Friday, July 25, 2008

2008--The Year That Isn’t
Make lots of videos. Date everything. Don’t trash any files. If the Dems win the White House and Congress, this year, 2008, will be erased from public memory. So you’ll want to keep private proof that you lived through it.
Part of the magic of America is that, to quote my buddy Karl, we can make the solid vanish into air. We can take notions people have held for eons and shut them off like a radio, never to be thought about again.
If you recall, that’s what happened on February 22, 1972. That was the day Richard Nixon took chow with Mao in Peking's Forbidden City. Up until that trip, Americans had been told for decades that Chairman Mao was the all-time evil dictator of the most fanatically monstrous regime in history. Then, with the soup, Mao magically became Charlie Chan and China turned from a communist tyranny into a capitalist’s wet dream. Slave labor stopped being a horror and was redefined as a neat cost saver for investors. The conventional wisdom that China needed to conquer the world, and particularly San Francisco, to make room for its multiplying millions disappeared on the east wind.
On December 31, 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved itself, abandoning socialism for the poor but keeping it for the soon to be rich. For the preceding 74 years, America’s rulers and their media never stopped warning that the Kremlin master plan for world conquest listed the U.S. as target number one. Not only that, they were responsible for all the troubles on Earth, according to Ronald Reagan. As in China, Russia kept the same ruling elite when it made its big policy change. Only now they called themselves capitalists instead of commissars. They invited our corporations to partner with theirs. With that, the sadistic Soviets instantly transmogrified into benign Buffets and their dark gulags became bright industrial parks. Their commie conspiracy evanesced like a shooting star somewhere over Siberia, never to be seen again.
Now for 2008. The Republicans paraded a cute little kid this week wearing a teeshirt that read, "The mess in my pants is nothing compared to the mess Democrats will make of this country if they win Nov. 2nd." Mark that as among the first assaults on the annum. They’ll be lots more.
Washington and Wall Street and their media are doing their best to fig leaf our flaccid economy. Have no fear the bottom is near is all we hear. Apart from bailing the bourses and keeping bank runs from turning into marathons, their obvious aim is to hide the blame and elect McCain. But if the old Navy flier gets shot down again, this time by Barack-ack, those bets are off. By that point, the Republicans will be geared up to accuse the Dems for the credit calamity.
They will tell their media that 2008, and particularly the sea change on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, never occurred. That’s when, if you recall, our free market financial system was put on life support by the Fed after having collapsed, a victim of its own venality. Instead, the Republicans will fabulate that the economy went south on Inauguration Day. They will repeat it so often that folks will see their suffering as a Democrat Depression. Call it Obama Blues.
The “free enterprisers” will have no choice but to continue to slop at the public trough since there isn’t that much private money on the planet to save the banks and brokerages. But we will all pretend not to notice and will maintain our core myth that private can do no wrong and public can do no right.
Only troublemakers will dare to mention 2008 and that the socialization of Wall Street has supplanted the commercialization of Washington. We’ll become nostalgic for the prosperous Bush II years and won’t vote for Democrats again for a very long time. On the bright side, those 2008 mementos you manage to save will be worth a pretty penny.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Iraq Going, Going, Gone

Iraq Going, Going, Gone
Things are going great guns in Iraq. The military situation, the economy, the political process are all surging smartly. Not surprisingly, the Iraqis are giving notice that they have no further use for the United States of America.
In fact, they never did. They boast a 5,000 year-old civilization, well-watered land, endless oil and gas, and an educated and enterprising population. In other words, the nation did not require any building, but merely rehab after being wrecked by a grisly tyrant, twenty years of war, and a combo bombing and starvation campaign by the U.S.
If you recall, the original fantasy of the Bushies was to quickly conquer the devastated Iraq, install the oleaginous Chalabi as comprador in sheik, scarf up the oil, and use the place as a base to run the Middle East. The Iraqis would report to Greater Israel, Ltd., the regional branch manager for Empires Are US, Inc., of Washington and Wall Street. It was even anticipated that new subsidiaries would quickly be established in Damascus and Tehran.
But those monkeys did not fly out of anyone’s ass. Since the Crusades, the throngs in that particular corner of creation have upheld the bothersome creed that they should rule themselves rather than submit to infidels. Their modes of resistance tend to be idiocentric, drawn out and crazily complex. For instance, they have no problem with temporarily switching sides in the middle of a war if the inducements are sufficiently tempting. Able to multitask mayhems, they see little reason to suspend internal rivalries to unite against a common enemy. And, most vexing of all, they view defeat as no reason for submission. Something can always be arranged. In other words, once you make trouble for them, you’re in over your head even if you’re Gargantua.
Since the Bushies don’t know anything, they don’t know that. Instead, they’ve been refighting Vietnam while the Iraqis are busily proclaiming their divorce from unwanted wives Petraeus, Bush, Cheney and McCain.
You could see it coming. While the Bushies were advising the Iraqis to fear and loathe the Iranians the two were schmoozing on a red carpet of kissyface comity. Indeed it was revealed that Chalabi, the Pentagon’s substitute for Saddam, was in fact a Persian agent of influence. The Iraqis are also on friendly terms with their other neighbors
Getting Americans to understand politics of this sort is like expecting cats to herd mice. Anyway, our yahoos and militarists are all smiles because the surge is splendiferous, while the Iraqis are pleased because they now feel able to maneuver the Americans out the door.
It’s the perfect time for them to make their move. Bush is a lame duck and Obama is an unfledged hawk who prefers Pakistan for his predations. The empire is insolvent and its military exhausted. Successful surge or slick snow job, Americans have long lost their yen for offing generic ragheads and camel jockeys in payback for 9/11.
Those are not the only reasons why Iraq has its chance to break free of the empire, they’re also grounds to do so. What does this proud nation get out of bowing to America and Israel? Why should even the so-called pro-American elements in the Iraqi ruling class give away their nation’s oil to Exxon, Chevron, et. al., for chump change when they can own the whole thing? Why should they become another GI cat house like Okinawa? What can they get from the U.S. that they can’t get from the Europeans, Iranians, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, etc?
Anyway you look at it, the American empire is a loser. It has less and less to offer its clients. Indeed, instead of bossing them around, it is increasingly being manipulated and bought out by them.
Let the Pentagon play out its surge fantasies by paying the Sunnis millions a month not to attack us. Let McCain and company think they have the bad guys on the run. Sometime soon, the Iraqis will demand that we leave, lock, stock and barrel. Will we take their sovereignty seriously and pack up. This would mark us as losers just as Bush and McCain warn. Or would we stay against their will? That means open war against all of Iraq, not just its bad guys.
Zawahiri, number two to bin Laden, foretold this Hobson's choice back when the Iraq war began. The Americans are caught between two fires, he said. If they leave, they lose everything. If they stay, they bleed to death. With Obama and McCain, America has a choice between losers and bleeders.