The fact that no group of disaffected Washington insiders have even attempted to form a centrist third party is, in itself, a pretty strong argument that all the insiders already know the game is rigged. There’s no chance of a moderate third party gaining significant support anymore. The time was ripe, even just a few years ago, but as this article about the decline of the Blue Dog Democrats — the conservative wing of the Democratic party — points out, voters are voting out moderates.
There is an element of irony to this; the Blue Dog’s centrism was directly responsible for the toning down of some of the most progressive aspects of the original House version of the Affordable Care Act (AKA healthcare reform) and the elimination of the “public option.” Republican and moderate voters rewarded their centrism by voting them out. Despite some of these members’ popularity, the Democratic brand in their districts had been too tainted.
As the first commenter on the above article mentions, the same is true of moderate Republicans. Moderates on both sides of the aisle are being ostracized by their parties and shunned by voters (partially as the result of decreased financial support from the party apparatus, which means less TV ads).
Cast out of their jobs and their respective parties these wandering politicians and their staff would no doubt commiserate at the bar and start unifying into a cohesive new political force, right?
Wrong. There has been no serious attempt at centrist third party and it’s really suspicious that there has not been one. The idea is so obvious that you have to wonder if the insiders are afraid of something. Instead of the natural fractioning and reassembly of a multi-party system we are watching the two parties get more extreme and less able to agree on anything (except their mutual preference for a two-party system), so it leaves us with a completely deadlocked Congress. Voters on both sides thought the solution to the financial crisis was to swing the ship of state to their side, but in the end we just kept going straight. The so-called “super-committee” set up to shave trillions off our debt failed, just as it was designed to do. The rocky shoreline is now dead-ahead.
Who can turn this ship? Obama? No, he has no real power. With a completely deadlocked Congress the president is rather impotent. Any radical solutions on Obama’s part will be crushed with fervor by the right and with meekness by the paid-for left. The number of uncorrupt, intelligent and generally decent congress-critters probably numbers less than 100. The other 435+ will simply outvote the patriots and the zombie system will continue on its merry way towards the threatening shoals.
I wrote earlier that the chance of forming a third party to rebut the extremism of both parties is now zero. That’s for two reasons: First, the jagged shores are too close and second, the Occupy Wall Street has already claimed the political center and simultaneously radicalized it.
I must admit, I’m delighted by the movement’s acceptance by the mainstream population. Around 70% approve of or don’t mind the protesters nationally and 87% of New Yorkers are okay with their branch of Occupy Together. That’s a fantastic number for a protest group, and the weasel-faced party apparatchiks in Washington have surely taken notice by now. There must be a barely-controlled sense of panic in their hearts as they notice that OWS is out-polling Obama, either party, Congress (which recently came in at a laughable 9% approval rate) or basically any other institution like journalism, banks or the Supreme Court.
Despite the general perception that Occupy Wall Street is a leftist group, most of the people actually camping out are political independents. That means they either don’t vote because they think it’s rigged or they vote mostly third party and for the occasional mainstream politician who has won their support. Barack Obama was that candidate in 2008; can he be the one again in 2012? Things look doubtful, but Obama has wisely positioned himself near the group that is, essentially, more popular than he is. Will that lead to a more radical campaign platform, even one featuring bold, but practical solutions to the problems we face?
Anything is possible, but the conventional wisdom says … what? What does the conventional wisdom say we should do in a time like this?
There isn’t any “conventional” wisdom for these unconventional times. And any attempt at forming a moderate coalition will be crushed by the two-party apparatus — the only time they work in unison is when the two party system is threatened.
Humanity is facing a triple crisis: The most powerful nation is politically deadlocked and fading fast, the world’s economy is deeply sick and appears to be close to slipping into a coma from which it can never fully return, and the planet’s environment is calling out in pain and metamorphosing at an alarming rate. We are changing, but into what?
Maybe we should take a look at the birth-place of civilization as we contemplate its demise. In Egypt, there is hope.
First Egypt united to overthrew their rancid dictator in-all-but-name Hosni Mubarak, and now they have wisely and quickly sniffed out Field Marshal Tantawi’s attempts to subvert the transition to democracy by grabbing more power for the military. The people are back in Tahrir Square, protesting and dying for their freedom. It is heartening to see such a brave stand for democracy in Egypt, something we haven’t seen in America in a long, long time. But the Occupy Wall Street movement is borrowing the energy and idealism of the people of Egypt — and Syria and Tunisia and Yemen and even Israel! There are tent cities springing up all over the tiny state as its economy is squeezed by the global crunch.
We are in global revolution territory, folks.
The Occupy Together website shows just how global the movement really is. There are activities happening on every continent. There’s even an Occupy Antactica. Seriously.
As usual, the politicians are way behind the people. I’m not sure how much time is left before the 3 major crises’ Rubicons are reached, but somebody needs to do something before it’s too late. I don’t expect the current economic system to survive 2012. It might not even survive 2011 with the way things look in Europe. Every major economy is running on fumes, even China’s. We now stare down the precipice of complete and total collapse.
The powerlessness of Obama’s office notwithstanding, it is still an important center of symbolism in America. If he can find a way to tap into the Occupy Wall Street anger to effect real change in Washington it could be the trigger that’s needed to unleash the new world. The old economic system has to die, and politics-as-usual has to find a new normal. Then we can clean up this planet, unleash the hidden technologies suppressed by the oily elite and begin our journey into a Star Trek-esque future instead of a Terminator-esque future. Until the kidney-stone that is the global elite is removed from its obstructive position there will be little to no positive change on this world. To that end we must unify, occupy and reclaim the sword of liberty.
So rejoice, for the spirit of democracy still flows through the people. That is enough for me to sleep a little sounder at night, even as Late-Stage American Capitalism approaches the End-Stage. I hope there is a solution waiting in the wings (and I think there is), because this was is teetering on the edge. When it falls, Occupy Wall Street will only get more powerful. So you might as well occupy the future now.
President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden with great formality and solemnity tonight. This news has the potential to change our nation’s direction for good. It will be interesting to see what happens next as the global hoax that is the War on Terror (war of terror, more like) is getting wound down. That seems to be the natural course for things to take: We set out to kill bin Laden and we finally did it nearly 10 years later. It makes narrative sense to wrap this story up and move on.
And that’s what it is: A narrative, a story. The president took no questions and presented no evidence, be it DNA, a scrap of clothing, a gun, a flack jacket or even a Quran. No, what he did was tell a story. First, he told the story of 9/11, using the simplest terms and the broadest strokes, but identifying al-Qaeda as the perpetrator. Then he told a tale of how he was given intel on bin Laden’s possible whereabouts, followed up and eventually gave the order to move in and capture/kill.
The whole government-sponsored astroturfing of the al-Qaeda brand is an interesting tale in itself. If you have time I highly recommend watching The Power of Nightmares, a BBC documentary about how fear is used to control the populace and how threats like Al-Qaeda are magnified or even created in order to manipulate the masses.
That’s how things went during the Bush and Blair years, but we’re seeing a new path emerging ahead. Is Obama showing the way out of the War on Terror’s Twisted Hall of Mirrors?
A Chance for Obama to Show his Quality
That’s what he has the chance to do. Will he seize it? It all comes down to what you think about Obama. He’s a tough guy to figure out. Don’t listen to the Birthers and the racists and the Islamophobes and the knee-jerk conservatives. Hate Obama if you want, but you should at least take the time to figure out why you hate him. There’s certainly a lot to take issue with on civil liberties, the escalation in Afghanistan, his dopey dismissal of the marijuana legalization movement, the limping economy and the way his administration has handled Bradley Manning. But I’m not convinced we can paint Obama with the tyrant brush. Tea Partiers who compare him with Hitler are out of their minds. GW Bush killed probably over a million people in Iraq and Afghanistan all told, but Obama has only a few hundred deaths by his order (which is not great, but seems to be par the course for American presidents). This new death is probably more of an illusion than reality, but it seems to be a lie with a somewhat more noble purpose than Bush’s lies leading to the invasion of Iraq. Obama is no saint, but painting him as a sinner like the Bushes is bit much.
Who is Barack Obama? A smooth operator, for one. He knows the game of politics as well as anybody. He has a way of floating above the fray. His “take the high road” approach is not an occasional tactic; it’s at the core of his strategy as a politician. But there are many times when a politician can only take the “somewhat less than the lowest part of the gutter road” because the political establishment has aligned itself in such a way that there are no good options. This happens quite a bit, unfortunately. The whole Beltway establishment is invested in the War on Terror and the Hunt for Bin Laden. You can’t just show up on the first day in office and pull the plug on the media’s favorite storyline. You’ve got to write the next couple chapters, as Obama did by ramping up our forces in Afghanistan — the Afghan Surge.
Next Obama set up the operation that would provide the cover to announce what he wanted to announce 2.5 years ago, but couldn’t because telling the truth in Washington is a good way to get mocked and ridiculed — or even assassinated.
No doubt bin Laden has been dead for quite some time; running around with a dialysis machine while being chased by American special forces in the wasteland of Tora Bora is not a good way to extend your lifespan. Around 2003 or 2004 Osama bin Laden stopped making videos… so the CIA and Intelcenter started making some fake videos for him! Most likely he was dead by then but the Bushies wanted to continue using Osama to spread fear and justify the War on Terror so they kept it quiet. Benazir Bhutto mentioned that Bin Laden was dead and managed to get assassinated herself shortly thereafter.
Stories Matter. Evidence? Not so much.
Was Obama able to procure bin Laden’s body? Who knows, but the physical evidence doesn’t really matter that much from a political point of view. The evidence has never mattered. There was never any evidence directly connecting bin Laden with 9/11 any way. The FBI never even put it on his wanted poster. There was never a good explanation for why 2 planes hit 2 buildings and yet 3 buildings fell down. A lot of people don’t even know about WTC Building 7 even though it was a 40+ story office building that hosted office space for the CIA, SEC, Secret Service and many more. A lot of people don’t know that the BBC reported that the building had collapsed before it did, despite it happening at 5 in the afternoon after some minor fires.
Evidence, I’m afraid, does not matter in Washington. What matters is the ability to tell stories and have people believe you. George W. Bush told a story about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The story turned out to not be true later, but it was too late by then. That story had given the neo-cons the cover they needed to invade, and once that was done they cast it aside and didn’t bother to defend its veracity anymore.
Stories are powerful. They don’t even have to be plausible to get us hooked. Remember the story about bin Laden hiding in huge James Bond villain-esque underground fortress with cave entrances that Donald Rumsfeld told? Yeah, that was another fake story. But it worked, didn’t it?
Osama bin Laden was our bogeyman, our Emmanuel Goldstein, our Ernst Blofeld, our Commie-Nazi enemy par excellence. He was straight out of a James Bond movie and the mainstream media went wild with his tale, elevating him to Darth Vader status in our collective imagination. The stories were endless and they all came back to fear — that is if this guy seemed remotely threatening to you (he always seemed a bit fey and soft to me). The story always ended with the government needing more power to fight this shadowy enemy. Don’t ask questions, just let the nice man grope you at the airport.
The great thing about imaginary wars is that you can imagine a conclusion to them whenever you want. That seems to be what Obama has done to his near namesake, Osama. Now the story is over. People can start to relax, right? I’ve seen a bunch of people on Twitter asking if we still have to take our shoes off at the airport.
“Can we travel with big shampoo again??!”
“Guy on CNN, “Killing Osama ends the war on Terrorism.” Yeah, um, does that mean I can have more than 3.4oz of liquids in my carry on?”
“Ok. So *now* can we start the 21st century?”
“Is gas still $4+? :/”
It’s time to end this story and start a new one. A better one.
In a brilliant move to avoid being discovered, the Obama administration has said that bin Laden’s body will be treated in accordance with Islamic law. That means it will be buried within 24 hours.
Update: They claim they buried him at sea! No one will ever find the body now! So, we hunt for this guy for almost 10 years and first thing we do after catching him is chuck his body over the side of a boat? Okay…. (By the way, Abbottabad, where the operation took place, is hundreds of miles from the ocean.) I did some quick research on Islamic Burial Law and guess what — burial at sea is only permissible if the corpse would start to decay or cause problems:
620. * It is obligatory to bury a dead body in the ground, so deep that its smell does not come out and the beasts of prey do not dig it out, and, if there is a danger of such beasts digging it out then the grave should be made solid with bricks, etc.
621. If it is not possible to bury a dead body in the ground, it may be kept in a vault or a coffin, instead.
622. The dead body should be laid in the grave on its right side so that the face remains towards the Qibla.
623. * If a person dies on a ship and if there is no fear of the decay of the dead body and if there is no problem in retaining it for sometime on the ship, it should be kept on it and buried in the ground after reaching the land. Otherwise, after giving Ghusl, Hunut, Kafan and Namaz-e-Mayyit it should be lowered into the sea in a vessel of clay or with a weight tied to its feet. And as far as possible it should not be lowered at a point where it is eaten up immediately by the sea predators. [emphasis mine]
It would’ve been perfectly acceptable to keep the body in a coffin until the Navy returned it to American shores. Instead, they decided to dispose of the evidence — if there even was a body in the first place. It’s perfect — they don’t have to show us anything, except maybe some grainy photographs a few weeks later. This is a smart move on Obama’s part; Islam provides cover for the quick burial (or at least enough to keep Islam-ignorant Americans satisfied) and Obama can pretend he did it to appease Muslims. He also made a point of saying we were not at war with Islam during his speech. Most Americans won’t question the obvious because they’re so glad to finally be rid of Bin Laden and Muslims won’t raise a stink in the hopes that America will stop persecuting them.
Obama is finally mopping up the remnants of the Bush administration’s horrible stench. The Global War on Terror, the Invasion of Iraq, the Hunt for Bin Laden, the Crusade Against Islam — all of these elaborate tales are being given their dénouement. And all on the anniversary of the announcement of Hitler’s death in 1945, too. It all seems so staged, but Obama has to play the game if he wants to change the rules. And now that he has successfully wrapped up Bush’s parade of lies Obama will reap the benefits of it in his approval rating. It also buys him more time to sort out the economy, which was teetering on the edge of utter collapse. Obama, in his deceitful way, has given us hope.
Are we finally free from the clutches of the powerful cabal that still strangles the world under the economic tyranny wielded by the Federal Reserve’s fiat money system? No, but we do have some breathing room and the wind at our backs for once.
I must be getting so old and cynical that I’m not really bothered by Obama’s go-along to get-along deception, perhaps because he understands the power of stories and how they can affect our collective mood. Obama has given us the happy ending we wanted when this story started 10 years ago. Who cares if it wasn’t a true ending? The beginning wasn’t true and neither was the middle. It was all a big fairy tale to cause fear, mistrust and anger, which the neo-cons could then use to make one last stab at complete world domination. But they failed, and now they’ve let Obama act as a Presidential Pooper-Scooper and clean up the office for the next deranged neo-fascist warmonger. But Obama is making the most of his role and moving us forward in a way that might push him to an easy re-election (given that the GOP’s leading candidates are either punchlines or wallpaper) and spare us another dip into madness for awhile. If he plays his cards right he might just tell us enough stories to permanently put the American oligarchy out of business. We’ll see. It’s a lot to ask of a guy, but these are stressful, dangerous times. We’re staring at so many economic, political and environmental problems that to do nothing is suicide. The Shadow Government thrives in the darkness. But expose it to the light and it shrivels up like a snake’s skin. Obama needs to seize this moment and move forward boldly to push his agenda (which manifestly seems to be much more positive than Bush’s even though Obama is not perfect by any stretch).
It’s strange that he’s been parrying with a man named Trump recently over his birth certificate. First he laid down the long-form certificate in question (a low-res PDF…), and how he’s played his presidential trump card to great effect, with perfect timing and excellent execution.
All Part of the Plan
He even seems to be trying to make friends with Pakistan, praising the country for its help (despite not clearly indicating that he asked permission to launch such a mission in their country) and hopefully signaling a withdrawal from that country’s western mountain-land. In another amazing “coincidence”, Pakistan/US relations are at an all-time low after CIA agent Raymond Davis killed two ISI agents on the streets of Islamabad and was arrested (and outed as CIA) by the Pakistanis. Obama really had no choice but to end the charade since the CIA could no longer freely operate in Pakistan; hundreds agents were being kicked out by the local government (there are supposedly 3,000 CIA spooks operating in Pakistan — and that’s the official number! One can only imagine how many there really are). Now that Obama has done so, he has the political cover necessary to drastically scale back the CIA’s operation in Pakistan and eventually get us out of Afghanistan, too. We’re looking at a whole new national security paradigm.
In another timing “coincidence” Obama just reshuffled his national security team as Secretary of Defense Gates retires again and Leon Panetta replaces him, who, as head of the CIA, needs to be replaced, which opens the door for Petraeus to step into the role. And that’s not the only ground-shaking national security event that has taken place in the last week or so! There was a new national security grand strategy floated by the office of Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces (all the heads of each branch of the military). It replaces the “containment” strategy that the US used during the Cold War — and even afterwards since it was not replaced, only tweaked for the War on Terror era, which is now ending. The new document is credited to a Mr. Y, the pseudonymous follower of the Containment Strategy’s Mr. X. The new document suggests ways to shrink the military and completely realign our national security posture. Look at these 5 key strategic shifts:
From control in a closed system to credible influence in an open system.
From containment to sustainment.
From deterrence and defense to civilian engagement and competition.
From zero sum to positive sum global politics/economics.
From national security to national prosperity and security.
A narrative is a story. A national strategic narrative must be a story that all Americans can understand and identify with in their own lives. America’s national story has always see-sawed between exceptionalism and universalism.
A New Hope?
Obama is ending the Bush-era story of terror and beginning a new narrative of peace. It’s hard to overstate just how incredibly important this change is to our nation. Prepare for a couple weeks of breathless analysis from the media. No doubt few people will point out how ridiculous the whole story is — it’s too much fun to ruin it with reality. Nobody will question why Navy Seals were involved (in the most mountainous and landlocked part of Pakistan), or how Osama managed to live in a million dollar mansion undetected for months (even years) and nobody will question a dialysis patient supposedly firing his gun at US troops (but missing — bad guys have bad aims, right Hollywood?) or that Osama was hiding just 50 miles from the capital of Pakistan. But that’s besides the point. The point is that we have a chance to write a new future that doesn’t include the paranoia, aggression and hatred that the Bush admin’s narrative did. We can unify the world under peace instead of terror. Let’s all celebrate this happy news, even if it is totally fraudulent. Why? Because buried at sea along with Osama Bin Laden is the War on Terror, the Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan and the whole wretched Bush presidency. Good riddance to them all.
Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead!
This story is old and played out. Let’s write a new one that includes peace and unity throughout the world… and beyond.
“Happy new year. Aren’t you tired of all the false-flag attacks?”
That’s what I want to say to people. I certainly think it would be a conversation-starter, but probably not the kind I’d want. I imagine I’d spend much of the time explaining that I’m not crazy.
I think you have to be crazy to think that a guy can slip through our ridiculous airport security even though he had every red flag in the book blinking around him, including being ratted out by his own dad as a potential terrorist. Yeah, I’m talking about that tool, Mutallab the Underwear Bomber or whatever we’re calling him.
Kurt Haskell is an attorney. He and his wife were in Amsterdam that day after a safari and Kurt witnessed the underwear bomber (Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab) before the flight being aided by what Haskell described to be an older Indian gentleman who was well dressed. (emphasis mine)
Who was this sharp-dressed man (besides a ZZtop fan)? No doubt he was Mutallab’s handler.
Since Mutallab is a classic patsy, he has the intelligence (and loyalty) of a particularly gullible puppy. He needs help dressing, tying his shoes, boarding flights… and making his bombs work, too. (Thank Allah for that!)
Webster Tarpley has a good analysis of this event and the importance of it in the geopolitical sense. Long story short: Certain parties are trying to involve us in yet another war against yet another Islamic country. Yemen, this time.
But Obama and his advisors should be urged to consider a third explanation far more plausible than either of these. This third explanation would include the desire of a rogue network inside the US government to unleash a new wave of Islamophobic hysteria to rehabilitate the discredited “global war on terror” strategy in a new and more sophisticated form, while imposing a new round of outrageous and degrading search procedures at airports (such as the full body scanners peddled by the venal Michael Chertoff) to soften up the American people for heightened totalitarian control and political repression. All of this, moreover, in ways that will be politically harmful to Obama.
But this Underwear Bombing farce is a double-edged sword; it provides Obama and those who are opposed to this rogue Anglo terror network a chance to follow the clues back to the real puppetmasters, and perhaps even reveal the existence of the moles and their shadow government to the American people.
That may be a bridge too far, but these false flag terror attacks a getting increasingly ridiculous and unbelievable. Are we really supposed to believe that Mutallab was alloweded to fly without the intervention of a politically-connected CIA “handler”?
Mutallab had been denied a visa to enter the United Kingdom, despite the fact that his family owned a luxury apartment in London’s West End. His name had been placed on the UK watch list. Mutallab’s father, a prominent Nigerian banker, personally denounced him to the CIA and the State Department as a possible extremist who was then in Yemen, most probably at a training camp. Nevertheless, Mutallab’s visa was not revoked. Mutallab had met the infamous Anwar Awlaki, who had just received a wave of publicity for his relations with Major Hasan the Fort Hood patsy. Chatter from the Yemen patsy milieu monitored by the US contained references to “the Nigerian” – meaning Mutallab. Mutallab paid cash for his ticket in Ghana, checked no luggage, and entered Nigeria illegally, but was nevertheless permitted to embark on the first leg of his mission. (emphasis mine)
This man was practically a walking, talking, blinking red flag. The excuse that got him past security — without a passport — was that he was a Sudanese refugee. But nevermind that; Mutallab was the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker. His own father pointed him out as a threat to the CIA and what did they do?
It sure seems like the infiltrated CIA is only concerned with getting more power to interfere with our lives, not doing their job with the considerable power they already have.
This is the classic false flag mindset; it’s right out of the playbook the neocons used after 9/11. Instead of blaming Bush for the security lapses they screamed that Bush needed more power to intercept these terrorists. Never mind that there was ample warning (“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”). There was also a condescending dismissal of the importance of the warning and related intelligence:
We’ve known for years now that George W. Bush received a presidential daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, in which he was warned: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” We’ve known for almost as long that Bush went fishing afterward.
What we didn’t know is what happened in between the briefing and the fishing, and now Suskind is here to tell us. Bush listened to the briefing, Suskind says, then told the CIA briefer: “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”
Neocons and their rogue network within the government are not interested in stopping terror, only creating it. They use false flag attacks to gradually expand their powerbase while counting on the zero-sum nature of politcal power to drain their enemies of power. We are their enemies, unless we are their (straight Republican-ticket-voting) patsies.
Don’t be a patsy. The neocons will keep doing it until they get caught. And as they get increasingly desperate the attacks may grow more deadly.
Please do your part and speak up so the public is primed to absorb this startling information. I already have to take off my shoes at the airport, which is bad enough. Are soon going to have to fly commando-style? Trust me, people, you do not want me taking off my stinky skivvies at the airport security scanner in front of you. Do yourself a favor and stop this joyless game before the next false-flag patsy sticks a bomb up his ass and we all have to get a public rectal exam to board a flight home.
I see a lot of common ground between liberals (i.e. leftist Democrats and independents) and libertarians (big L and small L). It’s unfortunate that a few fundamental issues divide them because there’s so much room for collaboration, especially when it comes to the calamitous policies of the Federal Reserve.
A Solution: First Steps
First, people need to chill out on both sides of this debate. Second, realize that what I’m proposing is not new, just misunderstood. I’ve jokingly called myself a libertarian socialist before, but today I found that there really is such a thing.
Now, what I’m about to do will piss off both liberals and libertarians, but I need to criticize both approaches before we can find a happy medium. This might be painful for you if you fall on one side or the other, but please bear with me; each side will get its fair share of abuse. And praise.
Neither Side is Perfect
The libertarians, especially social conservatives, need to realize that they do try to protect rich too much even though it’s the rich who created the Fed and many of our current economic problems. It’s the rich, after all, who can afford to thrive during times of moderate to high inflation because they can hire a team of accountants, investment bankers and so on to ride the rough waters of fiat capitalism.
Some well-meaning libertarians, being perpetually out of power, are gradually seduced into supporting right-wing bombthrowers like Glenn Beck, which only makes them look stupid, racist, backwards and irrational to a liberal. The tea parties have not succeeded because they are partisan and co-opted by mainstream Republican politicians like Minnesota’s own Michele Bachmann, tapping into anger and doing nothing to really change things. If they were non-partisan End the Fed rallies that might be a step in the right direction. But many libertarians hate liberals because the Democrats who get elected tend to be corrupt establishment figures — just like Republican politicians.
Conversely, the leftist populists need to realize that Obama is not the savior they want him to be. He’s a politican like any other and he’s just playing the game. Note how little has changed since he took office. He’s made lots of noise about change, but our Empire is still killing peasants in Afghanistan, our privacy is still nonextistent as warrantless wiretapping continues, and our economy is still in the thrall of the rich as Bernanke gets re-upped for another term and the idiots who supported deregulation (like Summers) get cushy jobs in the administration. Meanwhile, Obama’s tackling (and losing) the health care fight when he should be focused on the economy first and foremost. I support universal healthcare, but the conservatives are right to question how we’re gonna pay for it. Shouldn’t we get our economic house in order before we make massive commitments to future spending?
The Health Care Riddle
The health care conundrum is a medium-sized part of our economic problems. The bigger problem is exactly what the Libertarians are talking about (and what progressive left-wing publications like the HuffPo are finally starting to realize): The secretive Fed’s embrace of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking will make peasants of us all.
This government, and everything in it (including Obama) is controlled by the banking apparatus. Look at how quickly the bailout and stimulus packages were passed in comparison to health care reform. And yet we could’ve easily paid for health care for every single American with the money we threw at the bankers so they could erase the red ink from their bottom lines and then refuse to give loans to regular people. Bonuses to executives are already back to pre-crash levels.
My point is that unless we fix the underlying issue we’ll be back at square one again. Unless a new amendment is added to the Bill of Rights guaranteeing free health care for all (not bloody likely) the bankers will find a way to put us back in the poor house again. Congress will bankrupt whatever public option we create unless it is rock-fucking-solid. Because of the inflationary and demographic bubbles we face, Social Security and Medicare will likely go bankrupt within a few decades. How will adding more financial obligations to the pile help us solve this mess?
Sometimes Society is to Blame
The typical libertarian response is to say “Get government off my back!” I think libertarians are susceptible to Republican messaging because the Republican politicians pretend to be in favor of limited government. And both libertarians and Republicans see poor people as failed and lazy.
Here’s something libertarians can learn from liberals: Sometimes the main forces that cause poverty really are society’s fault. More specifically to blame: government and corporate interests from banking to health care who are in favor of fiscally incapacitated citizens who thus become dependent on the state and the state’s favored corporations. Fiat currency and fractional reserve lending have created the underlying conditions that make this economic incapacitation possible.
Spending Our Way to Prosperity
Liberals have traditionally tried to solve this problem with even more government intervention. They see government as a tool they can use to elevate the playing field and give those people a shot at crawling out of poverty and back to fiscal independence. Libertarians have largely cried foul but haven’t proposed a practical solution and have in fact fallen for Republican Party propaganda (especially on taxes) when they should have stood with the poor. It is the poor who suffer most from the Fed’s policies.
Yet liberals who think we can continue to spend our way out of this mess are sadly mistaken. In fact, we’ve already spent far too much. It is perhaps the best response to the problem within the context of an inflationary world, but the Keynesian approach will ultimately collapse because the inflation is too destabilizing and it’s also incredibly iniquitous. Who here gets a check for inflation each month? Not me, but because of fractional reserve lending practices, banks benefit disproportionately from inflation. Liberals, just like right-leaning libertarians, are inadvertantly supporting the rich elites who create the problems they decry.
The Tree of Liberty
This crisis threatens to rend our nation apart but also presents an opportunity; a chance to end the Fed and the economic inequity it has wrought. And the only way that can happen is by unifying liberals and libertarians once again. Their names come from the same root word, after all — Liberty. Both sides need to make bold changes to come together, but the only way to achieve true economic liberty is by a combination of tight regulation of banks and specie-backed currency.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
Political liberty cannot come without economic liberty.
FDR Did Better Against the Nazis Than The Bankers
A lot of Libertarians hate Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but what they don’t seem to realize is that he was fighting an all-out war against the corrupt banking and corporate interests who were colluding against the common man, and the levers of government were the only powers the president had available to him. The banker-controlled Fed, after all, caused the first Great Depression and FDR was forced to act quickly to stem the bleeding. Read this link for more insight into FDR and why he abandoned the gold standard — Europeans had already ditched gold and were buying up ours with their fiat currency, but FDR wanted to work out an international gold standard once the crisis subsided. And indeed, Bretton Woods was an attempt to do just that.
Roosevelt has been slandered as anti-business by many on the right. He was not; he was anti-Big Business. He stood up for all of America, not just the plutocrats. FDR’s Keynesian solution was imperfect but it bought time and saved the Union. If he had not acted quickly the Business Plot of 1934 may have succeeded and America may have spiraled into despotic fascism, never to return.
Some libertarians have not been sufficiently suspicious of the motives of Big Business. They think that corporate rights are the same as personal liberty. They are not.
Corporations are amoral machines that must be controlled. Men should be free to do what they will, but who among us will argue that a man is free to run over people in his car because, by golly, he paid for that car and he controls it and he uses it to make money for his family, so anybody who tries to stop him is abridging his rights? Well, we shouldn’t let corporations driven by men to run amok any more than we should allow that of motor vehicle operators. It is imperative that libertarians understand that economic freedom is more fundamental and more important than corporate power.
A New Respect
Liberals, meanwhile, have long regarded libertarians a bunch of kooks; militia-joining types who are all paranoid gold-bugs who believe in anarchic and anachronistic principles. But libertarians have learned the hard way that governments can resort to tyranny whether they’re controlled by the Democrats or the Republicans. Democratic attempts to solve our basic economic problems have either been limp-wristed or misguided. Liberals need to take a look at the constitutional principles libertarians stand by and realize how closely they align with progressivism. Most importantly, liberals need to get past the false “left vs. right” dichotomy that the elites use to divide and conquer us. The marginalized, but proud Libertarian voters have defiantly supported their minor party despite no chance of winning.
Perhaps liberals will have more respect for libertarians and their journey through the political wilderness after the last 8 years of suffering their own indignity. Soured on big, invasive government (wiretapping, No Child Left Behind, literal invasions) during the Bush years, this is the ideal time for liberals to wake up and realize that they can only secure the freedom and prosperity by looking beyond the political and focusing on the very most fundamental monetary elements of our economy upon which the government and society are built. Libertarians are not greedy to focus on money; they are prudent. Unless we have a secure gold-backed money supply we will continue to have these crises, and at some point we can’t continue to solve them through social programs and endless spending. Inflation creates the poverty that we all fear. It’s time to end it.
This is my plea for liberals and libertarians to work together and remove the Federal Reserve’s charter. It’s time to take back our economic liberty. We don’t have much time to waste.
Perhaps it’s obvious to say that there are political undercurrents at work in the Iranian Revolution 2009 we’re witnessing, but it goes well beyond the streets of Tehran. This is a global phenomenon and it bodes ill for the Old Ways.
If you’re reading this blog you’re probably a little more savvy than most, but for those who are new to social media this coup attempt is shining a light on something certain elements within our political structure have tried to keep hidden: Iranians are just like us.
That might not seem like such a radical statement, but when you’re in the business of demonizing people it’s an earth-shattering revelation. Here in America, our government and our media have been in the business of demonizing Iran for the last 30 years. If the revolution succeeds and Ahmadinejad is thrown into the dustbin of history then our government will not have a despotic Iran to kick around any more. Early indications are that the people of Iran and Mousavi’s hypothetical government will favor normalizing relations with America, or at least responding favorably to Obama’s overtures.
The sad truth is that a lot of people are scared of change and they don’t like it when their favorite whipping-horse suddenly grabs the reins with his teeth.
Given the incredible impact that social media has had in this election/coup it should not be surprising if hardline forces –not just in Iran — take a dim view of social media in the future.
The first thing the illegitimate Iranian government did when it saw trouble brewing was to block Facebook and Twitter. Cell phone service was taken down in many areas. Mousavi’s website was taken out by government forces.
It’s obvious why: Social media is an inherently democratizing force.
Allowing people to connect outside of traditional, controlled channels is dangerous for any repressive regime. People can share news instantly, they can plan, they can support each other and they can warn each other of danger. This used to be the province of the authorities with their rigid hierarchies, their walkie-talkies and their chains of command.
Now anybody with a cellphone can change the world with a hashtag.
As night falls things are getting more violent. It’s too early to declare victory, but I think the world is starting to see that the divisions our mainstream media has helped our government create are largely an artifice of ignorance and omission. We are all the same on Facebook. We are one on Twitter.
Social media is the bane of dictators everywhere, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But we have to be ready for the backlash against social media by those hardline forces stuck in the past. They may start to attack social media out of fear. We can’t let those repressive forces have their say anymore. If Iran can stand up for democracy, we can too.
Obama is picking moderates and center-rightists for his cabinet. That sound you hear? It’s the sound of a million hopes and dreams thudding to the earth like balloons suddenly alchemized into lead.
We can only hope things will get better under Obama. I’d say they can’t get worse, but that’s not true. Evil has built up quite a momentum under Bush. The decisions he made (or his fellow cabalists made for him) over the last 8 years will continue to reverberate through the nation for the foreseeable future. Bush’s legacy of wickedness and the destruction he wrought on our nation’s principles and people will not be easily forgotten. Or forgiven.
The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.
If one of the pillars of American capitalism is made of butter, which Citigroup seems to be, then they must crumble (melt?). New ones will rise, if you believe in the free-market.
Neither Bush nor Obama does.
And with those two messing around with the economy I don’t either; there never was and never will be a true free market because somebody’s always got an agenda and if they have influence in government they will use that power to affect change to their benefit, principles be damned. People who talk lovingly about free markets are full of shit. They want open markets, the same way horny guys want loose women: They don’t really love them (captains of industry prefer monopolies over competition), but they sure will take advantage of it while it’s there. A “free” market is just one that hasn’t been spoiled yet… but it will be. It will be.
The only way to fix this is to reconfigure the fundamentals of our economy so the super-rich don’t control everything. But how are we gonna do that if they already do? Are they going to just let us? Fuck no. They have to have a reason first, and we haven’t given them one.
Until we do, nothing will change. Reality’s a bitch, ain’t it?