STEVEN JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH
Wikileaks is all the rage right now -- in two senses. The substantive rage is among those U.S. people who care about the nefarious and sometimes illegal schemes that its government has perpetrated on the U.S. and around the world for so many years; among the peoples of other countries who suffered from those schemes; and the foreign governments who were complicit on the schemes and now stand exposed. The process rage is on the part of U.S. officials and media who want to totally distract the U.S. people from the content of the leaks onto whether Mr. Assange is a spy, an unsafe modern Casanova, a terrorist, or worse. (Can't be treason, folks, because he ain't a U.S. citizen and likely never will be.) And they are surely succeeding in the U.S., although hardly abroad.
The British have a civilized approach to the Wikileaks-type projects. They actually openly publish almost all of their secret government papers. The only difference is that under The Official Secrets Act, the publication comes 50 years or so after the fact. And so we come to "Munich." On September 30, 1938, at a conference held in Munich, Germany, along with the French and the Italians the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler "permission" to invade the nation of Czechoslovakia
STEVEN JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH
On the day after the 2010 national elections, Evan Bayh, retiring Senator from Indiana, laid out very clearly the current political and policy program of the dominant power in the Democratic Party, the Democratic Leadership Council. The reasons for the Democratic losses around the country, so Bayh told us (paraphrasing in quotes), were that Obama was "too far left," that he should have "pushed jobs," not pushed health care reform so hard, and should have taken it easier on Wall Street and the banks. "Cut taxes, attack the budget, grab the center" was the central headline in the piece. Obama has to "move to the center," needs to "reach across the aisle," and "must learn to work with GOP in order to get things done." Demonstrating all the while just how devoted he is to the future of the Democratic Party, non-candidate Bayh did not mention that he has a $10,000,000 campaign fund of which he apparently did not share a penny with any other politicians. This in a year when Democratic candidates around the country were under overwhelming Citizens United/US Chamber of Commerce totally anonymous advertising assaults from the Far Right and the Corporate Power. Some Democrat. One must wonder if he is planning a primary assault on Obama from the Right in 2012, possibly angling for a deal for the Vice-Presidency for himself.
STEVEN JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH
While President, Ronald Reagan did the following:
- Firmly established racism as the center of the modern Republican electoral strategy, confirming that the Nixon "Southern Strategy" of 1968 would be permanently ensconced there;
- Firmly established anti-choice as the Republican position of choice in the matter of belief as to when life begins;
- Introduced ahistoricity into American politics for good;
- Created the myth that tax-cuts can lead to prosperity and reduce federal deficits;
- Permanently ensconced, in the number one position in the GOP political playbook, the electoral strategy built upon the success of the "anti-tax" Proposition 13 in California in 1978;
- Established the modern Republican approach to federal spending: cutting it on everything they possibly can except the military, prisons, corporate farming, the extractive industries and favors for wealthy contributors, while reducing tax revenues to the greatest extent possible with tax cuts for the rich, leading to the creation of massive federal deficits that only got much worse under George W. Bush;
- Established mean-ness, every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost, as an acceptable attribute;
- Established the precedent that (Republican) Presidents can break federal law and get away with it with the Iran/Contra scheme that directly violated a piece of federal legislation called the "Boland Amendment," which prohibited such actions;
- Canceled, to the extent he could, all federal government contracts for the development of energy sources alternative to fossil fuels;
- Showed that a not-very-smart, mildly educated, and generally ignorant man can become an acting President if he is a right-winger who can command big campaign contributions from corporate special interests, is telegenic, speaks well from cue cards, and has the right agents, managers, and promoters (sound familiar?); and
- Showed that a man with a serious mental illness can be maintained in the Presidency if he is a Republican and has the right agents, managers, and promoters.
One short definition (mine) of fascism is:
"Fascism is a politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; no independent judiciary; no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who run the government; no inherent personal rights or liberties; a single national ideology that first demonizes and then criminalizes all political, religious, and ideological opposition to it; the massive and regular use of hate, fear, racial and religious prejudice, the Big Lie technique, mob psychology and mob actions to achieve political and economic ends; and total corporate determination of economic, fiscal, and regulatory policy."
In an article in The New York Times on December 2, 2007 (Herzenhorn, D., "How the Filibuster Became the Rule") the GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told us how it would be whenever the GOP had that solid minority of 40 votes in the Senate: "I think that we can stipulate once again for the umpteenth time that matters that have any level of controversy about it [sic] in the Senate will require 60 votes." In December, 2008, the titular leader of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, announced his wish for the incoming Obama Administration. It was four words long: "I hope he fails." Working together, Limbaugh and McConnell have converted Limbaugh's "hope" to pretty much of a certainty in terms of legislation and appointments. Very skillfully using the filibuster and the internal pressure he can exert on his members, McConnell has made the myth that "Obama caused the mess," which you hear every day on Beckoning Savagely Le-vinitating O'RHannibaugh come absolutely true, preventing Obama from doing the really big things that need to be done if the mess is ever to be cleaned up. And all the while Obama just about never makes that point. The GOP's Perfect Storm.
Homophobia has been around for a long time. It turns up in the Old Testament of the Bible as well as in the New. The Republican Religious Right relies on that view in support of its homophobia, and cites chapters and verses in support of it. (Not every religious scholar agrees with that interpretation of the Bible. Indeed, Minister Peter Gomes, the well-known gay [and African-American] Baptist long-time director of the Harvard Divinity School, strongly disagrees with it [see Gomes, P.J., "Homophobic? Re-read Your Bible," New York Times, August 17, 1992, and Westminster, J., The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022, East Setauket, NY, Thomas Jefferson Press, 1996, pp.155-56]). In modern times it was used by the Nazis to promote their ideology once Hitler's dictatorship had been established. Indeed, despite the fact that the head of the Sturmabteilung, the SA, the most prominent pre-1933 Nazi armed force, Ernst Roehm, was himself homosexual and Hermann Goering was a cross-dresser, the Nazis went after the gays as their identity group of choice for demonization before they went after the Jews full force.
Homophobia has been around for a long time. It turns up in the Old Testament of the Bible as well as in the New. The Republican Religious Right relies on that view in support of its homophobia, and cites chapters and verses in support of it. (Not every religious scholar agrees with that interpretation of the Bible. Indeed, Minister Peter Gomes, the well-known gay [and African-American] Baptist long-time director of the Harvard Divinity School, strongly disagrees with it [see Gomes, P.J., "Homophobic?
The 9/11 remembrances and memorials seem to have come and gone very quickly this year, except to the extent that the GOP/Tea-Party led campaign for Islamophobia had gained strength and will continue on, to what ends and endings no one at this point can say with certainty. (For more of my thoughts on that issue, see my last BuzzFlash Commentary.)
But the 9/11 controversy has not gone away, that is, the controversy over what were the real causes of the disaster. It will not, at least until there is another investigation of the tragedy bringing in many more witnesses and testifiers from many different points of view and perspectives with an opportunity to raise so many questions that have yet to be answered and to offer for consideration scientific evidence about cause and effect that was not considered in the first investigation.
As Alan Grayson said (Email message, 8/22/10): "As far as the Republican Party is concerned, they wouldn't mind if Timothy McVeigh wins the Republican primary [in his Florida Congressional district] on Tuesday. (And by the way, if McVeigh ran, he would win.) The National Republican Party doesn't care who wins on Tuesday. They just want to get rid of me. Whoever wins the Republican primary, you can be sure that he fits the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, hateful, fearful mold that is the National Republican Party of 2010. And that mold gets moldier every day."
Do you think that Mr. Grayson went too far with the Timothy McVeigh comment? In a speech last month, talking to the faithful, Sean Hannity referred to them as "Timothy McVeigh wannabees" -- to great applause.
STEVEN JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH
Back on March 21, 2007, in a column on The Political Junkies.net, the predecessor webmagazine to TPJmagazine.us, I speculated that perhaps the primary objective of the Iraq Invasion from the beginning was not "oil and bases" which so many of us figured it was when the war was commenced. Rather, I then surmised, it was to establish the basis for Permanent War. At that time I thought that the reason for doing this was political, to establish the basis for Karl Rove's dream of a Permanent Republican Majority. The real purpose of the so-called "Surge" in my view, an action that was strongly opposed by none other than James Baker et al and Bob Gates (see the article referenced above), was to establish the on-the-ground implementation of that strategy.
Unfortunately for that Bush/Cheney aim, Iraq is enough of a politically advanced country to have eventually told Bush that the US had to get out. It will be, next year. Come what may on the ground. The current Iraqi government (no radicals they) simply does not want US troops on the ground for very much longer. So, Permanent War folks, what to do? Afghanistan, that's what. But why, you might ask. The GOP is not in power, at least not formally, although through the use of the filibuster in the Senate they effectively run the Congress. Well let's take a look at that question.
In 1987 the Yale historian Paul Kennedy published a prescient book entitled The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Random House). From the back cover copy: "Although the United States is at present still in a class of its own economically and perhaps even militarily, it cannot avoid confronting the two great tests which challenge the longevity of every major power that occupies the 'number one' position in world affairs: whether, in the military/strategical realm, it can preserve a balance between the nation's perceived defense requirements and the means it possesses to maintain those commitments; and whether, as an intimately related point, it can preserve the technological and economic bases of its power from relative erosion in the face of ever-shifting patterns of global production. . . . [T]he United States now runs the risk, so familiar to historians of the rise and fall of previous Great Powers, of what might roughly be called 'imperial overstretch:' that is to say, decision makers in Washington must face the awkward and enduring fact that the sum total of the United States' global interests and obligations is nowadays far larger than the country's power to defend them all simultaneously."