federal law over states rights. The president was made into the commander and chief of the armed forces. Under the Constitution, the state militias were called out to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. The militias of Pennsylvania were called up and those who did not support the Federal Government, were declared outlaw.
So there is nothing populist in the Tea Party movement. First of all, populist movements don’t really care about the Constitution. Quite often, like the income tax and women suffrage, populist movements demand changes in the Constitution. Populist movement are not anti-taxation but demand a fair tax burden and a fair distribution of tax money. But most telling of all, populist movements are all about justice and equality. The Tea Party exists to protect white middle class privilege.
It is fear of change more than anything else that inspires the Tea Party and other libertarian organizations. They live in a fantasy world where the western expansion is still happening and free market capitalism still works. Once again, Wall Street has proven the sham of the free market. Rather than accept this, the Tea Party has dived into a never ending pool of denial, and they have Fox News and Libertarian Radio to egg them on. If the Tea Party was reacting to reality, they would be preparing to dip Rush and Sean into a vat of tar and cover them with feathers.
Nothing exemplifies the American oppression of minorities more than the Tea Party. They cannot see beyond the color of the president’s skin. They ignore the fact that each of them pay more in taxes than Rush Limbaugh, and focus on the fact that minorities demand equality. Like the bigots in Alabama and like Barry Goldwater, they concentrate on non-existent states’ rights and ignore the basic racism of their arguments. They cry over being denied the special privileges enjoyed by Wall Street insiders. Rather than get angry with White Privilege Wall Street, they get angry at a non-existent “Gangsta Government”, demand a return to a Constitution that only exists in their imaginations, and they get ready to kill liberals.
The Tea Party Populist? It is to laugh.
I find myself looking at America’s founders much differently since I read William Hogeland’s book on the Whiskey Rebellion. Like most other Americans, I believed that thought and planning went into the Constitution. Having been educated in the American public schools, I was taught that there was nobility and self sacrifice amongst the founders of this once-great nation. Hogeland could not have busted those myths more thoroughly if he used C-4.
Sadly, the events between 1780 to 1789 looks more like the recent coup in Honduras than the establishment of a nation based on laws. France supported the new United States as a means of weakening their rivals in England. The British crown waited in the wings for a chance to take the colonies back. The Iroquois nations were still British allies, and they waited on America’s western borders for Britain’s order to attack. Other European nations saw the American Revolution as a chance to grab their own piece of the continent.
At the same time rivalry amongst the states created the very situation Europe was waiting for. Maryland and Virginia were at war over borders. While that madness was going on, New Jersey and New York were fighting over access to New York Harbor. The Confederate government was too weak to stop the fighting or to enforce trade agreements. The Continental Congress was funded by voluntary donations by the thirteen states, and nobody was sending money. All thirteen states were ignoring the authority of the Congress to enter and enforce trade agreements with Europe. The states also ignored Congress’s orders to stop fighting.
The only thing that could save America from becoming a colony again was a strong central government. The Constitutional Convention was called specifically to create a national government that could levy taxes, command the armed forces, establish trade regulations between the states, and enter into treaties with foreign governments. A handful of wealthy men exploited the situation to grab power for themselves. These Federalists were not interested in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They were out for themselves. John Adams and John Jay were both unabashed royalists out to create the same sort government the wealthy enjoyed in England. Alexander Hamilton was a financier whose influence gave Wall Street the power it enjoys today.
Regulators, abolitionists, farmers, and small artisans watched in horror as the United States turned into a monstrous caricature of England. The final straw was when Washington and Hamilton used the army to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. As the new American dictators were protected by an army of over 13,000, the angry populace turned to Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr as their saviors. After Burr shot Hamilton (to the delight of the Pennsylvania farmers) there was only Jefferson.
According to libertarian propagandists, the founders were a band of drinking buddies who slept with each others’ wives and were cool with it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Federalists and Democratic Republicans were at each others throats. Burr shot Hamilton over their political differences. Burr was lucky that Jefferson was president. Burr was a stone cold murderer and he finished his term as vice-president. If Hamilton won, I wonder if Jefferson would have been as lenient?
My questions about Jefferson began when I did my sophomore thesis on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was then that I discovered that most of the nastiest stereotypes of African-Americans came directly from Thomas Jefferson. As president he ended the practice of importing slaves from Africa. As president he owned 117 slaves, and the domestic slave markets still did a brisk trade. He fathered several children with a slave named Sally Hemmings. He owned those children like they were cattle. This is strange behavior for a man who has become “Liberty’s Poster Boy”.
All too many people are willing to rationalize bigotry. This is especially true when it comes to the American Founders. Hamilton, Washington, Adams, Burr, and Jefferson, all owned slaves. Many historians are all too willing to pass this off as the customs of the time, and ignore the growing abolitionist movement. At the same time, Jefferson also ignored all the other populist movements and demands, such as a progressive tax of wealth, the end of land speculation and absentee landlords, as well as full civil rights for people of African descent and First Nation People.
Jefferson is also the darling of the New Atheists for taking his oath of office on a law book. I wonder about the true significance of that. Could it be that he was sending a message to the religious populists of his day? Could he have been telling them that there would be civil rights for freed slaves and a progressive tax on wealth over his dead body? The Jefferson administration was not significantly different from the Adams administration. Many historians feel that Jefferson had more in common with Adams than he did with his friend Thomas Paine. Jefferson repealed the Whiskey Tax but did nothing to break the monopoly on whiskey production. While he opposed the Aliens and Sedition Act, he did nothing to remove it from common law, where it still exists as a valid precedent. John Yoo used it in his infamous torture memos.
In the end, Jefferson and John Adams ended their careers and lives as the closest of friends. This in itself makes me doubt that the Aliens and Sedition Act was specifically aimed against Jefferson. It was more likely to have been aimed at the populists, or as both Adams and Jefferson called them, the “White Savages”. I cannot see how Jefferson the slave owning plantation farmer and absentee landlord could have truly been a champion of freedom. Like Washington and Adams, he was a champion of his own class. He and Adams’ only real disagreement was how their class was to rule over the working classes. After all, slaves, white savages, and natives were not capable of running a nation. That was for men of wealth and culture.
Scott Adams wrote a few cartoons where his character Dogbert had a taser, and he used it on everybody who annoyed him. Sometimes I wish I lived in that world. That way the next time somebody quotes Benjamin Franklin out of context, I can zap him with the taser until smoke pours out his ears. Maybe then people will learn that they will never win a point by quoting somebody out of context. Ben Franklin was speaking of standing armies when he said, “he who would sacrifice a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security, will lose both and deserve neither.” Franklin was against standing armies while other delegates to the Constitutional Convention were very much in favor of them. Like all of Franklin’s other Constitutional ideas, it was ignored.
In the last few years I have seen that quote applied to such diverse matters as cameras at stop-lights, the enforcement of libel laws, September 11th conspiracies, breaking the media monopolies, health care, weapons of mass destruction, cell phones, and the income tax. Not once has anybody applied that quote to standing armies. It has become the all purpose response when there is no other argument. When shown proof that cameras at stop-lights reduce traffic fatalities, out comes the quote. When presented with an idea that journalistic standards and ethics be enforced again, there is always the quote. I have no idea what Franklin would say about national health, but I hardly think he would equate it with standing armies. Suggesting that September 11th conspiracists should take their medications becomes a threat to liberty. The quote has become an internet meme which has completely lost any meaning. It is another way of covering your ears and singing, “la la la, I can’t hear you.”
Nor has this become the sole example of quoting out of context. Recently Glenn Beck has been trotting out Thomas Paine in support of the tea baggers. Paine was part of a social movement called the Populists. He advocated a progressive tax on wealth, welfare, subsidized farm loans, and representative democracy. He even declared health to be a basic human right. It just goes to show you that any point can be won if the person being quoted is dead. Paine was an anti-federalist who strongly advocated for the original American Confederacy of 1780-1790. Upon his return to the United States in 1802, he lived in obscurity for seven years and his funeral was ignored. Once he was dead, he immediately became the darling of the nation. Great monuments were built in his honor, and Common Sense has been quoted out of context by public school teachers for over a century.
In a recent interview, former pro-wrestler turned politician, Jesse Ventura, criticized the Democrats and the Republicans for not working together. I will be the first to admit it when Ventura says something intelligent. It happens so rarely. Then Ventura had to ruin it by quoting the founding fathers out of context. He said that George Washington, John Adams and others warned us against the dangers of political parties. If I lived in Scott Adams’ world, I would zap Ventura with my taser until lightning came out of his nose. The founders liked the two party system just fine. It was the many political parties being formed in England they were scared of. Different factions were creating their own political parties and having them elected to Parliament. In order to get anything done, the different factions had to work together to create a compromise. This is the foundation of Parliamentary Democracy. The delegates, Ministers of Parliament, Congresspeople, whatever you want to call them, directly represent their constituents and get them the best deal possible. That was what our founding fathers were worried about. They wanted to make sure their people stayed on top.
The Constitution represents a naked power grab by a faction in government whom we now call the Federalists. Had the revolution not happened, George Washington would have been jailed by Britain for his shady land deals. Alexander Hamilton was very well connected to the American and British financial industry. He and his relative by marriage, Robert Morris, worked together on a bond scam that defrauded the Revolutionary enlisted soldiers of their back pay. Even the leader of the anti-federalist movement, Thomas Jefferson, was a wealthy landowner as well as a slave owner who held his own children as property. These were not people who particularly cared about the rights of other people. When Jefferson became president, he continued the Federalist system and liked it.
Our Federalist founders created a system which imitated the British court of the time. Our president has the exact same powers as the Constitutional Monarch. He is the head of the army, disperses funds, oversees the execution of the law, industry, diplomacy, etc, through his cabinet. Originally the Senate was appointed by the state governments. There are no term limits for the Supreme Court, and British common law gives any American judge the same power as a British duke. Alexander Hamilton created a taxation system where the wealthy were barely taxed and the poor and lower middle class maintained most of the tax burden. Washington selected his cabinet from industrialists and landowners. You did not find Patrick Henry or Herman Husband amongst his closest advisers. To this day the cabinet is selected from the wealthy to serve the interests of the wealthy, and the Supreme Court Justices are selected by their loyalty to the monied interests.
Due process in law has always been at the whim of our government. Four years after the Constitution was ratified, Washington’s Attorney General declared that the Constitution did not apply to anyone accused of rebelling against the United States. Suspects in the Whiskey Rebellion were arrested without warrant. They were paraded down Market Street in Philadelphia as traitors, and tossed into an unheated cell without food or light. This was a precedent John Yoo turned to in his torture memos. In a foreshadowing of Guantanamo, all twenty men were found not guilty, even though the judges gave instructions to enter a verdict of guilty. Over the years due process has also been denied to freed slaves, European immigrants, and anyone else without the funds to buy due process.
Those tea baggers, and anarchist libertarians who talk about freedom within the Constitution have no idea what they are talking about. The United States was never a representative democracy. Our president is chosen by the electoral college, so I don’t even know why we bother with the popular vote. It’s all show anyway. Our Congress and Senate are representatives of military industrial complex, just as our federalist founders wanted it. There has never been a time when the wealthy paid their share in taxes, and a poor man has rarely won against a rich man in court. That is how our legal system is set up. The Bill of Rights was a major concession won by the few populist delegates to the Constitutional Convention, but even the Bill of Rights is interpreted through the Supreme Court, which historically championed Jim Crow.
When Libertarians prattle on about a return to the Constitution, I wish I was Dogbert so I can tase them until they do the Monster Mash. The America they talk about never existed in the real world. Maybe if they walked through a wardrobe and traveled through Narnia, Aslan might direct them to it. We are living in the exact America the Federalists wanted. A return to the Constitution is only going to cement corporate control over this country. If we want to change the country, we need to look to the future. Trying to return to the past never works. The clock never ticks backwards, and trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions only makes things worse. Look at what happened to Germany when they tried it.
Sixteen protesters and 25 cops showed up at the John Yoo Torture Memos protest on Feb 11th. There were only sixteen protesters. It took 25 cops to protect Yoo from us. One of us was using a wheel chair. Another of us was 76 years old. I have a bad back and my wife and I both have arthritis. That effectively left 12 potential rioters against 25 armed peace officers. I suppose it was worth the taxpayer’s money so John Yoo would feel safe from us. Wait, I’m wrong. One of my wife’s friends from her Code Pink group is also disabled and sat in a camp chair. Another was wearing a fifty pound John Yoo bobble head. So there were effectively 10 potential rioters against 25 armed cops. It’s a good thing that some of them were from the SWAT team.
To the officers’ credit, they were the most professional police force on earth. They took their job damned seriously. If there was going to be an actual attempt to harm Yoo, they were ready. They were also smart enough to know that we constituted no danger. Also to their credit, they stood up for our First Amendment rights. They did not force us to disperse. They did not force us into a “Free Speech Zone” two miles away. Traffic flow and liability were their main concerns. They saw to it that traffic flowed smoothly and that John Yoo would have to go past us in order to leave.
It doesn’t look good for Dr. Yoo. Britain is giving its infamous MI5 security agency a public reaming for the torture of British citizens in Guantanamo. Yes, Virginia, there are people named Mohamad who are British Citizens, and England is pissed. It looks as if secret documents are going to be made public as MI5 agents are tried for not informing their government.
Meanwhile Dick Cheney is working his motormouth on television. Cheney confirmed that Yoo co-wrote the Torture Memos to rationalize the use of torture. Cheney wanted torture so Yoo told him what he wanted to hear. What’s worse, what is the absolute bitter end, is that Cheney also admitted to ordering three people tortured.
He ordered three people tortured? Who was he to order three people tortured? Hell, since when can the vice president order anything except a pizza? What happened to the days when one brother goes to sea while his other brother becomes vice-president, and nobody ever hears from either of them again? Since when does the vice president order anybody tortured? Not only is Big Mouth Cheney admitting to torturing people, but he’s admitting that the executive office ignores the constitution. The vice presidency is traditionally the golden road to political obscurity. I wonder if it was John Yoo who told Cheney he had the right to order people tortured?
So Yoo must know that the jig is up. He knows that he can run and cannot hide. If he had a brain in his head he would be fleeing to Argentina about now. He is being sued by somebody who was wrongfully tortured in Guantanamo. MI5 is being placed on public trial for allowing British Citizens to be tortured. Now his former boss is spilling the beans to the press. Even Holder’s gutless Justice Department is saying he showed “poor judgment.” The weasel is completely and totally screwed, and now he is just wiggling around trying to justify his actions.
I hoped to post a link to his book tour, so people could find out where he is going to be speaking, and stage their own protests. Guess what? He didn’t publish his itinerary. John Yoo is conducting the country’s first clandestine book signing tour. He has become a man of mystery. Nobody knows where he will show up next. Today a country club in Taos New Mexico. Tomorrow a luncheon with the Young Republicans in Chicago. Each time he strikes, he leaves his autograph in a few of his books, which justifies torture by rationalizing the high handed presidents of the past. Like Waldo, it takes highly developed powers of observation to find him. If you do find him and are going to hold a protest, I will be glad to send you the songs and chants Code Pink has been using. It’ll make him feel at home.
Yoo complains that all this protesting is intimidating him. Why? Is he afraid we’re going to waterboard him? Is he afraid that we are going to pull him off the street and hide him in an undisclosed location? Of course not. Unlike Yoo, we believe in rule by law. We are demanding due process for Yoo, which is more than the people he is responsible for torturing get. This is why UC Berkeley will not disclose where he is lecturing. This is why his book tour is being treated like a ninja assault. This is why he hid on his way out of the Poplar Creek Golf Club.
I was standing at a funny angle so I saw him when he left the golf club. He got into a green SUV with tinted windows. A blond woman was at the wheel. Before they reached the exit, he hunkered down in the front seat so we could not see him. I knew he was in that vehicle, so I shouted “John Yoo is a wuss!”
I am making myself very unpopular by criticizing Barack Obama. I have been called a racist for criticizing him. I have been called an alarmist. I have even been compared to Sean Hannity, which really hurts. A neighbor told me that I am not being fair. After all, Obama has not even been sworn in yet. He has not even had the chance to screw things up yet. From my point of view that’s like telling me not to run away from the guy with the open buckets of gasoline and a lit cigarette.
Obama is not only surrounding himself with the worst of the Clinton Administration, he is surrounding himself with the worst of the Bush war criminals as well. He wants Robert “The Surge” Gates to continue as the Secretary of Defense. How is this change? They are popping the champagne in Beijing with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. That is a pretty good indication that jobs are not going to return to American soil under Obama. Rahm “NAFTA” Emanuel, Lockheed’s trained monkey, is going to be Obama’s chief of staff. This does not look like change to me. This looks like a rerun to the bad old days of the Clinton Administration, when homelessness flourished while public money was invested in junk stocks. Yet when I point this out, I am accused of being Sean Hannity.
The problem here is that Sean Hannity is telling the absolute truth. In this age of universal deceit, there is no better way to lie than to tell the truth. If Hannity lied, he would be lumped in with the Sept. 11th conspiracy nuts, and the legions of other rumor mongers. By telling the truth, Hannity is standing out from the rest of the crowd. He is singling himself out for national attention. Any imbecile can claim that Obama turned in a false birth certificate, but it establishes credibility to point out that Obama is crewing the ship of state with the same band of cutthroats who brought us the Tech Bubble and the disastrous Financial Reform Bill. Then, after capturing our attention with the truth, Hannity follows up with a real whopper. He makes the idiotic claim that the Republicans are better than the Democrats.
Those of you, like myself, who prefer to exist in consensual reality, are probably already aware that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is the difference between AIDS and lung cancer. Both are an eventual death sentence; the only real difference is the pain you experience as you waste away in misery. Yet Sean Hannity will tear down the Democrats, and point out every mistake made by the Democrats, while ignoring the fact that the Republicans made the same damned mistakes. Hannity will tear Nancy Pelosi to ribbons, while ignoring the fact that Pelosi voted for everything Baby-Doc Bush ever asked for. Hannity will accuse the Democrats of spending money on “wasteful” public programs, and will forget that Bill Clinton joined with Newt Gingrich to rip the social safety net to shreds. Since 1980, the Democrats and the Republicans have been working together for the benefit of the multinational corporations, and it seems that nobody really notices thanks to Sean Hannity.
The Democrats became the party of the poor and the downtrodden back during the early part of the twentieth century. As the labor movement grew in strength and popularity, the unions sought a political party to represent their interests. The G.O.P would have nothing to do with either labor or the immigrants who comprised the labor movement. By the time FDR was elected, unions were strong enough to influence the New Deal and made economic recovery possible. However, years of prosperity weakened the unions, and labor influence in the Democratic Party waned until Reagan entirely broke union influence in the early Eighties. Still, people insist on believing that the Democrats support labor and working people, even after Bill Clinton signed the original legislation that send our jobs out of the country and killed labor in the United States.
So there is Sean Hannity telling the truth about the Democratic Party, and Democrats arguing with him despite the evidence of the last 28 years. The Democrats are arguing that they are different from the Republicans even after Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table. Republicans are arguing with Democrats even after Bill Clinton showed his true colors and openly joined with the Republicans. This is why I say that we can expect the exact same disasters from Obama that we could expect with McCain.
Barack Obama was the perfect Democratic presidential candidate. He is a dark skinned man who was given the kind of upbringing that is usually reserved for very privileged European Americans. He grew up with middle class values. Despite his books, I cannot see him really identifying with his supporters. Poverty is too far out of his experience. When he went to school abroad, he was home schooled or went to English language schools. He grew up in his mother’s white American social class The fact that the Democrats and their corporate sponsors were forced to support a candidate of African descent is a good indication that the power balance is shifting. The powers that be are on the verge of total economic collapse. They need us to keep listening to Sean Hannity and pointlessly arguing with each other over two parties which are now exactly the same. That’s the only thing that is keeping them in power.
Hannity’s purpose is to deflect objective criticism on the Democratic party and to maintain the illusion that there is an actual difference between Democrats and Republicans. Hannity encourages us to support or oppose a president who has promised us change without outlining what the changes are going to be or how change is going to be implemented. Hannity prevents us from giving negative feedback on the terrible choices that Obama is making for his staff and his cabinet. The left is being distracted by arguing with Republicans over the non-virtues of Democrats. We cannot afford to wait and hope that Barrack Obama comes riding out of Washington on his white horse to rescue us all. It is up to us to rescue ourselves and the first thing on our agenda is to tell Obama that Gates, Clinton, and that rabid weasel Emanuel are not acceptable choices. We, the people, are the bosses here and its damned all time that we acted like it. Barack Obama works for us. We need to remind him of that, even if we find ourselves agreeing with Sean Hannity.
Congress is looking for a scapegoat for the current financial crisis. The Democrats are blaming the Republicans. The Republicans want the voters to think that it’s the Democrats fault. They want the voters to forget that the Democrats have only been a majority for two years. The Republicans are also blaming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are blaming Allen Greenspan for everything. This is fair. After all, Greenspan served Bush the Elder, Bill Clinton, and The Shrub.
If Alan Greenspan was police chief on New York City, he would be standing in front of a City Commission explaining why street mugging has reached the point where the muggers are driving Mercedes. Poor Greenspan would have to hem and haw and explain that he was partially wrong for deregulating the anti-theft laws. Greenspan would elucidate by explaining that he assumed that self-interest would make the muggers regulate themselves. He never imagined that the muggers would allow themselves to get out of control the way they had. Greenspan would have to admit that he should have enforced some of the mugging laws.
Now let’s take a look at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Neither company actually makes the loans. A representative from the Mac family doesn’t come to the customer’s house and take the application and the supporting documents. Somebody who works for a broker does that, or, in the case of a subprime lender, somebody who works for a registered corporation.
People who work in subprime are under constant pressure to sell, sell, sell. I remember working for Aames Home Loans during the stock market crash of 2000. The corporate office had every satellite office in California calling Oakland because the property values had risen so high. Those poor people were getting a call from Aames every ten minutes. Salespeople would intimidate a customer into signing and then quit as soon as the commission check cleared. I had one manager who was caught with a complete fraud kit. She had letterhead from several banks, phony pay stubs; everything needed to send phony documents to the underwriters. Once the loan went through and the three days passed, it was a legal contract and Aames could not rescind the loan, although they prosecuted the manager.
The same mentality dominates the prime loan industry. The idea was to get the loan no matter what. I once got fired from a brokerage for trying to kill a bad loan when the customers were hiding credit cards. The loan went through anyway. When no laws are being enforced, how are the Macs supposed to tell a good loan from a bad one? Tarot cards? To give them credit, The Macs turned down their share of bad loans. Yet considering that your average mortgage officer has to submit 15-25 files a week, and needs to fund 3-5 of them, the Macs cannot be blamed if one out of the three to five is a bad loan.
There is also another fact that is not being considered, which is that not all mortgages are bad when they are sold. A refinance or a second mortgage could be sold with all the honesty and good will on earth and could go bad for any number of reasons. The first mortgage meltdown occurred in April of 2007 after GM sent one of their plants to Mexico and the laid off American workers could no longer pay their mortgages. That was the domino that started this whole collapse. More loans have gone bad from outsourcing and unemployment than any other reason.
Which leaves us with the Democrats and the Republicans pointing the finger of blame at each other. Who elected these people in the first place. What does this say about the voters who elected Nancy Pelosi? These people claim to be liberals, but their favorite girl habitually gives Bush everything he wants and a bag of chips. What does this say about voters who supported Bill Clinton as he signed NAFTA into law and then tore our social safety net to pieces? A lot of people who cheered Clinton on are now homeless.
Maybe we, the American voters, are responsible for this mess for listening to ideology rather our own best interests. Perhaps this is our fault for looking at the surface of the issues rather than the substance. We, the voters, have consistently confused personal liberty with the corporate license to steal. We swallowed Greenspan’s idiocy about deregulation hook, line and sinker. The American voter welcomed Reagan with open arms because he promised us that deregulation would make us all richer. As Will Rogers once said, “we don’t always get the government we want, but we always get the government we deserve”.
You want to get out of this mess, start voting smarter. The SEC does not threaten your personal freedoms. If you paid a little more in taxes, the SEC may have been able to save your retirement account. The social safety net may have allowed you to save your job. Speaking of jobs, maybe if the American voter supported the labor unions, the U.S might still have a labor base. That way our currency would not be exclusively based on petroleum production.
It’s time to start ignoring politicians and demanding what we want. We want a secure economy. A single payer health system. More than anything else, we want a government that listens to us instead of dim-weeds like Allan Greenspan.
They are born in the same communities. They go to the same schools and join the same clubs. When they graduate they pursue the same professions (generally law), and they buy their homes in the same communities. They are Democrats and they are Republicans. Their political affiliations are more a matter of family tradition than ideals or beliefs. Kennedy is an old Democratic family while Bush is an old Republican family. The affiliations are more like sports teams than differences in beliefs. They are wealthy families and they are going to put their own class first.
It’s not a matter of evil or greed, or even stupidity. It’s a matter of environment. They grow up in an America of million dollar homes. To them, this is the norm. They are educated in private schools. This is the standard of education they are used to. When they go to the expensive Ivy League schools, they join exclusive clubs and fraternities. Sometimes they befriend somebody who grew up in a $100,000 dollar home and maybe went to a wealthy public school or parochial school. These people become their CFAs or even attorneys. Life agents and CPAs flock to Hyannis Port and Palm Beach like fledgling actors to Hollywood. Each one looking for his big chance to join the power elite. These people are known as trained monkeys. They do their tricks and get their bananas, and keep their positions by not challenging their employer’s preconceptions.
Telling the boss he is wrong is not the road to wealth and privilege. Telling the boss that private schools and million dollar homes are not the norm does not guarantee a long and healthy career in the financial industry. Piss off the boss by telling him the truth, and some other monkey will have your job and your commissions. Public relations and advertising is not there just to fool the masses, but to reassure our leaders as well. Myths about homelessness being entirely about substance abuse, or that outsourcing makes things better for everybody, are there to make our leaders feel good. They believe the very crap they pay for. They pay public relations firms billions a year to spread rumors about abortion, the war on Iraq, and homelessness–and the bosses believe it.
Back when I was selling life insurance, I had one general agent tell me that he used to be concerned about the environment. Then he realized that it was the scientist’s jobs to fix all the damage. Since he had confidence in American scientific acumen, he no longer worried. This same genius told me to tell my clients that Muslims were building terrorist weapons in the basements of every mosque in the United States. Needless to say, I was not with that agency for very long. To give you an idea of the trained monkey mentality, the top agent racially humiliated an African American junior agent in the board room, and only one other agent joined me in protesting this. We were both junior agents and so we were ignored and eased out. One does not allow bigotry to be challenged amongst the wealthy.
Is it any wonder that so many minorities were hurt during the mortgage meltdown? Is it any wonder that jobs were just sent out of the country without any concern about its effect on the population? After all, outsourcing increased the value of their mutual funds. If it benefited them, it would benefit everybody, right? After all, million dollar homes and private schools are the norm, right? If people lost their jobs, they could work at McDonald’s, right? There is no need for a social safety net. If they needed extra money, the poor could just get a subprime loan.
When their own idiocy caught up with them, and the American financial industry triggered an world wide stock market collapse, the Democrats joined with the Republicans to give their own class a 700 billion dollar bail out. After all, if it’s good for them, it’s good for everybody, right?
Once again, the multinational corporations have screwed the pooch, and triggered another world stock market crash. By circumventing the regulations imposed by the New Deal, American corporations have managed to move the clock back to 1929. Europe has bailed out the United States economy to the tune of a half trillion dollars. That was not done out of the goodness of Europe’s heart. The European bankers had to do it to keep us from pulling them down with us. There are going to be repercussions as the European banks secure their investments. There is going to be heavy pressure for the new president to tighten up on federal oversight, restore the watch dog agencies, and undo deregulation.
The Libertarians will be there for the corporations. Like Christianoids defending Jesus, Libertarians will be defending their God, Marketplace. They will recite grade school stories about Jefferson and Madison while fighting the very regulations that protect their livelihoods and investments. Libertarians are corporate America’s fifth column. Confusing individual liberty with corporate domination, Libertarians can be depended on to defend corporate control. It never occurs to them that it is Socialist Europe saving our bacon. Europe, with its bureaucracy, socialized medicine, unions, and the welfare state, had the financial means to save us from ourselves. Libertarians will ignore that fact with the same determination that Jerry Falwell ignored evolution. Tom Jefferson preached the Free Market, Libertarians believe the Free Market, and that settles the matter. Libertarians are as resistant to facts as Christianoids.
The Libertarian Party is way too young to have rampant cronyism. That has to wait until there are more Libertarians in public office, who can then give plum hand-out jobs to their brother Libertarians. Libertarianism in itself is a sign of corruption. It is a blatant propaganda ploy by the corporations to hold onto power in America.
Based on the Goldwater Conservatism of the Sixties with a generous dose of the John Birch Society, libertarianism is a reactionary philosophy meant to bring our nation back to a time before corporations were regulated. There is little difference between the Reagan Republicans of the Eighties and 21st Century Libertarianism except the SDS-style revolutionary rhetoric. Even that has been warped by propagandistic nationalism to the point where they sound like the old John Birchers.