Wednesday, November 25, 2009

OPINION: Can We Talk About Politics?

Can We Talk?
By Jack Fairweather

Through what passes, in this time of controlled and shallow “news and commentary” written and broadcast, we have all heard President Obama described as the 21st century’s F.D.R.
To describe him as the antithesis, the direct opposite, of the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, would be more accurate.
Becoming the nation’s 32nd President in 1933, Roosevelt faced an economic depression that had forced the country to its knees. He became a charismatic folk hero because he offered himself to the American people as their leader in a fight against those he termed “economic royalists” who, he said, “had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, people’s money, other people’s labor-other people’s lives.”
He closed the banks, took the country off the gold standard and his administration’s investigations exposed the recklessness and criminality of Wall Street. Robert Fitch, author of “How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America’s Promise” says President Obama reminds him of another hero of the depression era, Lamont Cranston, “The Shadow” a popular radio detective.
Cranston used his uncanny ability to cloud men’s minds so that he seemed invisible.
Now, the President is certainly not invisible, but like Cranston he has the ability, the power, thanks to a tame mainstream media, to cloud our minds in the service of the established order.
He has embraced Wall Street and what might be called the FIRE industry,( finance, insurance, real estate and the shadow banking industry. He has, through his acceptance, if not his blessing, of global corporate capitalism, given the green light to that conglomerate of hedge funds, investment banks, private equity bankers and their like whose motto has always been profit before the common good.
Trillions of tax dollars have gone to them as “stimulus” and still they whine and ask for more. The next time you hear some pundit, right or left, pontificating about the “FDR of the 21st century” go ahead and scoff and, if you can afford the pencil and paper, or your internet account is current, send them a suggestion that they research the history books.
FDR’s fight was against finance capitalism rather than “capitalism” per se, Obama has, so far, seemed more than willing to accommodate a global corporate version of what FDR believed would undermine national governments and the rights of their citizens.
Well now, the wars? Perking right along. Plenty of blood being shed. Plenty of war profiteer dollars exchanging hands.
War plans for the future? A very influential Pentagon strategist, Dr. David Kilcullen, has testified before the Senate that Afghanistan and Pakistan will require at least two more years of “significant combat” and “hard fighting” at a cost of about $2 billion per month. Currently the cost figure is $4 billion per month.
Kilcullen is also a very important contributor to the Pentagon’s plan for a 50-year “Long War” of counterinsurgency across Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, the Phillipines and anywhere else there seems to be a “threat”.
By the way, “significant combat” and “hard fighting” are Pentagon euphemisms for increasing American casualties during the eight year history of the war projected over the next two years.
Kilcullen and the Pentagon have not enlightened us as to how many innocent civilians and the infrastructure required for their survival will be left after two years or fifty years of “significant combat”. Oh! Almost forgot! Universal health care? No. There will not be universal health care for Americans. At this writing, the U.S. Senate has not considered a bill. And if it does, and the bill passes, it will not reflect real universal health care for all Americans. The insurance industry knows exactly where to put it’s influence, favors and dollars in Washington. It has done so.

Jack Fairweather is an educator and a trustee on the village board in Magdalena. His views do not necessairly represent the Mountain Mail.

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