It’s called the bait and switch. It’s the most effective con game ever created. The conman offers to sell something bright and shiny to the mark. When the mark looks at what he bought, he sees that it’s not a bright and shiny as he thinks. The conman made it look better than it was. The old bait and switch works best with intangibles. If a mark buys a watch and it turns out to be a piece of crap, the mark can go to the police. He can identify the conman in a line-up, or get his friends together to beat the hell out of the conman. You can’t do that with ideas. Ideas are intangible. That’s why the bait and switch works so well in politics. The mark put all his money and his energy into a dream, and the mark isn’t willing to let his dream go. The mark will even make excuses for the con. Bill Clinton campaigned by promising the public a national health plan. To this day there are people who will not admit that Clinton conned them. The idea is so bright and shiny that they cannot even admit to themselves that the guy who promised it to them was lying.
Barack Obama has promised America something even brighter and shinier than a national health plan. Obama has promised us hope, and hope is the most intangible idea of all. Like the song asks, did you ever have a hope sandwich? That’s when you have two slices of bread and you hope that you get some meat. We have our two pieces of bread, where’s the meat? When are the troops coming home? When are we going to get our national health plan? When is Wall St. going to be held accountable for its crimes? So far, Mr. Obama has not given us any definite answers to those questions. He has been elected because we hope he will give us acceptable answers to those questions. I voted for Nader because Obama did not answer those questions.
Obama has not given any satisfactory answers to those questions, but the American voters continue to hope. They assume that Obama will improve health care even though Obama has put his health care plan on the table, and it sucks. Obama has made quite a lot of talk about the economy, but he has not mentioned the fact that the SEC and the FTC as well as the Treasury service have been underfunded to the point where they cannot do their jobs. Wall St. commits major crimes on a daily basis. Will Obama put a stop to it?
What we can expect is more hope. Barack Obama is a fantastic orator. Were he a life insurance agent, he would have a place at the million dollar round table. The man is that convincing. I can just see Obama telling us that we have to keep the troops in the Middle East to protect the victims of our own invasion. We will all still hope that the troops will come home soon. While Obama plans to throw billions of dollars to his supporters in the health care industries, we will continue to hope that the HMOs choose to treat our illnesses. By the same token we can continue to hope that we can keep a house over our heads and hope that our jobs are not shipped to the mysterious East.
Then there are the issues that both Obama and McCain have just mentioned in passing. Obama’s energy plan is utter and complete insanity. Wake up and smell the coffee, folks, the planet is out of cheap crude oil. Gas prices are going to jump higher than a kangaroo with a kink in his tail. Obama wants to build more nuke plants. I was an eye witness to the Three Mile Island disaster. Nuclear reactors are not the answer. Obama is promising us another meltdown. The next one may very well bring us into a “China Syndrome”. The nuclear fuel could melt through the container and make thousands of miles of the United States hostile to all forms of life. Obama does not seem to care about that. Unlike the new solar technologies, nukes will bring tremendous profits to his backers. We already know that profits come before human life. We are just supposed to hope that Obama’s energy policy doesn’t kill us all.
Then there is global warming. We are watching new and stronger hurricanes hitting our eastern coasts. Polar bears are losing their habitats. Entire forests are being decimated by insects because the natural cycles are broken. We continue to hope that Obama will support the ecological regulations needed to keep global warming from getting any worse. At the same time the homeless can keep hoping that somebody will realize that it is not their fault that the jobs have been shipped overseas or that it was not their fault that their mortgages melted down. We do have a lot to hope for. Will Mr. Obama deliver on any of it?
If Bill Clinton is any indication, I doubt it. Clinton joined with Gingrich’s so called second revolution and decimated the social safety net to make sure that displaced workers had nowhere to fall but the streets. If Nancy Pelosi is any indication, I also doubt it. Nancy was George Bush’s number one girl. She voted for everything he asked for. She took impeachment off the table and made sure that Georgie could rape and ruin to his heart’s content without any sort of consequences. I fully expect Obama to act the same way. Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi taught me the futility of hope.
Obama does not deserve a honeymoon period. Yes, it will be a rare pleasure to have a President who can pronounce nuclear, but let us not forget everything that we are hoping for. Let’s not let Obama forget it either. I hope his inauguration is interrupted by major protests. I hope he is flooded by emails and by petitions to end the war. Remember, change is not created by protests alone. We also need boycotts, works outages, strikes, and sit-ins. Johnson did not sign the civil rights bill because it was the right thing to do. That old Texas redneck signed it because there would have been civil war had he not. Don’t let a Black President fool you. Don’t be content to hope. Obama is not going to do anything for any of us unless we make him, just as Dr. King made Johnson sign the Civil Rights Act.
Dedicated to my friend Jon
He was a strange duck, no doubt about that. Had he lived today he would be taken to task for his sexism. His poor wife didn’t have that much say in their relationship. There was no doubt that he was something of a religious fanatic, although there are those who insist that he’s a saint. There is no doubt of the profound effect he still has in the world, and we have not yet seen the full effect of his life and works.
Today, Gandhi has become a stereotype. He has become another dead person who is shamefully used by the establishment. Who can forget the callous Apple commercials that portrayed a picture of Gandhi with the words “think different”? Of course, what the observer was supposed to think about was MacIntosh Computers. Born again preachers will invoke his name as readily as neocon politicians to support ideas Gandhi would never have agreed with.
This only succeeds in keeping Gandhi in the public mind. This is something that preachers and politicians may live to regret. Gandhi remains a powerful symbol in the public mind. You can stick his picture on a billboard to sell computers, but he remains the man who liberated India. He did so without firing a shot. As a young attorney in South Africa, Gandhi was the man who began resistance against Apartheid. True, Apartheid did not fall until about forty years after his death, but Gandhi was the pebble that began the avalanche. Had Gandhi not challenged the South African marriage laws and won, there would have been no victories for Steven Biko and Nelson Mandela to follow.
Gandhi is a constant reminder that you do not need a gun to stand up against injustice. You do not have to use violence to make your point. You do not have to make war to be free. Courage and determination are what creates freedom. Independence is not won through battle but through negotiation. Gandhi forced the authorities in South Africa to recognize non-Christian marriages. Gandhi forced the British to the table and negotiated British withdrawal from India. In both cases, Gandhi did not lift a gun. He did not threaten harm to anyone, South African White or British Raj.
Where would the Libertarian movement be if Gandhi’s example begins to catch on? Where would their Second Amendment mania get them, except to show what a dangerous anachronism Libertarianism is? Would the FBI be able to create another Weather Underground if the left really embraces the principles of nonviolence? What would have happened if we acted like Gandhi after the Sept. 11th attack? What would have happened if we had listened to the other side? I suspect that quite a lot of oil profits would be going towards reparations and that bin Laden would be in an American prison right now.
If Gandhi has taught us anything, it is that the person who shoots first loses. Apply this lesson to the war in Afghanistan. Oh, how the American public cheered as Chimpy McFlightsuit sent the troops to the Middle East. It was called “definitive action”. I once spent an afternoon listening to an acquaintance tell me the horror that is now Kabul. He told me how he sent his young cousin to school, just to have the boy return dead in a neighbor’s arms half an hour later. Two years later we invaded Iraq. Would that have happened if we had adopted the principles Gandhi taught us?
There are no good wars. There are no wars that could not be prevented. Even World War Two could have been prevented had the world put its foot down in Hitler’s early days. The two wars that America is currently involved in would certainly have been prevented if we as a nation had kept Gandhi in mind. Perhaps it’s good that the preachers and politicians invoke Gandhi’s name for their own purposes. It’s good to keep reminding us of what Gandhi stood for. Maybe if we are reminded enough times, we might catch on. Then when the next idiot wants to attack the next nation, we will tell him to get stuffed.
Can the Red King wake up? Is it possible for him to overcome his petrochemical addiction and rejoin the rest of us in consensual reality? Quite frankly, I don’t see where he has a choice. The Earth is not squeezing out any more dinosaur juice, and God is not putting it back when he is not looking. Neither Jesus nor Mohammad will be coming back to bring him to heaven so he can escape the consequences of his actions. Back in 1998 Ramsey Clarke’s oil supply report warned him that there was only twenty years of oil left in the Middle East. It’s 2008 now. We are half way to the deadline, and The Red King is already paying for the increased price of petroleum production at the pumps.
Petroleum will never be as cheap as it had been for the last century. Middle Eastern oil was unique in the world. As oil becomes more difficult to extract and refine, there will be more and more little wars as the stronger nations steal the oil from the weaker nations. Meanwhile we will watch oil prices sneak up to $10 a gallon. This is the stage of addiction where the junkie mugs unwary passersby for the money to pay his pusher. So don’t expect a Democrat to avoid a war with Iran. The Red King is starting to tweak. He is too deep into his addiction to be able to visualize life without it. He will rationalize his actions with such excuses as national security, or they hate America, but The Red King will try to mug Iran for the oil he is addicted to no matter what party takes office.
Those little wars are going to make the oil pushers happy. As his fear of withdrawal increases, the Red King will use more oil instead of less. War will use up the oil so that the supply will decrease even faster. We might see the end of Middle Eastern oil production within the next three or four years. Then just watch the prices rise at the pump. The oil pushers will be making unprecedented profits as the domestic sale of gasoline is rationed for the war effort.
Maybe then the Red King will start realizing that his addiction is killing him. Hopefully, the sight of the Middle East, abandoned and poisoned by depleted uranium, will make him realize how his addiction affects the world around him. I doubt it. It’s not as if Ecologists and Peace Activists have not been trying to explain it to him for years. The Red King has been warned and warned about what his addiction is doing to the world. Perhaps when there is plenty of oil for the war effort and none left to run his car, The Red King might wake up and realize what he has been killing himself.
No addict ever goes for help until he reaches his low,andThe Red King has sunk to unimaginable lows. He has forced thousands of American citizens into homelessness just to keep his pushers happy. He has rounded up thousands of imaginary enemies of the state to be tortured in off shore prisons. Over the years, The Red King has destroyed coastlines, and wildernesses in his blind desperate panic to guarantee his next fix. The Red King has poisoned the air and caused the extinction of thousands of plant and animal species. He has created all this destruction just to guaranty tomorrow’s high. It’s pretty plain to see that The Red King is dreaming in the gutter.
It’s pretty obvious that The Red King is too far gone in his addiction to just taper off. Tapering off is too little too late. Maybe if he started back in the Carter Administration when gas was being rationed, he might have been able to taper off on his oil habit. However, 20 years ago, the Red King was still denying he was an addict. He was still making up excuses not to quit The idea of quitting caused him to panic. How was he going to run his car? How would he get to work? How was he going to impress the girls/boys? Where would the electricity come from? He had 10,000 excuses to ignore his addiction.
Then of course there were the excuses became wilder and wilder. The biggest lie the Red King told himself was that Jesus was coming back to bring him to heaven. So The Red King could snort all the oil he wanted. There would be no need for oil in the Kingdom of Heaven. Another excuses he told himself were that the gas shortage was all the fault of American hating Arabs or a Mossad created conspiracy. Then of course there was the most popular rationalization of all: “we haven’t run out of oil yet”.
Now the oil is indeed running out and the Red King is going to be going into withdrawal very soon. The first symptom will be the collapse of the automotive industry. Outsourcing has guaranteed its demise. As the price of transportation increases, importing finished parts from overseas will begin to cost too much. Cars will become too expensive to build. Wal-Mart will be the next industry to collapse as overseas transportation becomes too expensive. American made goods will become less expensive than Chinese imports. The entire neocon world economy will fall to pieces without the oil industry to prop it up. The dollar will fall like a rock as oil production is no longer able to support the American GNP. Bringing America’s industrial base back home and putting Americans back to work is the only way to prevent the dollar from collapsing.
War itself will become too unprofitable to pursue. The Military-Industrial complex depends on petroleum to run its tanks and trucks. The price of exporting weapons will become to expensive to be profitable. War as a means of economic bullying will become unprofitable as well. It will simply be too expensive to send the troops overseas. The troops will be better used in civilian production jobs. Military spending will drop as there will be no reason to have a military in the first place.
Most of us simply don’t make enough money to worry about a fall in the standard of living. Instead, We will be watching a lot of the neocon’s fall to our standard of living. We may no longer have automobiles, but there will be public transportation. Trains will make a come back. We will still have computers. They will become cheaper and more durable. Buying a computer will be an investment rather than something to be discarded after a year. The Internet will still be here as computers can be run on solar power as well as any other power source. The consumer lifestyle will end, but global warming will slow and maybe even reverse.
See, Red King? There is life after addiction. That life could actually be better than living in the constant fear of running out of your drug. The only reason that you were an addict was that you were afraid of change. Well change is the only constant in life. Change can be for the better as well as for the worse. Only you can choose which it is going to be. You can choose to go forward into the post-oil society, or you can kill us all trying to maintain it. We are anxiously waiting for you to decide what you are going to do.