Friday, August 29, 2008

Bloomberg and Chavez

Bloomberg and Chavez
New York mayor Mike Bloomberg likes his job so much he wants to keep it. The problem is that the law restricts him to two terms. So to get the law changed he’s meeting with business leaders, including the publishers of the three major newspapers in the city. He’s popular with the big money crowd and they’re likely to help him.
Congress people, local pols and lots of foreign leaders can keep their jobs as long as they get reelected. They say that had he lived FDR would still be president.
A few months back, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez went not to business but to the voters to similarly repeal a two term limit on the presidency. That proposal was part of a package of constitutional changes that the citizens rejected on a close 51-49 percent vote. Chavez gracefully accepted his defeat, allowing that he might revisit those issues in the future.
I follow the media reasonably closely. They have not, as far as I know, branded Bloomberg a dictator scheming to be mayor for life. But that is exactly what they said--and still say--about Chavez.
By any fair standard, Venezuela has become the most democratic nation in the hemisphere. Elections are fair and turnout is massive. The opposition and its media are free to the point of indulgence. They are even allowed to go so far as to call for coups and the killing of government officials. There are no political prisoners. And there are no government death squads butchering the opposition as in Columbia, Washington’s preferred model for Latin democracy.
More importantly, the great majority of citizens have taken control of their society and their own lives by way of a myriad of new and evolving self-help initiatives that extend from the barrios to the nation at large. They finally have their own government using the nation’s great energy wealth to better themselves and move Latin America towards an integrated, prosperous and democratic community akin to the European Union.
I said ‘any fair standard’ above. You will hardly find one across our political and media horizon. It has been decided at our leading levels that the Venezuelan example is a threat to business as usual and cannot be be allowed to thrive or spread. Therefore it must be subverted in private and demonized in public.
So we have Chavez, a democratic leader, constantly portrayed as a dictator. We have a perfectly peaceful county that has never fought a war depicted as a violent threat to its neighbors. And we have a nation with a close and warm relationship with the U.S. labeled anti-American because its people have good reason to be highly critical of the Bush regime and the policies of empire long despised across the continent.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Will Obama Sell Out to the Liberals?

Will Obama Sell Out to the Liberals?

No wonder rightwingers think liberals are immoral and lacking in family values. Millions of liberals are ardently trusting that Obama will cheat on his bed mate and romance them instead.
It’s a fact that Barack’s in the sack with corporate and imperial America. His main pillow partner when it comes to mega bucks and macro priorities is Goldman Sachs, which, if you recall, provides treasury secretaries and grand strategy to both Dem and Rep regimes.
Also occupying Obama’s oligopolic ottoman are JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Union Banque Suisse, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, etc. This is the crowd that switched America from a manufacturing to a finance economy (see Stuff Versus Money below), which collapsed last spring and has since been replaced by socialism for the rich and feudalism for everyone else.
They expect Obama to continue to grant them first dibs on everything. That means an ever increasing concentration of wealth that sinks millions of mere citizens while keeping the yachting set riding high in the water. That’s what Barack's bucks from business are buying. You can be sure they're dead serious about getting their money's worth.
The empire acolytes to whom Obama has promised 90,000 more troops, a bigger violence budget, and busier interventionist policies than Bush are also depending on his good faith. He says Afghanistan must remain the most fought over backwater on earth. He’s hot to trot into Pakistan even against the violent opposition of 170 million Pakis. He's incensed by Iran, a country that hasn't attacked another in 270 years, and adoring of Israel, a country that envisions its borders in line with God's realty offering in Genesis 15:18. He agrees with Bush that the U.S. rather than Russia must be the regional power in the Caucasus. And he’s lined up squarely with the worst reactionaries in Latin America against the broad and deep wave of democratic reform sweeping that continent.
So what are the millions who forked up chump change for Obama paying for? Vague promises, indefinite indications and soothing cliches. That’s what they should expect.
Amazingly, they expect more. They think that on being elected Obama will turn faithless to finance and becoming loving of liberals. They think Obama will reform and revive the nation, inspiring a new era of concern for the many rather than the few, reasonableness in maintaining our global interests, and setting an aura of goodwill that brings us all together in rousing choruses of Cumbaya.
I’m not that cynical. I think Obama’s an honest guy. He’ll stay true to those what brung him.