Sunday, January 31, 2010

31 January 2010



The above video is from the summer of 2007, when undoubtedly many people shared Lori Harfenist's sentiment that a magical political solution to all that ails us was around the corner. While it seems to me we've run out of magic I imagine for many, more corners are around the corner.

As you may know Howard Zinn died this past week. Avedon Carol notes that his Peoples' History of the US is available online, here.


One of Zinn's last public writings was a brief essay, published recently in The Nation, about the first year of the Obama administration:

via
"I've been searching hard for a highlight," he wrote, adding that he wasn't disappointed because he never expected a lot from Obama.


"I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president - which means, in our time, a dangerous president - unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction."


If Zinn were alive I wonder if he would be troubled by the rush to adopt Haitian kids. Undoubtedly many of them have become orphaned, but surely securing everybody's safety and health is more important right now, and fit prospective parents aren't the sort who will get bored waiting to see if infant x is really orphaned, and decide not to adopt and get new kitchen appliances instead. It's as if small children are Haiti's last natural resource to be appropriated by Americans looking to make a buck.

Sam Smith of The Progressive Review is not a new writer, but he's new to me. Here's an essay seemingly calculated to give Bob from Pacifica vertigo:

"Friends in High Places: Obama and the American Oligarchy
" Longish but worthwhile.


TV reporter/newsreader Melissa Francis of MSNBC says she's "all for small government"(video, 1:45-1:47) in this odd exchange [video link] with Judd Gregg. I thought reporters weren't supposed to weigh in like that, but I guess with Obama praising Reagan at every opportunity and generally kneeling before conservative bromides wherever they are offered, it's OK to say things like that now, and they are no longer "political."


Susie Madrak, "Balancing Budgets on the Backs of The Poor"

Over at Hugo Zoom I'm mainly posting different content nowadays, including this short documentary from UC Santa Cruz, "Dos Americas: The Reconstruction of New Orleans"

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6 Comments:

At February 01, 2010 8:02 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

The piece by Smith reminds one of how Obama actively pursued the presidency which is to say he willingly put on the mantle of executioner knowing full well what it entails. It’s a point I have considered to be important especially when one is confronted by a defense of Obama on the grounds that they made him it. He wants to do it, he wanted to lead the imperial wars, he believes in the imperial wars. Or as someone else wrote – Obama is a player. And I have always thought that Obama’s campaign was like a resume that would be considered by the elite as quite favorable.

 
At February 01, 2010 8:52 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Regarding Howard Zinn’s book it seems very fitting that he spends a lot of time on the history of the Native Americans and their relationship to the U.S. federal government. Everyone should read at least the first chapter regarding Columbus, a psychotic murderer and thief, because it sets the tone for the entire sordid and sad history of the theft of their lands by the Euro-psychos (us). It is very fractal — the tendency for things to look the same at different scales – in that it’s kind of a microcosm of not only all federal government/Native American relations to this very day and moment but it also represents how the federal government treats with the general population as well which is very, very instructive. To study the history of Native Americans, especially from their point of view, is to see what the government is and stands for. Its purpose is to facilitate the domination of one group over another. In this case it is the federal government oppressing the native population for the benefit of whites. In the case of the present economic situation it is the federal government oppressing the general population for the benefit of the ruling classes.

 
At February 01, 2010 10:25 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Your pal Dennis Perrin has a nice appreciation of Zinn up at his blog.

Incidentally, one of the reasons I posted the Resident video is because even though it dates from the summer of '07, it seems like most of the observations re attitudes towards the US government's behavior are relevant today, party change or no party change.

 
At February 01, 2010 11:02 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Yes,it's still relevent today although her last comment made me wince. I read Dennis Perrin's piece, Dennis can really write, I hope he does well with his stand-up comedian project.

 
At February 02, 2010 4:21 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

I well understand the wincing. And the thing is, I don't think Lori Harfenist is some vapid brainless sort who doesn't pay attention to what's going on.

There are a lot of educated people like her, who understand that Obama's not a socialist, that the rest of the industrialized world has more efficient and more equitable access to healthcare, that we're bleeding ourselves dry with tax cuts and the ultra-expensive war machine, but they are fully invested in the "lesser-of-two-evilism" approach, as an ATR commenter called it not so long ago.

 
At February 02, 2010 3:39 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

I didn’t think any negative thoughts about Lori; I think a lot of intelligent people let themselves be fooled. How does the saying go, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Too good to be true that is. People who believe in the lesser of two evils thing ought to go to Wikipedia and read Richard Nixon’s record. Not that Nixon wasn’t a monster like all the rest but compare his record to Obama’s, Nixon looks damn good compared to Obama. Particularly note how he increased benefits for what the libertarian crowd calls government handouts which are actually programs that benefit the elderly and poor. Now watch Obama decrease them, watch social security and Medicare especially. Watch Obama cut those back in the coming years.

 

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