Thursday, February 25, 2010
Last week, I had a sudden start when I saw the Russian bobsled at the Olympics in Canada sporting the symbol of the two-headed Imperial eagle. It wasn’t nearly as bad as if the German team had arrived with a swastika on its hood, but the imperial eagle did give me a turn, and reminded me of the time in 1991 when the cousins of the Romanovs showed up in Russia, apparently expecting to be restored to the throne of the Russias. I realize that the symbol of the Tsars means little to the people of nearly a hundred years later, but I am the son of refugees from the ruins of their medieval world, and I could not help remembering the line from the poem “I am an American” by Elias Lieberman: “The history of my ancestors is a trail of blood to the palace gate of the Great White Tsar.” Of course the US was consumed in rejoicing that they had brought down the Bolsheviks, and loyalty to the spirit of the Cold War meant that no one spoke of the fact that the police state, the Gulags and the brutal way of dealing with enemies of the State had been inherited by the Reds from the old empire, to say nothing of the corruption and murderous ways that we can still read about in the Russian literature of the XIX century and the early years of the XX. So now all that is left of their pre-revolutionary history is the memory that the West was so busily shielding their dollars and pounds that they were willing to see almost all of civilization consumed by the various tyrants that the Robber Barons took on to beat the Reds. It is so in almost all of EU. The glamour and triumph of the Old Regime is remembered, whether it is in the Tomb of Napoleon or the victories of Wellington and Nelson. The memories of the grinding, ugly life of the Little People is lost in the nostalgia of people like Edmund Burke, while the excesses of Danton, Robespierre, Lenin and Mao are recited endlessly.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I don’t know why it is that I should be so angry at being lied to by the people I have worked so hard to put into government. At least in part it stems from the indignity of being lied to by people who spend their time posing for holy pictures. I resent being taken for an idiot, even if most of the people the liars take me for really are. Obama, who poses as an educated man, and Hillary, who is surely a well-schooled woman, talk about Iran as though they believe that it was not a troubled state even before the Dulles-run fascist puppet was run out of the country. So the 26 years of fascist rule until that time was AOK with them, as were all the fascist allies that were American favorites since the end of WW II 65 years ago. Of course it is in the interest of the Robber Barons that we should despair of a decent government, no matter who is in power, so that Money should rule without any trouble from minor matters like the American Constitution. I must confess that I am much less confused by Hillary than by Obama, so I am satisfied that as bad as he is, she did not actually become president, but this must surely come under the heading of what Alexander Pope described as faint praise. The real blood and sweat come from the fact that American hybris will surely lead us into yet another worthless war, after a standoff in Korea and defeat in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. And we will not stop pursuing the cheap glory of kicking the butts of weak, impoverished countries until the bright dream of America lies in broken ruins about us.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The case of Sen. Shelby of Alabama stands out, but it is far from the only one. A defense contractor in his State is being reviewed with a possibility that another one will get the pork. Shelby has sworn to use his Senatorial privilege to bring all Federal activity in the Senate to a halt until his contractor gets the bacon. In his naïve belief that he can do this at no cost, he is behaving like a 4-year-old who is having a screaming fit in order to demand something he wants, who is prepared to make life miserable for all adults within hearing, and who imagines that no one dares to spank him. And Shelby is not alone. The whole GOP caucus in the Senate is sworn to stand united in support of anyone who is threatening to bring Senate business to a halt in an attempt to strangle the presidency of this Dem in the White House. It is time for Obama to take charge and say that the American government is for adults, not spoiled children, and that severe reaction will be the outcome for the child in Alabama, and for the State that seems to support him, as well the States whose Senators want to play this nursery game. It is of course beneath the dignity of Obama, but Emanuel has the reputation of dealing with screaming children who imagine they can take on the world of adults. In truth, Obama’s dealing with some of those in the Democratic party and others might well have encouraged Shelby to think he could get away with it. We have about 9 months to go until Election Day, and it is time for Obama to deal with spoiled children in Congress. That might even result in people believing that the Dem party is a real force to be dealt with, if only they had something worth while that they were willing to fight for. Into this entire equation we find the question of who is capable of leading the Democratic Party. Obama has a good heart, but not much room in it for the desperate plight of the working people, and none of those who might lead that Party seem to have it either.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
So here we sit, over a year since Obama came to the Presidency, and still waiting for the supposed salvation. Faced with a President who is far more like Hoover than Roosevelt and being dictated to by the very forces that have impoverished the poorest fifths of the work force and resisted the possibility that a Dem administration could have extracted us from a philosophy of economics that is 250 years out of date. We sit still for a Supreme Court that declares the rights of personhood devolve on every gang of pirates who have come up with a corporate charter. Adam Smith knew better and so did Roosevelt. But the likes of Larry Summers have led us to pawn off our future, but only when the proceeds end up in the pockets of the super-rich. And while Obama does make annoyed noises, he seems incapable of galvanizing even the Dem Party, to say nothing of the whole nation, or even the Congress. It is nice that he can make good speeches, but he does not have the attributes that we know as leadership. Just as GOP keeps telling the reactionaries that they stand for the outlawing of abortion but exert all their efforts in further enriching the super-rich, so does Obama use his rhetorical skills not in passing essential legislation but in immobilizing the liberals while people like the Ford heirs get the nation to tolerate their hold on what they have the nerve to describe as their “hard-earned dollars”. So while we worry about the poor millionaires five generations removed from anyone who can be reasonably described as having “earned” that money, we are immobilized while the banksters rob our children of their health and education, and our Nation crumbles intoeconomic ruin. And while Obama might be up to snuff on the law, there is nothing to indicate that he has learned anything from the Roosevelt Administration’s leading of us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.