Monday, November 12, 2012

Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military | Glenn Greenwald

On the resignation of Gen Petraeus.
It's a mess and a rabbit hole, that goes very, very deep. I find it strange that folks can go around killing innocents, drone striking, torturing, destroying infrastructures on other people's land, dropping depleted uranium on towns and villages, messing up the water and electric infrastructure, cause all manner of birth defects, cover up rape and abuse towards
military women, deal very poorly with the veterans upon their return, declassifying PSTD to other than a medical issue, have these veterans homeless and suicidal, fund and support terrorists militias, cover up and enhance the opium production, drop bombs on people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, arm the insurgents in Syria, yet, when they pull their little dingy out and flash it around, inserting it here and there, NOW THEY MUST RETIRE?????

Something is seriously and morally wrong with American ethics. Dude done did something else other than fool around with a drama queen, and that's for sure!!! NB
Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military | Glenn Greenwald

2011: Holly Petraeus (left) holding a bible as David Petraeus is sworn in as CIA director by Vice President Joe Biden. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Saturday 10 November 2012 
The reverence for the former CIA Director is part of a wider religious-like worship of the national security state.
(updated below [Sun.])
A prime rule of US political culture is that nothing rivets, animates or delights the political media like a sex scandal. From Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, and Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards, Larry Craig and David Vitter, their titillation and joy is palpable as they revel in every last arousing detail. This giddy package is delivered draped in a sanctimonious wrapping: their excitement at reporting on these scandals is matched only by their self-righteous condemnations of the moral failings of the responsible person.

All of these behaviors have long been constant, inevitable features of every political sex scandal - until yesterday. Now, none of these sentiments is permitted because the newest salacious scandal features at its center Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned yesterday as CIA Director, citing an extramarital affair.
It has now been widely reported that the affair was with Paula Broadwell, the author of a truly fawning hagiography of Petraeus entitled "All In", and someone whom Petraeus, in her own words, "mentored" when he sat on her dissertation committee. The FBI discovered the affair when it investigated whether she had attempted to gain access to his emails and other classified information. In an interview about Broadwell's book that she gave to the Daily Show back in January, one that is incredibly fascinating and revealing to watch in retrospect, Jon Stewart identified this as the primary question raised by her biography of Petraeus: "is he awesome, or super-awesome?"

Gen. Petraeus is the single most revered man in the most venerated American institution: the National Security State and, specifically, its military. As a result, all the rules are different. Speaking ill of David Petraeus - or the military or CIA as an institution - is strictly prohibited within our adversarial watchdog press corps. Thus, even as he resigns in disgrace, leading media figures are alternatively mournful and worshipful as they discuss it.

On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell appeared genuinely grief-stricken when she first reported Petraeus' resignation letter. "This is very painful", she began by announcing, as she wore a profoundly sad face. Her voice quivered with a mix of awe and distress as she read his resignation letter, savoring every word as though she were reciting from the Dead Sea Scrolls. On the Rachel Maddow Show later that night, Mitchell began her appearance by decreeing that "this is a personal tragedy" and said she was particularly sorrowful for "the men and women of the CIA, an agency that has many things to be proud about: many things to be proud about" [emphasis in original].

Christiane Amanpour of CNN and ABC made Mitchell look constrained by comparison as she belted out this paean on Twitter:

 For good measure, she then added:

What does all that even mean? From which glorious "battlefield" is the CIA Director now absent, and how and why are we "at a time when we need them most"? But Amanpour is reciting something akin to a prayer here, and it's thus insusceptible to rational inquiry of that sort.

Meanwhile, Michael Hastings - whose Rolling Stone cover story ended Gen. McChrystal's career by including numerous intemperate quotes and, in doing so, revealingly prompted widespread animosity among his media colleagues for the crime of Making a General Look Bad - was on MSNBC yesterday with Martin Bashir. Hastings explained how the media has been devoted to Petraeus' glorification and thus ignored all the substantive reasons why Petraeus should have received far more media scrutiny and criticism in the past. In response, Bashir - who has previously demonstrated his contempt for anyone who speaks ill of a US General - expressed his anger at Hastings ("That's a fairly harsh assessment of a man who is regarded by many in the military as an outstanding four-star general") and then quickly cut him off just over two minutes into the segment.

Then there's the Foreign Policy Community, for which David Petraeus has long been regarded with deity status. Foreign Policy Magazine Managing Editor Blake Hounshell, under the headline "The Tragedy of David Petraeus", gushed that "Petraeus's downfall is a huge loss for the United States," as "not only was he one of the country's top strategic thinkers, he was also one of the few public figures revered by all sides of the political spectrum for his dedication and good judgment." He added: "He salvaged two disastrous wars, for two very different presidents."

Also at Foreign Policy, Thomas Ricks, formerly of the Washington Post, argued that Obama should not have accepted his resignation: "So the surprise to me is that Obama let him go. But the administration's loss may be Princeton's gain." Like most people in the media, Ricks has long been an ardent admirer of Petraeus, even turning his platform over to Paula Broadwell in the past for her to spread her hagiography far and wide.

There are several revealing lessons about this media swooning for Petraeus even as he exits from a scandal that would normally send them into tittering delight. First, military worship is the central religion of America's political and media culture. The military is by far the most respected and beloved institution among the US population - a dangerous fact in any democracy - and, even assuming they wanted to (which they don't), our brave denizens of establishment journalism are petrified of running afoul of that kind of popular sentiment.

Recall the intense controversy that erupted last Memorial Day when MSNBC's Chris Hayes gently pondered whether all soldiers should be considered "heroes". His own network, NBC, quickly assembled a panel on the Today Show to unanimously denounce him in the harshest and most personal terms ("I hope that he doesn't get more viewers as a result of this...this guy is like a – if you've seen him...he looks like a weenie" - "Could you be more inappropriate on Memorial Day?"), and Hayes then subjected himself to the predictable ritual of public apology (though he notably did not retract the substance of his remarks).

Hayes was forced (either overtly or by the rising pressure) to apologize because his comments were blasphemous: of America's true religion. At virtually every major sporting event, some uber-patriotic display of military might is featured as the crowd chants and swoons. It's perfectly reasonable not to hold members of the military responsible for the acts of aggression ordered by US politicians, but that hardly means that the other extreme - compelled reverence - is justifiable either. 

Yet US journalists - whose ostensible role is to be adversarial to powerful and secretive political institutions (which includes, first and foremost, the National Security State) - are the most pious high priests of this national religion. John Parker, former military reporter and fellow of the University of Maryland Knight Center for Specialized Journalism-Military Reporting, wrote an extraordinarily good letter back in 2010 regarding why leading Pentagon reporters were so angry at WikiLeaks for revealing government secrets: because they identify with the military to the point of uncritical adoration:
"The career trend of too many Pentagon journalists typically arrives at the same vanishing point: Over time they are co-opted by a combination of awe - interacting so closely with the most powerfully romanticized force of violence in the history of humanity - and the admirable and seductive allure of the sharp, amazingly focused demeanor of highly trained military minds. Top military officers have their s*** together and it's personally humbling for reporters who've never served to witness that kind of impeccable competence. These unspoken factors, not to mention the inner pull of reporters' innate patriotism, have lured otherwise smart journalists to abandon – justifiably in their minds – their professional obligation to treat all sources equally and skeptically. . . .
"Pentagon journalists and informed members of the public would benefit from watching 'The Selling of the Pentagon', a 1971 documentary. It details how, in the height of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon sophisticatedly used taxpayer money against taxpayers in an effort to sway their opinions toward the Pentagon's desires for unlimited war. Forty years later, the techniques of shaping public opinion via media has evolved exponentially. It has reached the point where flipping major journalists is a matter of painting in their personal numbers."
That is what makes this media worship of All Things Military not only creepy to behold, but downright dangerous.

Second, it is truly remarkable what ends people's careers in Washington - and what does not end them. As Hastings detailed in that interview, Petraeus has left a string of failures and even scandals behind him: a disastrous Iraqi training program, a worsening of the war in Afghanistan since he ran it, the attempt to convert the CIA into principally a para-military force, the series of misleading statements about the Benghazi attack and the revealed large CIA presence in Libya. To that one could add the constant killing of innocent people in the Muslim world without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.
Yet none of those issues provokes the slightest concern from our intrepid press corps. His career and reputation could never be damaged, let alone ended, by any of that. Instead, it takes a sex scandal - a revelation that he had carried on a perfectly legal extramarital affair - to force him from power. That is the warped world of Washington. Of all the heinous things the CIA does, the only one that seems to attract the notice or concern of our media is a banal sex scandal. Listening to media coverage, one would think an extramarital affair is the worst thing the CIA ever did, maybe even the only bad thing it ever did (Andrea Mitchell: "an agency that has many things to be proud about: many things to be proud about").
Third, there is something deeply symbolic and revealing about this whole episode. Broadwell ended up spending substantial time with Petraeus when she, in essence, embedded with him and followed him around Afghanistan in order to write her biography. What ended up being produced was not only the type of propagandistic hagiography such arrangements typically produce, but also deeply personal affection as well.

This is access journalism and the embedding dynamic in its classic form, just a bit more vividly expressed. The very close and inter-dependent relationship between media figures and the political and military officials they cover often produces exactly these same sentiments even if they do not find the full-scale expression as they did in this case. In that regard, the relationship between the now-former CIA Director and his fawning hagiographer should be studied in journalism schools to see the results reliably produced by access journalism and the embedding process. Whatever Broadwell did for Petraeus is what US media figures are routinely doing for political and especially military officials with their "journalism".

Other matters
Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith, formerly with the Bush justice department, has an excellent analysis explaining why "one important consequence of President Obama's re-election will be the further entrenchment, and legitimation, of the basic counterterrorism policies that Obama continued, with tweaks, from the late Bush administration." He explains why an Obama presidency will strengthen these policies far more than a Romney presidency could have (as a former Bush official, Goldsmith is understandably delighted by this fact).

In Seattle tonight, I'm delivering the keynote speech to the annual Bill of Rights dinner for the ACLU in Washington; there are still a few tickets left for the event, which begins at 7:00 pm, and they can be obtained here.

Finally, I participated, along with ABC's Jake Tapper and Lisa Rosenberg, in a report by NPR's "On the Media' on Obama's first term record on transparency. My participation is in the first four minutes or so and can be heard here. I was also interviewed yesterday by NPR's local Seattle affiliate for about 30 minutes on Obama's foreign policy and civil liberties record, and that segment, which was quite good as it included several adversarial calls from listeners, can be heard here.

I wrote above that Petraeus "sat on [Broadwell's] dissertation committee". This is inaccurate. Petraeus was one of Broadwell's "dissertation advisers".

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Obama-Mania? Cult of Personality? Politics Or Theater?

Dear Crystal Lucas Perry,
First as 1 artist to another, I appreciate you &all the hard work that went into creating this. HOWEVER, what I strongly disagree with, is making the POTUS into a celebrity.Creating this mythos around a man whose job is to lead the country FORWARD. He's not a HOLLYWOOD STAR/ACTOR. I think it's disrespectful.Will he go down in history as a SUPERSTAR or someone who really moved the country forward? Allegiance to a man? American Idol? Exalt & Elevate integrity, peace, love & truth. Poetic License?  My comment on YouTube

 I wish I could find the right words to express how uncomfortable it makes me feel. It's like some kind of cult or something. "The Cult of Obama" Obama-Mania. People are all frenzied, teary eyed, gushing like they are having orgasms over him. That last campaign with the Obama girl was really over the top. What is that? Why do people need to idolize him? How is that cool for a thinking, educated, civilized nation of people? What if they did that to Bush, whom they clearly did not like. What if the Tea Party wrote songs about John Boehner?

Okay, political parody, satire, or even cartoons, but this romanticizing of the President is a bit much for me. They are so memorized they care not to look at the true picture, the real deal and that means they are dangerous. That Obama Kool Aid is really powerful.

Is this really poetic license or is it opportunism? The number of YouTube videos that are out with people singing to him, and the number of hits these videos are getting begs to question the real motive behind this type of "free advertisement".

I don't  particularly agree with all that is presented in this movie, but the song does kind of say it all for me.

It just don't sit right with me, and this is a very subjective assessment on my part. But idolizing another human being is a sure fired way to trouble. Look at the many other cult personalities that have lead people into serious trouble. Again this is subjective.

Cult of Personality Links

"A personality cult appears whenever an individual uses mass media propaganda to create idealized, quasi-heroic public personae arising from unquestioned flattery and praise.  Personality cults aim to make the leader and the state synonymous, so that it is nearly impossible to make a distinction between them."   Read more here GeeeeeeZ! OBAMA: Cult of Personality


Cult of personality

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A 1950s Chinese propaganda poster showing a happy family of five enjoying life under the image of Mao Zedong. The caption above the picture reads "The happy life Chairman Mao gives us".
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Sociologist Max Weber developed a tripartite classification of authority; the cult of personality holds parallels with what Weber defined as "charismatic authority". A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda.


The term Cult of personality or Personality Cult first appeared in Nikita Khrushchev's Secret Speech in 1956[1]. Cult of the individual is a more accurate translation[2].


Throughout history, monarchs and heads of state were almost always held in enormous reverence. Through the principle of the divine right of kings, for example, rulers were said to hold office by the will of God. Imperial China (see Mandate of Heaven), ancient Egypt, Japan, the Inca, the Aztecs, Tibet, Thailand, and the Roman Empire (see imperial cult) are especially noted for redefining monarchs as god-kings.
The spread of democratic and secular ideas in Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries made it increasingly difficult for monarchs to preserve this aura. However, the subsequent development of photography, sound recording, film, and mass production, as well as public education and techniques used in commercial advertising, enabled political leaders to project a positive image like never before. It was from these circumstances in the 20th century that the best-known personality cults arose. Often these cults are a form of political religion.


Personality cults were first described in relation to totalitarian regimes that sought to alter or transform society according to radical ideas.[3] Often, a single leader became associated with this revolutionary transformation, and came to be treated as a benevolent "guide" for the nation without whom the transformation to a better future couldn't occur. This has been generally the justification for personality cults that arose in totalitarian societies of the 20th century, such as those of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
Not all dictatorships foster personality cults, not all personality cults are dictatorships (some are nominally democratic), and some leaders may actively seek to minimize their own public adulation. For example, during the Cambodian Khmer Rouge regime, images of dictator Pol Pot (Saloth Sar) were rarely seen in public, and his identity was under dispute abroad until after his fall from power. The same applied to numerous Eastern European Communist regimes following World War II (although not those of Enver Hoxha and Nicolae Ceaușescu, mentioned below).

Che Obama: the new cult of personality
"It is doubtful that anyone ever thought to wear a t-shirt with George Bush’s image splashed across it, except to deride him. Now, wearing the image of the president is not only popular, it has become almost obligatory in some circles.
An Obama T-Shirt
Obama’s image is not just appearing on t-shirts. There are Obama hats, Obama pencil cases, Obama hoodies, Obama screen savers, Obama jewellery, Obama coffee cups and Obama street murals. And Obamamania has gone mainstream. Today in DC we can buy metro tickets sporting Obama’s image. Numerous buildings are decorated with huge banners welcoming the new president. Even the National Portrait Galley has got in on the act, snapping up Shepard Fairey’s original collage for the gallery walls long before the new president’s official portrait will be commissioned.

Such is the strength of the cult surrounding Obama’s image that vendors at the inauguration were hard pushed to find new ways to commemorate the day. Many tried, of course. On my own walk into the city I saw Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street, a local landmark, displaying a huge red, white and blue ice sculpture of the letters OBAMA. A church on 16th Street offered hot cocoa and a chance to be photographed with a life-sized Obama cut-out. On the Mall itself everything from Obama special inauguration bandanas to Obama dollar bills (with President Lincoln’s image replaced with President Obama’s) to my own personal favourite, Obama water, was on offer."

The media’s new Messiah is a mania and fad like the hula hoop  
 “Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair.”
…Barack Obama just seems to get cooler and cooler. He’s the most popular topic on the New York Times topics page…Internet widgets allow you to see what great thing Barack Obama has done for you…on the New York subway Friday morning, one of our copy editors…heard one woman joke to another: “Obama, will you pick me up after my noninvasive minor surgical procedure?” To which the other replied: “Obama, will you hold my hair back when I puke?”…
Many spiritually advanced people I know…identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul…
John Lewis, the venerable civil rights hero and congressman, put words to this feeling recently. “In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit,” he said, suggesting that he might switch his superdelegate vote from Hillary Clinton to Obama. “Something is happening in America and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap.”…On Facebook, people write about dreams featuring Obama. There is only one correct reaction to the “Yes We Can” video and that is to start chanting along…
There was the woman in New Hampshire who compared him with Christ. There was Maria Shriver’s comparison of the candidate with the state of California, with the rhetorical fervor usually seen only after a preacher shouts, “You are healed!”
“Be not afraid; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of Chicago a Savior, who is Barack the Democrat.”

The Obama cult
"Recently I have noticed an interesting but disturbing phenomenon in New York City. On the streets, subways and buses, you can see people still wearing Barack Obama buttons even though the election is long over. I wonder to myself whether these buttons express an inchoate political/psychological yearning. In some ways it reminds me of how people wore pictures of the fifteen year old guru Maharaj-ji, who counted former 60s radical Rennie Davis as one of his main followers.
When I spoke to a fellow radical in my department at Columbia University about my concerns, his eyes lit up and he said:
I know exactly what you mean. There’s this guy in my health club who wears an ‘Obama Knows’ t-shirt. The other day I went up to him and asked him, “Knows what?” He really couldn’t answer me.
At some point I will ask one of these Obama button wearers the same kind of question. What’s up with the Obama button? What are you trying to say? I once asked someone wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt the same kind of question. Trust me; they did not decide to wear the t-shirt after reading “Socialism and Man in Cuba”.

"Obama's popularity is clear evidence of a brand strategy that has succeeded beyond any strategists wildest dream and further proof that once you build a compelling saga and unleash it to the world, there is no telling how far and wide it will go. From a branding perspective, Obama may have become too hot too fast and now one of his biggest challenges might be dealing with the inevitable backlash created by the frenzied admiration from the millions of kool-aid drinking Barackolytes:"
 More from Dorothy:"I honestly don’t know whether to put this in religion or politics. I honestly feel the passion for Senator Obama expressed by most of his followers has equal elements of both - even if they deny it. But I suspect the moderators would move it here to politics if I put it in religion, so here it is in politics. I know this will make many people angry (primarily Obama followers), but I am not looking to debate. I just wanted to display some of the images of Obama because I find the whole media’s marketing - in this case, just the visual elements- behind the man so fascinating.

"CNN's Carol Costello said that audience response at a Barack Obama rally is "a scene some increasingly find not inspirational, but 'creepy,' " quoting columnists who have likened Obama supporters to members of a cult or described their enthusiasm as "creepy." On-screen text during Costello's report read: "OBAMA-MANIA BACKLASH" and "PASSION 'CULT-LIKE' TO SOME." Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer similarly cited other writers to make the same assertion: "ABC's Jake Tapper notes the 'Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities' of 'Obama worshipers,' what Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times calls 'the Cult of Obama.' "

Saturday, November 10, 2012

US Elections: The Empty Politics of Duopoly

Friday, November 9, 2012
US Elections: The Empty Politics of Duopoly
Nile Bowie, Contributor
Activist Post

After months of rhetoric and political campaigning, the smoke has finally cleared on the media frenzy that is the US Presidential Election. Once the winner of the race was announced, supporters at the Obama Campaign headquarters in Chicago jubilantly celebrated.

The haze of American flags, pop music, and confetti worked wonders to mask the absence of any real political substance throughout the election process.

Cheering supporters shouted “four more years” as President Obama took to the stage to deliver his victory speech – complete with highly emotional grandiloquence, two mentions of the US military being the strongest in the world, and of course – a joke about the family dog.

After an exorbitant $6 billion spent by campaigns and outside groups in the primary, congressional and presidential races, Americans have reelected a president better suited for Hollywood than Washington. A 2010 ruling by the US Supreme Court that swept away limits on corporate contributions to political campaigns has paved the way for the most expensive election in American history, in the midst of an economic crisis nonetheless. [1]

In the nation that gave birth to the marketing concept of branding, it is to be assumed that politicians would eventually adopt the same techniques used to promote consumer products – enter Obama.

After eight years under the Bush administration, America desperately needed change. Instead of any meaningful structural reform, America ushered in a global superstar whose charm and charisma not only resuscitated American prestige, but also masked the continued dominance of deregulators, financiers, and war-profiteers.

Obama’s most valuable asset is his brand, and his ability to channel the nostalgia of transformative social movements of the past, while serving as a tabula rasa of sorts to his supporters – an icon of hope who is capable of inspiring the masses and coaxing them into action – despite the Obama administration expanding the disturbing militaristic and domestic surveillance policies so characteristic of the Bush years, and channeling never before seen authority to the executive branch.

The American public at large is captivated by Barack’s contrived media personality and the grandeur of his political poetry and performance, and is therefore reluctant to acknowledge his enthusiastic continuation of the deeply unethical policies of his predecessor. Obama is indeed a leader suited for a new age, one of post-intellectualism and televised spectacle – a time when huge demographics of voters are more influenced by Jay-Z and Katy Perry’s endorsement of Obama over anything of political substance he preaches. [2]

While the US has historically exported “democracy promotion” through institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy (trends that have accelerated under the Obama administration), so few see the American electoral process for what it is – unacceptably expensive, filled with contrived debates, and subject to the kind of meticulous controls that America’s foreign adversaries are accused of presiding over.


A leaked ‘Memorandum of Understanding,’ signed by both the Obama and Romney campaigns, provides unique insight into the nature of the three televised debates, and the extent to which organizers went to prevent the occurrence of any form of unplanned spontaneity. [3] The document outlines how no members of the audience would be allowed to ask follow-up questions to the candidates, how microphones will be cut off right after questions were asked, and how any opportunities for follow-up questions from the crowd would be disregarded. In what was billed as a series of town-hall style debates where members of the community can come together and ask questions that reflect their concerns – in actuality, the two candidates dished out pre-planned responses to pre-approved questions, asked by pre-selected individuals.

The political domination of the Republican and Democratic parties over the debates is nowhere more apparent than in the arrest of Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, as the two attempted to enter the site of the second presidential debate. [4] 

Despite the obscurity and almost non-existent media presence of third party candidates, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party received 1% of the popular vote in the general election, amounting to over 1.1 million votes, the best in the history of the Libertarian Party. [5]

In contrast to the choreographed exchanges offered by the televised debates between Obama and Romney, Moscow’s state-funded Russia Today news service offered third-party candidates an opportunity to voice their political programs in two debates aired on the channel. [6] Throughout these debates, third-party candidates spoke of repealing Obama’s authorization of indefinite detention through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the need for coherent environmental legislation, the gross misdirection of American foreign policy, the necessity of deep economic restructuring, and the illogicality of marijuana prohibition. In her closing statement at the debate, Green Party candidate Jill Stein brought up a significant point:

They’re 90 million voters who are not coming out to vote in this election, that’s one out of every two voters – that’s twice as many as those who will come out for Barack Obama, and twice the number that will come out for Mitt Romney. Those are voters who are saying ‘No’ to politics as usual, and ‘No’ to the Democratic and Republican parties. Imagine if we got out word to those 90 millions voters, that they actually have a variety of choices and voices in this election.

American presidential politics are not devoid of progressive voices; but, in reality, America doesn’t need a third-party – it needs a second party. The overwhelming lack of choice offered by this election can only be attributable to the political duopoly of the Republican and Democratic parties.

 As President Obama begins his second and final term, some feel that this could be a chance for the White House to pursue more progressive ends – an opportunity for Obama to act on his own campaign rhetoric and roll back militarism and the influence of Wall St. financiers.

Barack Obama now prepares for his second term as the President of the United States. Though the race was tight, especially in states like Florida and Virginia, Obama won by more than 2 million popular votes at last count, and had at least 303 electoral votes to Mitt Romney's 206. (Florida was still too close to call as of midday Wednesday.)
While such optimism may prevail in the minds of many, the fact that President Obama issued a drone strike that killed three people in Yemen just hours after being reelected is a telling sign of things to come from the Obama administration. [7]

As the United States continues to project itself around the world as the definitive model of “freedom and democracy,” it is apparent that the central bankers, corporate financiers, and crony capitalists who control America’s electoral system did indeed learn and thing or two from Communism:

The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves. – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin


[3] Obama and Romney agree to cowardly debates, Russia Today, October 16, 2012

[5] Gary Johnson Pulls One Million Votes, One Percent, Reason Foundation, November 7, 2012

[6] RT presents third-party presidential debate, Russia Today, October 19, 2012

[7] Yemen drone strike kills 'al-Qaeda members', Al-Jazeera, November 09, 2012

Nile Bowie is a Kuala Lumpur-based American writer and photographer for the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada. He explores issues of terrorism, economics and geopolitics.

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's Official: Liberals and Conservatives Becoming Zombies

Anthony Freda Art
Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

In the wake of the 2012 Presidential election, the expected gloating over Obama’s victory and sulking over Romney’s defeat by their respective supporters is taking its typical turn toward the absurd, at least for those who are aware of the true lack of choice that was presented in this election.

As every other failed presidential campaign in history has done, the Romney camp will soon come to grips with their loss. The Obama camp, however, will now be presented with four more years of a President who has been and will continue to be identical to the President they claimed to have hated for so many years.

As Obama continues to execute, for another four years, the very same policies implemented by Bush (and by Romney had he been elected), individuals who call themselves “liberals” or “progressives” will be faced with the challenge of defending what they perceive to be “their candidate” irrespective of reality, facts, and common sense.

Like the first four years, self-proclaimed progressives will continue to support the wholesale slaughter of innocent people in foreign countries, indefinite detention, banker bailouts, free trade, and a gross violation of civil liberties and Constitutional rights. While these very acts were once what liberals claimed was fueling their hatred of George W. Bush, it turns out that what passes for a progressive in 2012 is a rejection of war and totalitarianism directed by Republicans – not war and totalitarianism itself.

Indeed, when asking your average Obama fan their reason for such irrational support, one can scarcely receive an answer that does not have its root in false and divisive social paradigms such as his party, his race, or his age. Simply put, Obama supporters main reason for their allegiance to Barack Obama can be boiled down to two words – “He’s Obama!”

Even so, when Obama was first elected in 2008, and in the face of his obvious support for the banker bailout, continued war, and blatant disregard for civil liberties, we critics were met with pleas to “just give him time.” After all, he can’t fix eight years of Bush in one year of his own. This was the same statement that was repeated after Obama’s second year. And then his third. Even his fourth year as President still held echoes of the argument to just “give him time.”

Nevertheless, with Obama’s re-election there now appears a small shred of potential silver lining to this dark cloud. Namely, it will eliminate the argument posed by so-called Progressives for the last four years that Obama did not have equal time to right the wrongs of Bush or that he was not given a fair shot at the Presidency which now consists of, according to party hacks, an eight-year reign.

At the end of the Obama regime, it will be apparent to every Democrat that “their” candidate was every bit as bad as the one belonging to the “other team.”

There will be no more excuses echoed from the chambers of the Obama supporters that do not highlight an already delusional perspective and unwillingness to face reality. In 2016, like Bush supporters in 2008, the defense of Obama will appear more and more to be a mental illness than a political opinion. Unfortunately, one does not have to go much further for this to be the case.

This statement is not meant to pick on Obama supporters alone of course. In fact, Republicans and so-called Conservatives showed their own true colors this election by flocking to a full representation of the candidate they claim they are so opposed to. The differences between Romney and Obama, besides ethnicity and political party, were virtually non-existent. Indeed, those differences that did appear to exist were merely propaganda pieces for public presentation.

Republicans, by no means, have a leg to stand on when it comes to the issues mentioned above, be it economics, war, civil liberties, or any other issue for that matter.

Regardless, it is a fact that Liberals and Progressives, once the majority of the anti-war, 9/11 Truth, and freedom movements, simply dissipated with the election of Obama. What is worse, however, is that they never reappeared after Obama proved that, as President, he would not only be as bad as Bush, he would be worse.

While rumblings amongst true Liberals of Obama’s treachery are indeed beginning to take place, the fact is they have remained dormant for far too long. In truth, it is a shame that they were ever silent to begin with.

Thus, with Obama firmly locked in to another four years and with no possibility of his own re-election in 2016, Progressives are now given an opportunity to return to the principles they have neglected for the last four years. With no possibility of costing Obama the election, you can now be free to oppose the killing of innocent men, women, and children. With “your team” squarely in office, you can now meekly ask for your right to privacy, to a trial, and even to life without worrying about your chosen party losing the White House. As Obama takes over in his second term, you can now acknowledge the worldwide economic depression and perhaps take some steps to avoid a total collapse and return to real American standards of living without the fear of reflecting poorly upon “your President.”

A four-year vacation from your principles was long enough. Now, however, your country and the rest of the world needs you to return to the fight.

You can only blame “those other guys” for so long. Whether you like it or not, it is an unfortunate reality that both you and those on the other side of the falsely constructed aisle are more alike than you think. Likewise, Republicans must realize that economics, war, and civil liberties are issues that effect Americans regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in office.

Both Conservatives and Liberals are equally responsible for the moral, intellectual, and rapidly physical wasteland we now find ourselves inhabiting. Because both groups are divided only because they have been subjected ad infinitum to scientific propaganda in order to make such an environment possible, it is high time they both become responsible for repairing it.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 175 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Special Interests Won Again

Cory Michael Skaaren Art
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The Special Interests Won Again

Paul Craig Roberts, Contributor

The election that was supposed to be too close to call turned out not to be so close after all. In my opinion, Obama won for two reasons: (1) Obama is non-threatening and inclusive, whereas Romney exuded a “us vs. them” impression that many found threatening, and (2) the election was not close enough for the electronic voting machines to steal.

As readers know, I don’t think that either candidate is a good choice or that either offers a choice. Washington is controlled by powerful interest groups, not by elections. What the two parties fight over is not alternative political visions and different legislative agendas, but which party gets to be the whore for Wall Street, the military-security complex, Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and energy, mining, and timber interests.

Being the whore is important, because whores are rewarded for the services that they render. To win the White House or a presidential appointment is a career-making event as it makes a person sought after by rich and powerful interest groups. In Congress the majority party can provide more services and is thus more valuable than the minority party. One of our recent presidents who was not rich ended up with $36 million shortly after leaving office, as did former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who served Washington far better than he served his own country.

Wars are profitable for the military/security complex. Israel rewards its servants and punishes its enemies. Staffing environmental regulatory agencies with energy, mining, and timber executives is regarded by those interests as very friendly behavior.

Many Americans understand this and do not bother to vote as they know that whichever candidate or party wins, the interest groups prevail. Ronald Reagan was the last president who stood up to interest groups, or, rather, to some of them. Wall Street did not want his tax rate reductions, as Wall Street thought the result would be higher inflation and interest rates and the ruination of their stock and bond portfolios. The military/security complex did not want Reagan negotiating with Gorbachev to end the cold war.

What is curious is that voters don’t understand how politics really works. They get carried away with the political rhetoric and do not see the hypocrisy that is staring them in the face.

Proud patriotic macho American men voted for Romney who went to Israel and, swearing allegiance to his liege lord, groveled at the feet of Netanyahu.

Obama plays on the heart strings of his supporters by relating a story of a child with leukemia now protected by Obamacare, while he continues to murder thousands of children and their parents with drones and other military actions in seven countries.

Obama was able to elicit cheers from supporters as he described the onward and upward path of America toward greater moral accomplishments, while his actual record is that of a tyrant who codified into law the destruction of the US Constitution and the civil liberties of the American people.

The election was about nothing except who gets to serve the interest groups. The wars were not an issue in the election. Washington’s provoking of Iran, Russia, and China by surrounding them with military bases was not an issue. The unconstitutional powers asserted by the executive branch to detain citizens indefinitely without due process and to assassinate them on suspicion alone were not an issue in the election.

The sacrifice of the natural environment to timber, mining, and energy interests was not an issue, except to promise more sacrifice of the environment to short-term profits. Out of one side of the mouth came the nonsense promise of restoring the middle class while from the other side of the mouth issued defenses of the offshoring of their jobs and careers as free trade.

The inability to acknowledge and to debate real issues is a threat not only to the United States but also to the entire world. Washington’s reckless pursuit of hegemony driven by an insane neoconservative ideology is leading to military confrontation with Russia and China.

Eleven years of gratuitous wars with more on the way and an economic policy that protects financial institutions from their mistakes have burdened the US with massive budget deficits that are being monetized.

The US dollar’s loss of the reserve currency role and hyperinflation are plausible consequences of disastrous economic policy.

How is it possible that “the world’s only superpower” can hold a presidential election without any discussion of these very real and serious problems being part of it?

How can anyone be excited or made hopeful about such an outcome?

This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts' new website Institute For Political Economy.  Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

To Obama Supporters

It is a very sad day. the handwriting on the wall is obscured by ludicrousity, insanity and blatant denial. The masses travail in the muck and mire of an ill-fated illusion. Their deluded hope and belief in a denigrated system, sold out to the power elite. Nothing has changed save a momentary dream awakening to nightmarish proportions. I don't care who thinks I am a vile voice in the wilderness. 

I am a truth warrior, and the truth is the truth. The first time around, no one would listen, so with silent knowing, it came to pass, what could not be spoken aloud. The second time around, courage must speak its truth and open itself to frontal attack from those who cry "naysayer, kill joy, party buster, etc." 

Wake up, people, before it is too late! We live on a prison planet and have just witnessed, the changing of the guards. Same system, different guards. Same system, different keys to the cells. Same system and it will not be changed by the guards or their handlers. NB 

President Obama's second term in the White House was largely secured by record numbers of votes from ethnic minorities, while his popularity among whites plummeted, exit polls have revealed.

Hispanics, the fa

stest-growing demographic in the United States, accounted for ten per cent of all voters in the election, an increase on last year's record of nine per cent, the polls suggested.

Of these, 7
1 per cent voted for Obama, up from 67 per cent in 2008. In a sign Republicans are failing to win over this increasingly influential group, Romney won just 27 per cent.

A record number of Asian voters - three per cent of the electorate - also turned out, with nearly three-quarters backing Obama. He also won a staggering 93 per cent of African-American votes.

Yet while his popularity among ethnic minorities swelled, he received just 39 per cent of the white votes, down by four per cent on the last election, a drop his campaign had anticipated.

Read more:

Considering the 1.5 million deportations, and the incarceration of so many others, it begs to question, why the Hispanics came out so strongly for him. Not to mention the fact that his address to African Americans was stop complaining, take your slippers off and get to work on change. And the closest he came to digging in with the Black masses was hanging out with Jay-Z (a one per center) and Beyonce',(I won't get into what I think about her as a role model for young girls). And writing in on the Census report that he was African American. Not to mention the removal of a towering figure for Black unity and African unity, Muamar Qaddaffi. Hmm, me thinks I sense a hint of cognitive dissonance. NB

"we cling to voting like its our greatest & only chance for change; our one and only lifeboat. we misrepresent ancestors & claim we must participate in the process becuz of their past suffering, while ignoring the fact that their analysis was rooted in their times. since then, we've been brutally uprooted & though we can identify the hour, we never seem to kno what time it is. we swear voting is the answer, and when it doesn't work, we still think it's the answer, and when it's proven to us that it doesn't work, we still think it's the answer, with a birth defect."

Laini Mataka
excerpt from "there's paralysis in our analysis", from THE PRINCE OF KOKOMO by laini (don't tread on me) mataka

Congolese people who turn to become the "lovers-of-America" and who live in America or in Congo or elsewhere and still believing that Obama or Romney or any western groups(civil "rights", NGOs,etc).Any of those vampires,reptiles,looters,criminals will come save you and your country.In contrary,they are plotting to destroy you,remove you from
your land so they can easily get access to your forests,mines,oil,etc.You are the ONLY one to save your country.Then,wake up,team up with your Congolese and others African sisters and brothers to fight against the invaders/aliens,looters.You and your African brothers and sisters together will build a strong Congo and the rest of Africa.

Victory! – for the Non-Resistance

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The More Effective Evil has trounced those Republicans with evil intentions. Folks who never made a single demand of the corporate, war mongering Democrat think they are some kind of victors. “The non-resisters have won a non-victory against an unimpressive enemy,” while Obama plots new atrocities.
Victory! – for the Non-Resistance
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Obama is the more effective austerity president – if the Republicans will just let him work his show.”
Get Away Sandy – God and Obama Will Save Us” read the graffiti, scrawled man-high on a cinderblock wall in the majority Black town of Plainfield, New Jersey. It is an apt articulation of African American politics as we descend into the First Black President’s second term.
Black folks may or may not have a prayer, but they certainly don’t have any earthly influence on the direction of the nation or on a president for whom they gave near-unanimous support, while asking nothing in return.
Wait a minute! I’m hearing echoes of…a familiar voice:
We have learned that Black politicians and activist-poseurs have an infinite capacity to celebrate not having engaged in struggle with Power, and that the Black masses can be made drunk by the prospect of vicariously (through Obama) coming to power.” – Black Agenda Report, “The Obama '08 Phenomenon: What Have We Learned?” November 4, 2008.
As Marx said, history repeats itself, “first as tragedy, then as farce.” Independent Black politics, rooted in the historical African American consensus on social justice, racial equality and peace, definitively collapsed, after a long illness, with the first Obama presidential campaign. The tragedy was compounded, exponentially, by the timing, coinciding with capitalism’s greatest crisis since the Great Depression. The autumn of 2008 was an historical juncture for the nation and the world. Either the people would erect structures to protect themselves from being crushed under the dead weight of a system in terminal decay, or the Lords of Capital would swallow the State whole, and buy themselves some time.
African Americans, the most politically volatile and left-oriented U.S. constituency – a people specifically targeted by Wall Street’s machinations – had an historical role to play. “The man STRUCK,” said Frederick Douglass, “is the man to cry out.” But Black folks had already been struck silly with Obama’Laid.
Despite his background, Obama knew enough about African Americans to pay us no attention and less respect.”
The rulers had, at long last, found our Achilles Heel, the weakest spot in African Americans’ political armor. Our reflexive racial solidarity (actually, an aspect of Black nationalism), which had served us so well, for so long, short-circuited our progressive political instincts. We became fodder for Obama, the slicker-than-Slick-Willie corporate guy with the brown face.
Despite his background, Obama knew enough about African Americans to pay us no attention and less respect. There would be no penalty. Black folks had convinced themselves that Obama needed our protection; it never occurred to most of us that we needed protection from him – not during the primaries, when he praised Ronald Reagan’s reaction to the “excesses” of the Sixties, or when he refused to endorse even a voluntary halt to home foreclosures (while Hillary Clinton and John Edwards endorsed “voluntary” and mandatory moratoriums, respectively); not in the last weeks before his inauguration, when Obama announced that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and all “entitlements” would be “on the table” for chopping under his administration.
Instead, a million Black folks gathered on the National Mall for what we at BAR called “The Great Black Hajj of 2009,” a pilgrimage, as if to Mecca, in celebration of Obama’s ascension. There, he proclaimed to the multitudes: “In the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."
Dutifully, Black folks set aside the last vestiges of their vaunted distrust of Power. Henceforth, African Americans would consider themselves as a Palace Guard – the antithesis of independent political actors. Thus was Obama empowered to become the “More Effective Evil.”
With little resistance on the Left, and virtually none from organized Black America, Obama has worked miracles for the resuscitation of the Lords of Capital and their imperial apparatus – feats that only a Black corporate Democrat could accomplish. After saving George Bush’s bank bailout in October of 2008 (it passed only after candidate Obama’s intervention), Obama undertook the historic mission of placing the U.S. State at the total disposal of finance capital. Under Obama’s watch, the Treasury Department and, especially, the Federal Reserve have funneled at least $16 trillion to Wall Street and its foreign annexes – a sum greater than the national GDP. The “free money” window at the Federal Reserve has become a permanent fixture of the global financial order, permanently blurring the lines between the U.S. state and international finance capital. Obama has embedded the state into the banks, and vice versa, in ways that cannot be undone without causing the system to collapse. In a very real sense, the “good faith and credit” of the United States has become a collective corporate asset of the Lords of Capital – an outcome that fits the classic structural description of fascism. No Republican could have delivered the state apparatus so effectively to the banks – there would have been fierce resistance from within the Democratic base, as well as libertarian Right. But Obama has proven to be the more effective facilitator of the bankers’ state.
Obama has embedded the state into the banks, and vice versa, in ways that cannot be undone without causing the system to collapse.”
Social Security was untouchable – until Obama laid his hands on it. Beginning with his pre-inauguration pronouncements on entitlements, Obama has been the guiding hand of an austerity offensive that did not exist on Election Day, 2008. Instead, Obama made deficit reduction his own priority, at a time when pundits were saying obituaries over the GOP. (Much as they are, today.) The Black Democrat appointed the Right-weighted Deficit Reduction Commission to promulgate a $4 trillion blueprint for austerity, a formula that matched Republic proposals in 2011. The blueprint would have been the basis for Obama’s cherished Grand Bargain had the GOP not balked at “modest” taxes on the rich – levies that are irrelevant to those who will lose their programs under the axe. Obama is the more effective austerity president – if the Republicans will just let him work his show.
Imperial aggression has never fared better than under the opposition-less Obama. At one point, he was bombing five countries simultaneously, pretty good work for a Nobel Peace Prize winner – or did the prize help empower him to such heights of bellicosity? His ever-evolving “Kill List” includes not only individuals of all nationalities (including our own) but also any country whose government is inconvenient to the United States. With “humanitarian” jargon as his only justification, President Obama has attempted to render international law a dead letter. No nation has any rights that he feels bound to respect. Obama, with his drone armadas and multiplying Special Forces troops, represents a far greater threat to global civilization – which must be rooted in law! – than the failed conquerer George Bush (who actually negotiated the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq). Unlike Bush, Obama has promulgated his own, novel doctrine of war, which declares that wars only exist when sufficient numbers of Americans become casualties. Under this construct, Libya was not a war, and the possibilities for U.S. non-war depredations are endless.
Preventive detention is the crown jewel of Obama’s presidential exceptionalism. Statutory authority to imprison Americans without charge or trial was beyond Bush’s reach, and he knew it. But Obama guided a bill through the Congress with very little Democratic opposition. He is the more effective secret police warden.
Now Obama has won another “mandate,” which he will use to finish the projects he started: wider wars, a more profound government subservience to finance capital, and that “new legal architecture” on national security that he warned about on the Daily Show, a few weeks ago. He looks forward to fulfilling his austerity dreams early in his new term: “I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time.”
The non-resisters have won a non-victory against an unimpressive enemy, while the more effective evil plots new atrocities.
You will note that I have not specifically mentioned Black folks since the beginning of this article; that’s because African Americans have made themselves irrelevant – not just for the second Obama presidency, but possibly deep into the future. “Power concedes nothing without a demand,” and Black folks have failed to demand even elementary respect from this president, much less concrete programs, or peace. Obama isn’t the only one who has noted Black ineffectuality. Until an independent African American politics and political movement can be rebuilt, there is no reason for a president or Congress to pay “the Blacks” any more attention than Obama did.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at