“Yes, we can” turns deadly

7 10 2010

In the past, I wished upon a star that Obama’s election to the American presidency would pop the idealism cherry of a new generation.  I can’t help but noticed I missed something.  At least so far.

After Obama was elected, everyone was happy he wasn’t Bush.  And why not?  Bush was a tyrant.  Bad things deserved to happen to the nether regions of George Bush as some kind of karmic retribution for all the terrible things he did.  But what people fail to realise is that Obama has been no better.

And no, let me preface the following by saying that I really don’t care about Obama’s “socialism” or whatever else certain American demographics have falsely branded the guy with. (hint: the words “Muslim” and “terrorist” immediately spring to mind)

Seems like a good dose of “he isn’t Bush,” is more powerful than rohypnol.  After all, if Bush had carried out raids on anti-war activists, half the world would be up in arms.

As Cindy Sheehan wrote in a blog post for Al Jazeera,

“These raids have terrifying implications for dissent here in the US.

First of all, these US citizens have been long-time and devoted anti-war activists who organised an anti-war rally that was violently suppressed by the US police state in Minneapolis-St. Paul, during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Because the Minneapolis activists have integrity, they had already announced that they would do the same if the Democrats hold their convention there in 2012.

I have observed that it was one thing to be anti-Bush, but to be anti-war in the age of Obama is not to be tolerated by many people. If you will also notice, the only people who seem to know about the raids are those of us already in the movement. There has been no huge outcry over this fresh outrage, either by the so-called movement or the corporate media.

I submit that if George Bush were still president, or if this happened under a McCain/Palin regime, there would be tens of thousands of people in the streets to protest. This is one of the reasons an escalation in police state oppression is so much more dangerous under Obama – even now, he gets a free pass from the very same people who should be adamantly opposed to such policies.

Secondly, I believe because the raids happened to basically ‘unsung’ and unknown, but very active workers in the movement, that the coordinated, early morning home invasions were designed to intimidate and frighten those of us who are still doing the work. The Obama regime would like nothing better than for us to shut up or go underground and to quit embarrassing it by pointing out its abject failures and highlighting its obvious crimes.

Just look at how the Democrats are demonising activists who are trying to point out the inconvenient truth that the country (under a near Democratic tyranny) is sliding further into economic collapse, environmental decay and perpetual war for enormous profit.”

So, let’s just recap;

  • Bombing campaigns conducted inside allied country’s borders — yes, we can!
  • Continuation of Bush era legal doctrines to maintain government cover-ups — yes, we can!
  • Increased support for secret special forces groups to conduct extra-judicial killings in Afghanistan — yes, we can!
  • Extra-judicial executions of American citizens abroad– yes, we can!
  • Scaling up almost decade long war in developing country for access to resources (minerals) — yes, we can!
  • Declaration of “victory” in Iraq despite continued American presence — yes, we can!
  • Raids on anti-war activists for being anti-war — yes, we can!

Who knew the inspirational phrase, “yes, we can” would have such a downside?  Then I can’t imagine the world would be much safer with McCain leading America, either.  “No leaders” probably doesn’t seem like such an radical proposal for those across the pond.

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UPDATE:

Found this great article at The Superfluous Man discussing how Obama is no different from the average, big name political pundit, but also the inability for critiques from all corners of statist politics to grasp exactly this fact.

Why on earth wouldn’t he? He’s blowing hundreds of billions on the stimulus so that he and his political allies can fund pet projects, justify the exercise of greater influence and power over society and pass out government swag to friends, allies, and supporters. He’s doing the standard, normal thing for someone with political power to do – he’s just able to do more because of the circumstances he finds himself in.

He wants to raise taxes on higher income brackets? So does every other center-left politician cultivating his “friend of the people” persona. He wants to increase federal involvement in this or that sector of the economy? He’d be a bizarre anomaly if he was a major American politician who didn’t.

The same can be said of questions raised by faltering or disenchanted Obama supporters: Why hasn’t he shown interest in liberalizing drug laws? Why isn’t he renouncing the Bush era’s offenses against civil liberties and separation of powers? Why is he handing out wagonloads of boodle to big corporations?

Why would it be otherwise?

The problem D’Souza has- and that many conservative critics of Obama have, and that many liberal admirers of Obama have- is this: He thinks there must be some interesting, unusual, or complex explanation for what is actually entirely mundane, typical behavior with a mundane, typical explanation.

The conservative reaction to Obama’s programs are remarkably similar to the liberal reaction to George W. Bush, which also tended to ridiculously exaggerate the novelty of what Bush was doing by acting as if incremental changes building on established precedent were new and shocking.





The truth is out

15 06 2010

(CNN) — U.S. military officials and geologists have determined that the mineral deposits in Afghanistan are worth nearly $1 trillion, the Pentagon said Monday.

Vast supplies of minerals such as iron, copper and gold, all with worldwide technological applications, are scattered over the country, according to the Defense Department.

But officials caution that they won’t be easy to extricate and that it will take years to turn this newfound mineral wealth into actual revenue.

“It’s not a quick win,” the U.S. Geological Survey’s Jack Medlin said at a Pentagon briefing Monday.

Pentagon and State Department officials acknowledged that extraction efforts are challenged by remote locations, a weak infrastructure, a dearth of heavy vehicles and equipment, and a strong insurgent presence.

First they came for the terrorists, then they came to rip up the earth and claim someone else’s wealth.  The spectre of neo-colonialism raises its ugly head.  Empires trade Iraqi’s for oil and Afghani’s for minerals.  Anyone who suspected that the American government was going to cease and desist from its swaray across the world,has been misguided.  It may come in the form of ‘help’ or ‘assistance’ but Americans are going to be in Afghanistan for decades.





The attempted NY terrorist attack

10 05 2010

I would just like to take this brief opportunity to point out some neglected facts regarding the terrorist plot in NY.

As time goes on, the foiled terrorist attack is being billed as a victory for the authorities and a sobering warning to the people of the West that the threat is not over.

Sure, the fact that there was an attempt is shocking.

Sure, it was lucky that it was stopped in time.

But let’s put things into context;  America has been involved in two open wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade and proxy wars in Somalia and Pakistan.  The ‘Pakistani Taliban’ who are now, reportedly, credited with ordering the attack — except the “Taliban” don’t exist, but are made up of an ethnic minority called the ‘Pashtun’ whose tribal groups are split by the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.  US drone attacks that have been continued and increased under Obama’s presidency has frequently resulted in the deaths of many civilians living around areas where the US military claims “terrorists” and the “Taliban” are operating.  The people who sought to carry out this attack are a bunch of poor, angry villagers and tribesmen living near the Afghani-Pakistan border.  Let’s not forget that and dehumanise who these people are, instead of referring to them as ‘The Pakistani Taliban with connections to Al Qaeda’.

The next question that is being raised is, how can this American citizen, with his life of luxury and extended education do such a thing against a country that gave him so much?  Well, above is your answer.  America’s war on terror that Obama has been continuing, albeit with more moderate rhetoric, acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The whole concept rests on an unknown threat.  The authorities know that it exists somewhere, but do not know when it is going to strike (thank you, Donald Rumsfield).  Therefore the only solution is to prepare to counteract that threat.  Domestic legislation  aimed at increasing security through stripping away civil liberties and marginalising particular nationalities or ethnic minorities in day-to-day tasks, is combined with the external strategy of bombing anyone who you feel may remotely appear to be a terrorist.  The obvious problem is that those people who appear to be terrorists are usually poor villagers, while others view themselves as reacting to some kind of structural or social injustice in their own countries government, usually left over from colonisation.  By bombing them, you generate anger and anger generates “terrorists”.

People with educations tend to be more critical of what is going on and will notice this.  People who feel they belong to the same marginalised and mistreated minority will certainly understand this.  Of course, not all of them take up the rifle to rectify the situation, (disclaimer: I am not attempting to justify this action, either) but inevitably, some will.  They are angry and there will be reprisals against the people who elected that government — the very same people democratic rhetoric has declared the government’s “boss” for so long now.  This presents an ethical dilemma, should people really be surprised when there is a terrorist attack on domestic soil when a nation has declared a “war” on a group, person, thing or idea?  Have people really become so desensitised to war, that they believe their government can engage in all sorts of military action without domestic populations ever having to experience reprisals?

Then there is another neglected fact; for all the fear-mongering and rapid expansion of US security by conservatives, neo-liberals, progressives and every other authoritarian ideology, not one government official noticed anything throughout the process of planning, preparation, production and placement of the bomb.  Who did notice?  Some guy on the street who saw smoke coming from a car — a guy without a badge — in a moment of pure dumb-luck.  So for all the money spent, the queues at the airports, the background checks and re-checks, the pat downs, the dogs, the cameras, the guys with guns and tasers, the bag searches at airports, the increase of police power, the expansion of overseas conflicts, not one of these measures picked up on the terrorist plot.

Why?  We come back to the idea of the threat being unknown and unknowable.  You don’t know where it will happen or when, but the powers that be urge us to prepare, which in turn creates a threat that no amount of preparation is going to prevent and then, game over.





When Obama meets Rudd,

25 03 2009

A consensus is formed.  They’ve agreed to drop more bombs (Afghanistan) and to more interference in our lives (regulation).  Though I’ve got no idea where the Americans will be getting the money from.

And the US President has also promised to end the “shenanigans” in the finance sector that triggered the global recession and to regulate to return to a state of responsible economic growth.

Mr Obama’s comments came early this morning after a 70-minute meeting with Kevin Rudd at the White House.

The first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders was dominated by the economy and Afghanistan amid widespread expectations Mr Obama will ask Australia to increase its military involvement in the troubled nation beyond its current troop strength of 1100.

But he said that despite the mounting death toll in the seven-year-old war, the involvement of the US and its Allies had failed to eliminate the threat of terrorism from Al-Qaida and its affiliates.

“I think the American and the Australian people also recognise that in order for us to keep our homelands safe, in order to maintain our way of life in order to ensure order on the international scene, that we can’t allow vicious killers to have their way,” Mr Obama told reporters in the Oval Office.

“We’re going to do what’s required to ensure that does not happen.”

Mr Obama said he understood the public frustration over the need to send troops overseas, some never to return to their families.

“As a consequence it’s important for us to stay on the offensive and to dismantle these terrorist organisations wherever they are.”

Mr Rudd also said he was confident concerted action by governments would be able to stabilise the global financial system.

But he said the new challenge facing the world was to replace dependence on speculative investment bubbles with new and safer drivers of economic growth.

Yes, because K Rudd (or Krudd for those that haven’t got the joke) has had a great grasp of economics so far; handing out free money when the economy was headed for a recession regardless, causing a run on financial institutions, proposing the nationalisation of the banking sector…

I don’t think anyone told him that regulation and interference by the American government started the financial crisis in the first place.  Oh, but wait, they’ve already jumped the gun.








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