July 10, 2008

How About It, Barack?

A letter to The New York Times:
To the Editor:

The analogy between Senator Barack Obama’s yea vote on Wednesday for the FISA amendment act and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s yea vote in October 2002 for the Iraq resolution is not to be missed or understated.

Mr. Obama did not want to hand John McCain a cudgel with which he could be attacked as soft on terrorism during the presidential campaign. But is that not precisely the reason Mrs. Clinton, who at the time still had not decided whether to run against the incumbent George W. Bush in 2004, voted for the authorization of military force in Iraq?

In each case, passage of the bill was a foregone conclusion, so the only effect of a negative vote would have been potential harm to an imminent presidential bid.

Is Mr. Obama now ready to concede that Mrs. Clinton, rather than showing poor foresight, was just exercising good political judgment?

James Tocco
Cincinnati, July 10, 2008
Mr. Tocco is just mean. As we all know, being mean is the cardinal sin of political commentary.

Never mind.

(As explained in many essays here, I emphasize that while the crudest of political calculations was involved in both instances, calculations which are almost invariably in error, it is also the case that Obama and Clinton positively believed in their votes. As is true of Democrats generally, they both support an authoritarian-corporatist state at home and aggressive interventionism abroad. It is a matter of considerable astonishment to me that, even at this late date and as even a brief survey of leading "progressive" blogs reveals, most Democratic partisans are incapable of grasping the glaringly obvious: the Democrats act as they do because they want to. If these self-blinded Democratic supporters ever wish to regain a tenuous foothold in reality, they would be well advised to give up their desperate grasping at straws and face the truth. It doesn't hurt all that badly, and only for a few years.

Of course, they may have to question some of their most deeply held and comforting beliefs and give up many of their allegiances -- but then, those don't seem to be working out so well for them, do they? They certainly aren't working out at all well for those principles they claim to be so concerned about. Yes, the emphasis is decidedly on "claim.")

July 09, 2008

Very Sick

My apologies, but I'm having significant health problems this week, much worse than usual. I hope to be back in several days.

To avoid regrettable interruptions in our train of thought, I note that the Democratic-led Congress has defecated on the Constitution (again!), torn that document up into shreds (again!), and scattered those shreds (again!) on the pyre that rises ever higher in eager anticipation of the next chapter in Our Glorious War to Liberate All the Oppressed Peoples of The Several Worlds. Or, alternatively, Our Glorious War to Ensure the Continuation of Large-Scale Exploitation and Death, as well as Hegemony of the Bestest, Most Beautifullest Nation that Ever Was or Ever Could Be.

I think that covers it. Repeat those points each day until I return (or several times a day, to keep pace with the exalted wise men and women who rule us), and we'll all be on the same page when regular blogging resumes.

My apologies again for the unfortunate interruption.

July 07, 2008

The Problem, in Brief

Earlier today, someone linked to an essay of mine from February of this year. I hadn't looked at it in quite a while. That piece concerned a program called InfraGard, which ought to scare the crap out of you. It's described in this post: "'Partnership for Protection' -- and for the Destruction of Liberty and, Possibly, of You."

In the course of my discussion, I offered some excerpts from Gabriel Kolko's pathbreaking book, The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916. Kolko's thesis challenged the "conventional wisdom" about the Progressive era, and replaced the then commonly held view with a much more accurate one, one which is now widely accepted (at least, by those who spend any substantial time studying this era). Unfortunately, far too many Americans still are largely ignorant about what actually happened during this critical period. It was not a time when "the people" claimed greater power or when "populism" triumphed; to the contrary, it saw the consolidation of control by the ruling class, through an intricate and ever-expanding series of complicated interrelationships between key, nominally private business interests and government -- or, if you will, the amalgamation of wealthy, influential private interests and the power of the state. As a result, it was, as Kolko styled it, "The Triumph of Conservatism." Not the story your mother told you. (A lengthier discussion of Kolko with further excerpts from his invaluable book will be found in, "It's Called the Ruling Class Because It Rules.")

After the Kolko excerpts, I wrote the following. I offer it again here, because I think this summarizes the fundamental problem quite well:
Over the last century, these dynamics have become the foundation of every aspect of American society and culture. The entanglements of the public and private sectors have grown increasingly byzantine and almost impossible to decipher much of the time, but the major theme is unaltered. Let's keep the primary lesson simple: The most wealthy and powerful private interests align with government -- and this partnership between the most powerful private interests and the state gets what it wants. You -- the "ordinary" citizen -- are of no importance whatsoever in these calculations, except insofar as your labor, and occasionally your life, are required so that the ruling elites are assured of getting what they want. You -- your life, your work, your family, your friendships, your happiness -- are entirely dispensable.

Try to understand this. This intricate and ornate series of interrelationships between and among various private and public powers has grown and metastasized over more than one hundred years. It will not be dislodged overnight. It will not be altered except by a deliberate and painful process of de-linking, which would require several decades at the very least. But history tells us that, once a corporatist system has reached an advanced stage such as that which now prevails in the United States, it will only be changed by a major disruption and, more probably, by a series of disruptions: financial weakening and possibly collapse, and/or a major war or series of wars, and/or natural catastrophe, and/or...use your imagination to fill in other possible factors. But, like children who still believe in Santa Claus, and like those who desperately hope for salvation in foreign affairs, many liberals and progressives now look for a miracle to save them on the domestic front. Call the miracle Obama if you wish; the name you give it doesn't matter a damn. And try to understand this: miracles do not happen. It was not a miracle that brought us here. It is only an understanding of the full nature of the problem we face and a determination to alter our course that will save us, if anything can. History, it must be noted, is not encouraging on this point.

None of this is a reason for terminal despair, although I keep reading comments about my essays to the effect that they are "too depressing," that they make people "suicidal" or "bitter," and the like. People who react in these ways may have some understanding, but not nearly enough. And they may have everything -- except vision and courage. I will discuss these particular issues in a future essay. For the moment, I will say this: I will not tell you, as people often tell me, that you need a "thicker skin," since I consider the views underlying such prescriptions to be uniformly destructive. But what you do need is more understanding, and much, much more courage.
The earlier essays discuss these subjects in more detail.

And I hope that within the next week, I will complete at least one further article analyzing more specifically the nature of many Americans' desperate search for a miracle, and how that misguided and sometimes very dangerous search intersects with the Obama candidacy.

The Truth Shall Drive You Mad: The Wise Men and Women of the Empire of Death

In "Obama's War Room," Elizabeth Schulte speaks of the "terrible disappointment" that will be experienced by "millions of people, in the U.S. and around the world, who hope that Obama represents a new direction after eight miserable years of George W. Bush and his fellow warmongers." She goes on:
On June 18, Obama convened the first meeting of his "Senior Working Group on National Security," a collection of advisers and possible future Cabinet members in a new administration--many of them former Clinton administration operators. Their record of war-making and imperial arrogance is enough to make your blood curdle.
I have written about Obama's National Security Working Group before; my title tells you my own assessment: "'Change' to Induce Vomiting So Extreme It Might Just Kill You." [In addition, Obama's own pronouncements about what the purposes and methods of our foreign policy should be make absolutely clear that he will offer no serious alternative to the U.S.'s aggressive, violent, non-defensive interventionism, as I discussed in "Songs of Death."]

Schulte offers some helpful reminders about the history of the individuals involved. About Madeleine Albright:
Albright advocated "regime change" in Iraq long before the Bush administration took power. It was during the Clinton administration that the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act was passed, making regime change offical U.S. policy and paving the way for Bush's invasion.

As U.S. ambassador to the UN before becoming secretary of state, Albright made it clear who was boss, declaring to the UN, "We will behave multilaterally when we can, and unilaterally when we must."

Albright was one of the architects of the U.S.-led NATO war on the former Yugoslavia, carried out under the cover of "humanitarian" concerns for the Kosovar Albanians. But the real purpose of the war was shown in 1999 negotiations in Rambouillet, France, with Serbian President Slovodan Milosevic, where Albright gave him an impossible choice--allow NATO troops unrestricted access or suffer the consequences.

Milosevic's refusal to surrender set the stage for a three-month bombing campaign that caused the deaths of some 2,000 Serbs and made conditions even worse for the Kosovar Albanians who the U.S. claimed to be protecting.
I've written about the Clinton administration's Balkans policy, in the second half of "Iraq Is the Democrats' War, Too," and in "Liberal Hypocrisy in the Name of 'Humanitarianism'."

I suppose it might be advisable to remind you that the major excuse employed to this day by many liberals to "justify" the bombing campaign -- "But a genocide was going on!" -- was a lie. Yes, it was a lie. Read Diana Johnstone's book, Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions, and read her article from February of this year, "NATO's Kosovo Colony." You should read the entire piece, but here are a couple of brief excerpts from the latter:
Across this last weekend, the Western propaganda machine was working overtime, celebrating the latest NATO miracle: the transformation of Serbian Kosovo into Albanian Kosova. A shameless land grab by the United States, which used the Kosovo problem to install an enormous military base (Camp Bondsteel) on other people's strategically located land, is transformed by the power of the media into an edifying legend of "national liberation".

For the unhappy few who know the complicated truth about Kosovo, the words of Aldous Huxley seem most appropriate: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall drive you mad."

Concerning Kosovo, truth is like letters written in the sand as the tsunami of propaganda comes thundering in.


Kosovo before the NATO war and occupation was, nevertheless, a multiethnic society. The accusation of "apartheid" was simply Albanian propaganda, as the Albanian nationalist leaders chose to use that heavily-charged term to describe their own boycott of Serbs and Serb institutions. Every police action against an Albanian, for whatever reason, whether for suspicion of armed rebellion or for ordinary crime, was described as a "human rights violation" by the Albanian human rights network financed by the United States government.

It was an extraordinary situation that the Serbian and Yugoslav governments allowed an illegal separatist "government of Kosovo", headed by Ibrahim Rugova, to hold shop in the center of Pristina, regularly receiving foreign journalists and regaling them with tales of how oppressed they were by the horrid Serbs.

But the laws were the same for all citizens, there were Albanians in local government and in the police, and if there were cases of police brutality (in what country are there no cases of police brutality?), the Albanians at least had nothing to fear from their Serb neighbors.

Even then, it was the Serbs who were afraid of the Albanians. Only outside Kosovo could anyone seriously believe that it was the Albanians who were under threat of "ethnic cleansing" (much less "genocide"). Such a project was simply, obviously, out of the question. It was the Serbs who were afraid, who spoke of sending their children to safety if they had the means, or who spoke bravely of remaining "no matter what".

Later, in March 1999, when NATO began to bomb Kosovo, Albanians fled by the hundreds of thousands, and their temporary flight from the war theater was presented as the justification for the bombing that caused it. The press did not bother to report on the Serbs and others who also fled the bombing at that time.
Johnstone has much, much more.

Back to Schulte, and Obama's Ministers of Death. About Lee Hamilton:
A 2006 article in the Chicago Tribune called Lee Hamilton one of America's "Wise Men...a storied but shrinking club trusted for the soundness of their advice and judgment, not for the favor that can be returned."

The fawning praise continued: "'Wise Men' are summoned at moments of national crisis, brought in precisely because of their ability to rise above partisan conflict in moments like the September 11 attacks and, now, the Iraq war. In both crises, official Washington turned to the same quietly resolute Midwesterner to make sense of it all: Lee Hamilton, a 75-year-old former Indiana Democratic congressman with a '50s-era brush cut and a clear-eyed appreciation for the hard realities of foreign policy."

In other words, to give the illusion of real debate and problem-solving where there is none.

[I]f there's a national security scandal, Hamilton can be trusted to serve on a bipartisan blue-ribbon committee to paper it over--and preserve the status quo in the long run.

During the hearings on the Iran-contra scandal--in which it was revealed that the U.S. government was covertly and illegally helping arm to the Nicaraguan contras to overthrow the democratically elected Sandinista government--Hamilton opted to stop the investigation before it reached President Ronald Reagan or Vice President George H.W. Bush, even though evidence existed that they might know about the scheme.

Hamilton explained later in an interview on PBS' Frontline that he didn't think it would have been good for the country for there to be another impeachment trial.
That last point is one of only two or three principles that can safely be attributed to the Democrats as an institution of power in these wondrous United States: no matter what crimes those in power may commit, no matter how many murders, no matter the scope of numerous illegal acts, no one shall ever be called to account for anything. If you have been at all surprised that the Democrats will never hold anyone in the Bush administration responsible, you have no one but yourself to blame (see "Blinded by the Story" on the Democrats' own complicity in all such crimes, among other matters).

And remember the grave consequences of the Democrats' immense betrayal of every notion of justice, decency and civilization. From the opening of my essay, "The Fatal Illusion of Opposition":
You desperately need to understand this: the next President of the United States, no matter who it is, will enter office knowing that he or she can systematically and regularly authorize torture, order mass murder, direct the United States military to engage in one campaign of criminal conquest and genocide after another, oversee uncountable acts of inhumanity and barbarity -- and he or she will never be challenged or called to account in any manner whatsoever. It may have taken the Bush administration two terms to bring us to the point where such evils are committed and even boasted about in broad daylight, while almost no one even notices -- but this will be where the next President starts.

And for this monstrous, unforgivable fact, you can thank the Democrats and those who whore themselves for the Democrats' success in our disgustingly meaningless elections.
Once more back to Elizabeth Schulte, and another Minister of Death:
IT'S SAFE to say that William Perry, Bill Clinton's former secretary of defense, is one of the best friends the defense industry ever had.

A consultant for Martin Marietta immediately before joining the Clinton administration, he restructured the defense industry in a plan nicknamed "payoffs for layoffs" by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, in which the government paid military contractors to consolidate. "Perry's Pentagon picked up the costs of moving equipment, dismantling factories and providing golden parachutes for top executives," wrote journalist Laura Flanders.

Previously, Perry served in the Carter administration as undersecretary of defense for research and development, where he pushed through the making of expensive high-tech weapons to counter the "Soviet threat."

He cleared the way for funding for laser-guided bombs, Cruise missiles, the Apache helicopter and the F-117 Stealth fighter. Perry also advocated for some of the most expensive defense boondoggles ever, such as the MX missile, the Maverick missile, the F-18, the DIVAD gun--and, of course, the B-2 Stealth bomber, with a price tag of $2.2 billion a plane.

After leaving Washington in 1998, Perry took a seat on the board of directors of Boeing.
Schulte has more.

And some people call it "change." I call it unadulterated bullshit and nauseating lies -- and I also call it criminal war, unforgivable murder, and the promise of only further devastation, chaos and suffering.

Yes, the truth shall drive you mad. Try some truth about the body- and mind-obliterating lunacy of war, and join the ranks of the insane.

July 06, 2008

Becoming "Somebody": Systems Beyond Repair

Ed Burns is one of the writers and co-creators of "The Wire," the widely praised HBO series. I've only seen the first three episodes of the first season thus far, but I can report that it is extraordinarily well-done. The subject matter is depressing in the extreme, yet the treatment is informed by exceptional writing, acting and directing, and it is altogether riveting. (Several readers have been very generous in offering to help get me a DVD player that actually works, so that problem should be addressed in the near future. My deep thanks to everyone who has been so wonderfully supportive on this, and more generally. I am more grateful than I can say. So I should soon be able to watch more of "The Wire," and much else.)

Burns joined the Baltimore police department in 1971, and retired from it 20 years later. He then worked as a geography teacher in a middle school:
He taught for seven grueling and rewarding years that showed him the flip side of his life as a cop, "being with kids and seeing the problem from a different perspective," he said, "trying to understand the drug culture, the impact of the drug culture and our responsibility for creating this culture."
After all these years of grinding, heartbreaking work came the great success of "The Wire."

And with that success came something else. In a NYT story about Burns, his work and life, and about his new miniseries, "Generation Kill" (once again done in collaboration with David Simon), concerning a group of marines in Iraq and which premieres next week, we learn what that something else is:
Mr. Burns said he was surprised by all the attention "The Wire" received from policymakers who were piqued by the show’s gritty civics lessons — the very sort of people, he said, who more or less ignored him when he worked in the public sector.

"The irony is that you have to be somebody before anybody listens to you," he said. "I wasn’t an expert when I was an expert, and now that I’m not an expert, I’m an expert. It’s kind of curious."
And there, in brief, you have one of the major keys to the corrupt establishments that run every area of life in America. No one will listen to you, even (more often, especially) if you are genuinely informed and perceptive about the area in which you work, until and unless the system has determined you are "somebody." And that determination will never be granted by the system you so passionately wish to improve, for systems resist nothing so much as change. The more fundamental the change, the greater the resistance. But once those mysterious Important People in some other system have placed the crown of Somebodiness on your head, then those in charge of the system in which you previously worked will listen to what you have to say.

"Curious" is one word for it. Others come to mind.

I've written about this phenomenon in a number of articles, including one concerning the field of foreign policy ("How the Foreign Policy Consensus Protects Itself"), and one about related more general issues ("'Regrettable Misjudgments': The Shocking Immorality of Our Constricted Thought").

The Times article concludes:
He considered the often bleak worldview of "The Wire," with its overarching theme that no matter what a person does, it will never be enough to stop the city from grinding over him. "I’m not a fatalist," he said. "I’m very optimistic. In America, before we notice things, things have to become bad."
But how bad, Mr. Burns? Aren't we there yet?

It would appear not. That is indeed unfortunate.

July 05, 2008

Honey, Don't We Have Bigger Scotch Glasses? Much Bigger?

I reprint this entry from Kathryn Jean Lopez in its entirety because...well, because. If I didn't, you'd think I was fibbing or inventing it completely, or cutting it to make it sound silly. Having met you before, who knows what you might think. K-Lo imparteth much wisdom:
re: Civics [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

A totally crazy Saturday-morning thought: Wouldn't George W. Bush make an awesome high-school government teacher? Wouldn't it be something if his post-presidential life would [sic] up being that kind of post-service service? How's that for a model? Who needs Harvard visiting chairs and high-end lectures? How about Crawford High? (Or wherever?) Reach out and touch the young before they are jaded, or break them of the cynicism pop culture and possibly their parents have passed down to them. Whatever you think of President Bush, he's a likable guy in love with his country with some history and experience to share.

Like I said, crazy. Saturday. Have a good one.
Now, I myself don't think that Ms. L. uses "crazy" in the sense of batshit fu--, oh, you know. No, it would appear she means "crazy" as in, "extremely unlikely to happen." That's an error right there. Clearly, it's the first meaning that is absolutely required here.

George W. as "an awesome high-school government teacher." What is this "history and experience" that he will "share" with these impressionable teenagers, as he will "[r]each out and touch the young before they are jaded"? (I recommend that you not dwell on the "reach out and touch" part of that. I suffered a momentary lapse of attention and did just that, and I'm still cleaning up the mess.) What precisely would Mr. Bush teach in his government class? Hmm...well...

How to annihilate the Constitution and destroy individual liberties altogether? How to obliterate crucial constitutional principles such as...oh, let me see, let's pull one out of thin air, shall we?...such as separation of powers? How to lead the country into a genocidal, criminal war of aggression? How to make torture an explicit, systematic part of warfare as conducted by the United States?

"Awesome." Yes, indeed. None of that will cause these innocent lambs to become "jaded" in the least. Oh, no.

You will note that we refrain from mentioning or even alluding to various and numerous reports of Mr. Bush's own travels off the path of respectability and decorum in his youth. We refrain, because we are respectable. (That mention of said reports doesn't count as alluding. No, it doesn't. No, it does not. Go away.) But we do hope you will feel free to revive and widely publicize all such reports in connection with Ms. Lopez's "crazy Saturday-morning thought." What fun George W. might have with these high schoolers! What wonderful reading when the arrest reports hit the internet! I actually might come to like this idea, after all.

Nonetheless, it remains the immutable fact that K-Lo's post is batshit, fucking insane. Now, where did I come in? Oh, yes.

Honey, don't we have bigger scotch glasses? Much bigger?

Further into the Quagmire, with Field Marshall Obama

I've cited Mike Whitney's analyses of the U.S.'s ongoing economic collapse a few times; see "When the Pretense and the Lies Unravel," and the Update to this entry.

I continue to discover more and more value in Whitney's writing (and I had always found a great deal), and he has thankfully expanded his subject matter over the last several months, and now discusses foreign policy. His latest piece is a truly devastating description of the catastrophe of Afghanistan. I strongly recommend that you read the article in its entirety. Here a few highlights.

About the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and its extraordinarily dire results:
Afghanistan was supposed to be the "good war"; a "just response" to the attacks of September 11. It was supposed to bring Bin Laden to justice "dead or alive" and quash terrorism wherever it originated. 95 per cent of the American people supported the invasion of Afghanistan. Now less than half think the U.S. will prevail. The war was promoted as a way to replace a repressive fundamentalist regime with a democratic government based on western values. The Bush administration promised to rebuild war-torn Afghanistan, transform its feudal system into a free market economy, and liberate its women from the oppression of Islamic extremism.

It was all hogwash. None of the promises have been kept and none of the goals have been achieved. Besides, war isn't an instrument for positive social change; it's about killing people and blowing up things. Dolling-up military aggression as "preemption" can work for a while, but eventually the truth comes out. Democracy and modernity don't come from the barrel of a gun.

Far from being the "good war", Afghanistan has turned out to be a brutal war of revenge. Three decades of fighting has left the country in ruins and the violence is only getting worse. As victory becomes more elusive, the US has stepped up its bombing campaign making 2008 the most deadly year on record. Civilian casualties have skyrocketed and millions of Afghans have become refugees. At the same time, the Taliban have regrouped and taken over strategically vital areas in the south disrupting US supply lines from Pakistan.


The situation on the ground is hopeless; there is no light in the tunnel. Author Anatol Lieven put it like this in an article in the Financial Times, "The Dream of Afghan Democracy is Dead": "The first step in rethinking Afghan strategy is to think seriously about the lessons of a recent opinion survey of ordinary Taliban fighters commissioned by the Toronto Globe and Mail. Two results are striking: the widespread lack of any strong expression of allegiance to Mullah Omar and the Taliban leadership; and the reasons given by most for joining the Taliban -- namely, the presence of western troops in Afghanistan. The deaths of relatives or neighbors at the hands of those forces was also stated by many as a motive. This raises the question of whether Afghanistan is not becoming a sort of surreal hunting estate, in which the US and Nato breed the very "terrorists" they then track down. "

Lieven is right. The occupation and the careless killing of civilians has only strengthened the Taliban and swollen their ranks. The US has lost the struggle for hearts and minds and they don't have the troops to establish security. The mission has failed; the Afghan people have grown tired of foreign occupation and support on the homefront is rapidly eroding. The US is just digging a deeper hole by staying.

By every objective standard, conditions are worse now than they were before the invasion in 2001.


The situation is dire and it's forcing Bush to decide whether to shift more troops from Iraq or face growing resistance in Afghanistan. Meanwhile the violence is spreading and combat deaths are on the rise. Pentagon chieftains now believe they can only defeat the Taliban by striking at bases in Pakistan, a reckless plan that could inflame passions in Pakistan and trigger a regional conflict. Gradually, the US is being lured into a bigger quagmire.
And about the Democratic nominee for president:
Presidential candidate Barack Obama, "The Peace Candidate", supports a stronger commitment to the war in Afghanistan and has proposed "sending at least two additional combat brigades -- or 7,000 to 10,000 troops -- to Afghanistan, while deploying more Special Operations forces to the Afghan-Pakistan border. He has also proposed increasing non-military aid to Afghanistan by at least $1 billion per year." (Wall Street Journal) Obama, backed by Brzezinski and other Clinton foreign policy advisers, has focussed his attention on the "war on terror", that dismal public relations coup which conceals America's desire to become a major player in the Great Game, the battle for supremacy on the Asian continent. Obama appears to be even more eager to repeat history than his opponent, John McCain.

In November, voters will be asked to pick one of the two pro-war candidates. McCain has made his position clear; his focus is on Iraq. Now it is up to Obama to point out why it's more acceptable to kill a man who is fighting for his country in Afghanistan than it is in Iraq. If he can't answer that question, then he deserves to lose.
Read the whole article.

July 04, 2008

Oh, Arthur, You're Just Crazy!

So said many people in response to this. I answered some of their objections here, particularly in the Update.

Yeah, I'm completely nuts. After all, it's not as if we're talking about a charismatic leader who addresses many tens of thousands of adoring followers in a huge stadium. It's not as if those followers' worshipful dedication to their chosen leader causes them to fall into a trance devoid of all capacity to examine the nature of their leader and his program in a dispassionate, objective manner. It's not as if we'll be treated to the sights and sounds of tens of thousands of followers cheering and screaming, so that the followers become molded into a single overwhelming mass of humanity, or that the spectacle and mind-obliterating sound will destroy the capacity of thought itself.

It's certainly not as if the charismatic leader is in love with the massive powers of an authoritarian-surveillance state and seeks more and more executive power. It's not as if the leader embraces a foreign policy of repeated aggressive, non-defensive war against nations that do not threaten us. It's not as if the leader promises fundamental, all-embracing transformation or that he claims to be ""changing the very nature of politics," all supposedly by means of peaceful revolution.

Well, it's not exactly like any of that. Do note the picture.

I'm just crazy. Besides, and despite the very large number of essays I've written examining the uniquely monumental evil of racism, many now claim that I'm also a racist.

Obviously, you shouldn't listen to a word I say.

July 03, 2008

Are You Now or Have You Ever Been...a Racist?

[Update added at the conclusion.]

Racism is the greatest evil in the history of the United States. From the bloody slaughter of almost all Native Americans over a very long period of time, to the importation and enslavement of millions of blacks over several centuries, on through a century of "legal" segregation in the South and rigid but slightly less formalized segregation in the rest of the country, to the vicious racism directed at successive waves of immigrants, to the racism that has been a foundational element of U.S. foreign policy for more than a hundred years, unreasoning hatred of "The Other" has destroyed a horrifying number of lives, and it has grossly corrupted the political, social and cultural life of America.

Yet the prevailing story of America -- or, to be accurate, the prevailing myth of America -- sweeps all of this aside. The denial of the significance and the huge reach and unending implications of this great evil is all but complete. This is because our national discussion, such as it is, is conducted on suffocatingly narrow terms set by the ruling class. That ruling class is a white ruling class, which remains entirely convinced of its inherent superiority to all other races in the world, just as it is convinced that the specifically American form of government is the "most perfect" ever to be devised, and that will ever be devised.

Because people often do not follow links, I take the liberty of repeating the introduction to my essay, "The Mythology of the 'Good Guy' American." The major part of that article dealt with the unforgivably murderous U.S. occupation of the Philippines at the beginning of the twentieth century. In establishing the overall context for that particular history, I wrote:
In a number of essays, I've discussed the mythology about America and Americans that the great majority of people unthinkingly accept. Most recently, I analyzed this mythology with regard to the history of United States foreign policy, in the second part of this series.

As I described it in that piece, "Why the Stories We Tell Matter So Much," our national mythology sees the United States as uniquely successful in world history. We see our success, and our power on the world stage, as inherently tied to superior moral virtue. We are so successful because we are uniquely virtuous, and our national power confirms our morality, in relation to which all other peoples and all other countries can only suffer in comparison. One of the many dangerous and inevitable consequences of this view is an often virulent racism that has been reflected in our treatment of many very numerous groups of people: the Native Americans, the slaves who were brought here and were an integral part of the new country's economy, Germans in World War I (German-Americans were the "scum of the melting pot," who now needed to be gotten "rid of"), the Japanese in World War II (the "yellow Japs," who were "regularly compared" to "monkeys, baboons, and gorillas"), and a number of other foreigners and immigrants. Very recently, we witnessed the sickening spectacle of this atavistic racism unleashed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

I expressed the relevant part of this national mythology as follows:
In the most extreme (and, one could argue, most consistent) version of this tale, non-Western parts of the world are less than human -- and they are subhuman by choice. They are immoral, and sometimes even evil. Since we represent the good and they represent the evil, we are surely entitled to improve them, by invasion and bombing if necessary. If they do not threaten us today, they might at some indeterminate time in the future. And while we might kill many innocent civilians in our campaign of civilization, those who survive will be infinitely better off than they would have been otherwise. Besides, how "innocent" can any of them be -- since they are members of inferior, less than fully human civilizations, and since they are so by choice?
One point is crucial: a critical part of our national mythology is the insistence on viewing our nation and ourselves as Americans in comparative terms. When we insist that we are uniquely "good" and "virtuous," this logically necessitates a further conclusion: we are better than everyone else. We are "the Good Guys." The emphasis is not only on "Good," but on "the": we are the Good Guys in a way that no one else is, or can ever be.
Just recently, I discussed still another of the numerous distorted and distorting perspectives that result from this insistence on Americans' "unique" goodness. Part of the official story of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s -- that is, the official story from the white point of view -- is that America recognized in meaningful terms how reprehensible and detestable parts of its own history had been on this question and, in a further demonstration of our "goodness," we set about to rectify these grave wrongs with diligence and dedication.

Except that's not what happened. As I wrote in the second part of "Enchanted Evenings -- and Days, and Lives, in Hell":
With rare exceptions, White and Black America occupied entirely different spaces, geographically, culturally, economically and psychologically. One of the results of these different spaces is the profoundly opposed views of America and of American history discussed by Tim Wise, excerpted in "Obama's Whitewash." The violence unleashed in the civil rights upheaval of the 1950s and 1960s was inevitable; in retrospect (and for perceptive observers at the time), it was remarkable only for its restraint. One of the primary reasons for the violence, and a large part of the explanation as to why a sustained, massive movement encompassing millions of people was required to achieve those changes that resulted, lies in the nature of that white "kindness to Negroes." Whites in America, including those whites who exclusively made up the ruling class, were prepared to be "kind" -- but only to the extent they absolutely had to. Equality was not granted, to the extent it was, primarily in recognition of an unspeakable, deadly injustice that whites had committed, although a few whites were aware of that. For the most part, equality was granted, to the extent it was, because the cost for failing to do so had become prohibitive.
That's what happened.

In that same essay, I went on to discuss how the Obama candidacy is further proof of my general argument:
The Obama campaign is a major piece of evidence supporting the truth of these observations, and it tragically reveals how short is the distance we have traveled, and how far we have yet to go. I have written in many essays about how Obama has adopted every attitude, every argument, every cultural signifier of the white ruling class; see "Obama's Whitewash," "The Triumph of the White, Male Ruling Class," "Moving on Up, to the White Side," and the essays linked therein for much more on that. But I confess I find it immensely difficult to describe accurately or completely the surreal quality of the Obama campaign. Everyone comments on the historic significance of a Black American who may be the next president. On the most superficial level, it is certainly historic, and I would not argue that it is entirely unimportant. At the same time, it is astonishing that almost no one notes the myriad ways in which Obama has transformed himself into a white candidate in everything but skin color. Yet on a deeper level, none of this is surprising: it is only another of thousands of examples of the superficiality and triviality of what passes for our national discussion, a subject I've discussed here and here. Still, I had not expected to see "passing for white" dramatized in exactly this manner, or on this scale.
One of my ongoing themes is the steady diet of lies found at the heart of American culture; see the opening quotation of "Obama's Whitewash" for a brief summary of the problem. Because the unending ravages of racism constitute the great evil in our history, and in our present, the lies about racism are the greatest in number, and the most comprehensive.

So now we have our first Black presidential candidate, one who may very well be the next president of the United States. In the context of this miasma of lies about racism, almost no one will tell the truth about Obama and what he stands for. (I should say what he appears to stand for; it tends to change from day to day, and hour to hour, but the overall meaning of his policies is unmistakable: like almost every politician of national prominence, he stands for the authoritarian-corporatist state at home, and for endless wars of aggression and other interventions overseas. In short: he stands for the white status quo.) Margaret Kimberley and the people at Black Agenda Report tell the truth, as do Chris Floyd and James Benjamin. I try to, and certainly there are others. But not very many others. If you dare to point out, as I have repeatedly, that Obama has adopted every critical view and policy of the white ruling class, you are accused of being a racist.

At this point, it is crucial to make a few facts absolutely clear. The worst accusation that can be made about someone who engages in political debate and discussion in this country is that he or she is a racist. This is not a disagreement, even a vehement one, about a specific view on a specific subject: it is, and is meant to be, an attack on the person as a person. If the accusation is believed, it means the accused is profoundly, unforgivably immoral and loathsome. It further means that nothing the person might say is to be treated with any degree of seriousness. The accusation of racism is designed to shut the person up, to shut him down, to obliterate him entirely and to eliminate him from all consideration. The purpose is the total and absolute destruction of the person so accused.

If the majority of Americans had even a casual acquaintance with the truth, our sensitivity to the charge of racism and the frequency with which we deploy it might be a good thing. As I have said, and as I have written in many, many essays, racism is a singularly immense evil, one that encompasses a host of lesser evils, many of which are also lethal. But in the context of the unending lies we tell ourselves about ourselves and our own history, many of the charges of racism are nothing more than smears. I will acknowledge that the Obama campaign and many of Obama's supporters have happened upon a spectacularly effective strategy: with a minimum of effort, almost any criticism of Obama can be turned into an accusation of racism against the person offering the criticism. This not only deflects all attention from the criticism itself: it demonizes the critic, and removes him from all future debate. I don't think Obama and his strategists are intelligent enough to have figured out all the complex reasons that make this strategy work so well. I think they've stumbled upon it in the way most politicians conduct their careers: they are shrewd and clever, they sense where the opponent's weakness is, and they are especially sensitive to blood in the water. None of this is true intelligence. It's politics, perhaps politics very well-executed, but just politics. True intelligence doesn't enter into it.

There is a further point about the smears charging racism, and it is vital that this issue in particular be appreciated. In many articles, I've discussed the mechanisms by which Americans desperately seek to convince themselves of their inherent superiority, of their "unique" goodness. In the current campaign, that is precisely what the constant charges of racism are: a way for those making the accusations to convince themselves that they are genuinely good, that they of course are not racists, that they are enlightened and noble. But when the charge of racism is leveled in the absence of evidence, or contrary to most or even all of the relevant and available evidence, the smear accomplishes none of those things. It reveals something else, something very different: the baseless charge of racism reveals that the person making the smear is simply a vicious, disgusting liar.

In part, I have written this because a number of people have accused me of racism this week. I will not link to any of those posts; if the matter interests you, you can find them on your own. There are quite a few of them now. I expected it, so I'm hardly surprised. Still, I had not appreciated the number and comprehensiveness of the lies these despicable people would employ. They are considerably more sickening than I had thought, and I had already thought they were quite remarkably disgusting. But in offering these thoughts, I wanted to make these more general observations. I hope some of them may be helpful to others who are so unjustly accused in the same manner.

In addition to the essays linked above, I've written many others about the evils of racism. But since people tend not to follow links, I'm not going to list them here. Again, if the subject is of concern to you -- and if you are interested in what I have actually said on this subject -- you will find them by following the links above. All of those articles contain links to still other posts.

I will make one final point. It is indisputable that those who traffic in unsupported, baseless charges of racism are not concerned with the truth in the slightest degree. The pathetic truth is that they attack those who offer accurate assessments of Obama because those who reveal the fact that Obama stands only for the status quo -- the white status quo -- are interfering with their plans for electoral victory. That's the sum of their concerns. There is an obvious question about victory which can only purchased by the payment of lies and what such a victory is worth. Beyond this, one might wonder why they are so desperate to see a man elected who represents no change at all, and who accepts conventional wisdom and establishment views on every matter of importance. It appears that, in many cases, they wish to see a Black American president -- simply because he is Black, and simply because he's a member of their political tribe. You can be certain they would not extend the same consideration to a J.C. Watts, for example.

For this, too, is where we are in America today. Not only is truth the enemy, but we live in a world of the most superficial of appearances. Completely empty symbolism -- symbolism stripped of all meaning and of every connection to fact -- is what motivates such people. Rigorous thought and analysis and seriousness of purpose can find no place in this view of the world. These people live only on the surfaces of things, and they are not living or thinking to any measurable extent. The surfaces where they barely exist are those determined by others who came before, and they are entirely covered with lies. The images constantly flicker and are gone, to be replaced by other lies, which will also disappear almost immediately. There is no past and no future, and the present is stripped of all those elements that give life meaning and purpose. Some of us do not choose to live this way. If the accusers were not vicious in such an ugly manner, and if they did not lie so consistently, I would almost feel sorry for them. As it is, their irresponsibility and carelessness, and the zeal with which they seek to destroy others, are entirely unforgivable and completely disgusting.

After this explanation, I hope you will permit me a somewhat more informal response. For all those who accuse me of racism, I have this suggestion: read just two or three of the essays cited above. Actually read and try to understand them. And until you do, shut the fuck up.

UPDATE: To head off a standard line of criticism of posts of this kind, I should note that, of course, there are those Americans who are genuinely racist, and who will never vote for a Black president. I've mentioned before that I think there are quite a lot of them, certainly more than will admit to it, and that such Americans may even be determinative in this election.

Those who attack me and others who try to tell the truth about Obama and what his policies are in fact and what he stands for, and who attack us by calling us racists when there is no evidence at all to support the charge and a huge amount of evidence demonstrating the opposite, might consider how they dilute the charge by wasting it on targets that do not merit it. To the degree these smearers are concerned with the truth (which, I grant, can only be measured on the subatomic scale), they are only making their efforts to elect Obama that much less likely to succeed. When enough people understand that the charge of racism is frequently directed at people who are obviously not racists, and when they further understand that the charge is employed only to end all serious examination of Obama, they will cease to believe the charge at all -- even when it is directed at people who are racists.

But to understand this, the smearers would have to think and plan ahead. As discussed above, such people live only in the present moment, and they barely manage that. Analysis and understanding of this kind are entirely beyond them. In this manner, they work against their own proclaimed purposes, and they may fatally undermine their own efforts.

Habitually dishonest, criminally irresponsible and ineffective. An impressive group, those who traffic in baseless smears. Occasionally, there is some small degree of justice in the world.

July 01, 2008

I Completely Forgot I Had Said That

I just happened to reread "The Depravity of Empire," an essay I wrote in late September of last year. I don't think I've ever reread it in its entirety until this evening.

For reasons which will become all too horribly apparent, the following passage leapt out at me with considerable force. I had just excerpted a newspaper article describing the Senate's approval of "a resolution ... urging the Bush administration to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization." I then wrote:
You have to hand it to the Washington Democrats and those commentators and bloggers who continue to shill for them. The Democrats count on the American public and their lobotomized lapdogs not to remember significant events from one week to the next -- and the Democrats' enablers willingly render themselves deaf, dumb and blind. The Democrats first put on a phony show of aggressively questioning Petraeus and doubting his propagandistic claims, and very shortly thereafter they rely on Petraeus's lies to set the stage for World War III.

I almost admire the Democrats' defenders in a certain way. The Democrats stab them deep in the gut and, while the knife is disemboweling them, the Democrats continue to lie in their agony-ridden faces -- and the victims still tell these bastards they will continue to support them. This collection of subhumans give sado-masochists a bad name. The commitment to cruelty, self-abasement and self-humiliation is all but perfect. It's no wonder they can regard one genocide after another with equanimity. It appears none of these people has a conscience any longer to be troubled in the smallest degree.

I will not go over the significance of the Revolutionary Guard amendment. I went over that ground in detail in "The Worsening Nightmare." Let it be noted that, if and when World War III destroys much of the world and the comfortable, ignorance-ridden lives of many Americans, neither the Democrats nor their defenders should look to any remotely civilized person for forgiveness. It will not be forthcoming.
We can only thank God that the Democrats and their servile defenders learned their lesson, even if it was at the very last moment, before it was finally too late.


Thinking Ahead (if you can, if you dare...)

[Please see the Update at the end.]

Scene: Berlin, 1932. Josef Schmoe and Other Funny Named Dude sit on a park bench, each reading a newspaper, each munching his mid-morning strudel. After a few moments, Josef speaks.

Josef Schmoe (gesturing at a story in his paper): So, I've been looking over the candidates for this election. I dunno about this guy. He looks like a bad one to me. Why, he might be another Hitler!

Other Funny Named Dude: (looks very puzzled for a moment or two) Um, another Hitler? Was there one before?

Josef Schmoe: What? What are you talking about, Other Funny Named Dude? I just mean he might be really, really dangerous. You know, another Hitler!

Other Funny Named Dude: (after a few moments of silence) Okay, look, I'm not trying to start an argument, Josef, but I don't get it. If there wasn't a Hitler before, how can he be another one?

Josef Schmoe: (beginning to yell) Why are you so stupid? Everyone knows what that expression means! He might...well, he might kill lots of people! He might send people off to prison camps or something! He might drag us into another war! Another war, can you believe it? Like our lives don't suck enough.

Other Funny Named Dude: Yeah, I know he said some crazy stuff in that book he wrote. At least, that's what someone told me. I don't bother reading stuff like that myself. This other guy, he told me that if I read some history and philosophy and other boring crap, like I'm going to do that, right, I might understand more about how dangerous our situation is right now. Yeah, it is pretty sucky, but I don't actually see that it's all that dangerous. I mean, here we are, sitting in the park, reading our papers, eating our strudel. How bad can it be? Besides, he probably doesn't mean any of those things he says. He just says them because he wants to get elected. That's what they all do.

Josef Schmoe: (through clenched teeth, his patience gone) Why do you refuse to understand? It is that dangerous. And it will be even more dangerous if this guy gets elected. Try to get this through your thick skull, Other Funny Named Dude: he might be another Hitler!

Other Funny Named Dude: But how --

Josef Schmoe: ANOTHER HITLER!! End of story. DAS ENDE. (Josef angrily rolls up his newspaper. For a moment, it appears he might hit Other Funny Named Dude with it. Finally, with a loud grunt of disgust, Josef stomps off down the path, deeper into the park.)

I am loath to state the obvious, but the vanishing mental faculties of most Americans appear to make it necessary. Let me put it in terms you might relate to: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition. No one expects a Hitler -- except for a very few people, and there were such people in Germany in the early 1930s, who study politics, culture and many other subjects with great care, and who understand "the motion, that is, of history, not the reports of single events or developments." Monsters do not announce themselves as monsters in advance. Of necessity, they announce themselves in radically different terms.

If you want to read some actual history of Germany in the early 1930s, as opposed to the unforgivably inaccurate and distorted false history offered by certain leading progressive bloggers, please read Chris Floyd (and please ignore his wonderfully and foolishly overgenerous comments about me).

And here is some more actual history from the same period. From my essay, "Thus the World Was Lost," a few excerpts from Martin Mayer's book, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45:
"Yes," said my colleague, shaking his head, "the 'excesses' and the 'radicals.' We all opposed them, very quietly. So your two 'little men' thought they must join, as good men, good Germans, even as good Christians, and when enough of them did they would be able to change the party. They would 'bore from within.' 'Big men' told themselves that, too, in the usual sincerity that required them only to abandon one little principle after another, to throw away, little by little, all that was good. I was one of those men.

"You know," he went on, "when men who understand what is happening--the motion, that is, of history, not the reports of single events or developments--when such men do not object or protest, men who do not understand cannot be expected to. How many men would you say understand--in this sense--in America? And when, as the motion of history accelerates and those who don't understand are crazed by fear, as our people were, and made into a great 'patriotic' mob, will they understand then, when they did not before?

"We learned here--I say this freely--to give up trying to make them understand after, oh, the end of 1938, after the night of the synagogue burning and the things that followed it. Even before the war began, men who were teachers, men whose faith in teaching was their whole faith, gave up, seeing that there was no comprehension, no capacity left for comprehension, and the thing must go its course, taking first its victims, then its architects, and then the rest of us to destruction. ..."


"For the sake of argument," he said, "I will agree that I saved many lives later on. Yes."

"Which you could not have done if you had refused to take the oath in 1935."


"And you still think that you should not have taken the oath."


"I don't understand," I said.

"Perhaps not," he said, "but you must not forget that you are an American. I mean that, really. Americans have never known anything like this this experience--in its entirety, all the way to the end. That is the point."

"You must explain," I said.

"Of course I must explain. First of all, there is the problem of the lesser evil. Taking the oath was not so evil as being unable to help my friends later on would have been. But the evil of the oath was certain and immediate, and the helping of my friends was in the future and therefore uncertain. I had to commit a positive evil, there and then, in the hope of a possible good later on. The good outweighed the evil; but the good was only a hope, the evil was a fact."


"And it would have been better to have saved all three million, instead of only a hundred, or a thousand?"

"Of course."

"There, then, is my point. If I had refused to take the oath of fidelity, I would have saved all three millions."

"You are joking," I said.


"You don't mean to tell me that your refusal would have overthrown the regime in 1935?"


"Or that others would have followed your example?"


"I don't understand."

"You are an American," he said again, smiling. "I will explain. There I was, in 1935, a perfect example of the kind of person who, with all his advantages in birth, in education, and in position, rules (or might easily rule) in any country. If I had refused to take the oath in 1935, it would have meant that thousands and thousands like me, all over Germany, were refusing to take it. Their refusal would have heartened millions. Thus the regime would have been overthrown, or, indeed, would never have come to power in the first place. The fact that I was not prepared to resist, in 1935, meant that all the thousands, hundreds of thousands, like me in Germany were also unprepared, and each one of these hundreds of thousands was, like me, a man of great influence or of great potential influence. Thus the world was lost."

"You are serious?" I said.

"Completely," he said. "These hundred lives I saved--or a thousand or ten as you will--what do they represent? A little something out of the whole terrible evil, when, if my faith had been strong enough in 1935, I could have prevented the whole evil."
[If you've been following along, this is obviously a partial response to some commentary and emails I've seen about this earlier post.]

UPDATE: I've decided to take pity on some readers and other bloggers. I was going to let them flail around and make fools of themselves for another day or two, but I will answer the question that appears to be troubling them so deeply that it deprives them of sleep, renders them devoid of appetites of every kind, and makes them unfit for all human company.

"But, Arthur," I am asked repeatedly, "do you really think Obama is another Hitler? Obama a Hitler? Arthur, have you gone completely insane? Are you on drugs? What is wrong with you?"

Nothing whatsoever is wrong with me. Forgive my rudeness, if you can, but the basic problem is that some of you haven't learned certain rudiments of reading and thinking. As I have indicated, I will have much more on the general topic of the Obama "movement" in the future, but here is my answer in brief.

No need for straitjackets. NO, I do NOT think Obama is Hitler reincarnated. I must note, however, that his full embrace of the U.S.'s truly insane foreign policy of aggressive, non-defensive war is not precisely unHitlerian, just as his full embrace of corporatism bears a rather disturbing resemblance to aspects of Hitler's political program. But the same could be said of every major American politician.

With regard to Obama in particular, what I have been getting at are very broad cultural and political dynamics, general patterns that repeat throughout history, assuming one studies and understands history. So, no, Obama is not a Hitler duplicate, but, to a readily noticeable and troubling extent, he is someone riding a similar kind of cultural wave and response, and he may well use an already existing authoritarian-surveillance state that repeatedly engages in aggressive war to wreak great destruction both at home and abroad. The unthinking, unquestioning idolatry heaped on Obama by many of his followers only increases the danger; as I have stated, this additional factor is a very significant one to me.

I realize that readers come and go, and that many recent visitors have not read most of my earlier essays. But if you look through the archives for just the last two or three months, you will find many articles that explain all of these issues in considerable detail. I have no intention of repeating my full arguments here, as I have explained them at some length. (People complain that my essays are too long, and then they criticize me for saying things I have never said and intending conclusions I have never intended. Sometimes, you just can't win.)

I'll leave it there for now. Yes, I am extremely irritated by much of the discussion about these recent posts. It appears I've been writing in a language that only five other people understand. Either I'm a much more terrible writer than I ever suspected (please don't feel an overwhelming need to write to tell me how true that is), or a lot of you are much poorer at analytic thinking than I ever believed, or would prefer to believe.

I think I'll take a day or two off. If I decide my skills as a writer are not altogether abysmal, I'll be back toward the end of the week.

And Much Hilarity Ensued

This campaign may turn out to be much, much funnier than I had anticipated:
Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and - in a move sure to cause controversy - support their ability to hire and fire based on faith. [See additional comment in brackets immediately below.]

Obama was unveiling his approach to getting religious charities more involved in government anti-poverty programs during a tour and remarks Tuesday at Eastside Community Ministry in Zanesville, Ohio.


But Obama's support for letting religious charities that receive federal funding consider religion in employment decisions was likely to invite a storm of protest from those who view such faith requirements as discrimination. [Hahaha! Ya think?] [This point regarding employment decisions appears to be inaccurate -- which doesn't alter the fact that this kind of program is terrible for numerous reasons, just as it does not alter any of my other points below.]

David Kuo, a conservative Christian who was deputy director of Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives until 2003 and later became a critic of Bush's commitment to the cause, said Obama's position has the potential to be a major "Sister Souljah moment" for his campaign.


Obama proposes to elevate the program to a "moral center" of his administration, by renaming it the Office of Community and Faith-Based Partnerships, and changing training from occasional huge conferences to empowering larger religious charities to mentor smaller ones in their communities.
A "moral center" of his administration.

Well, fuck me. Gosh, I'm sorry. Did that slip out?

More to the point: Obama will obviously screw every single person and constituency that has ever supported him, that supports him now or that will ever support him -- and he will do so in an especially blatant, in-your-face manner -- if he believes it will be to his political advantage. And he knows they'll continue to support him anyway: "So what're you gonna do, vote Republican? Come on! Come on, you're not gonna vote Republican!" Still worse: I have no doubt at all that he sincerely believes all the religious crap he's peddling. If that doesn't worry you, especially after the Bush years of God and Glory America, I doubt that anything will make you question The Faith According to Barack.

Without forgetting my much more serious concerns, I think there might be a lot of entertainment to be found in this campaign. Who's Obama going to screw next, and just how badly will he humiliate them? Maybe a new slogan, to replace the already exhausted hopey, changey thing: "Barack will fuck you over -- and he'll make you LOVE it!"

It definitely has possibilities.

Good stuff! Thanks, you jerk.