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Cornel West slams ‘counterfeit’ Obama’s presidency

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Re-printed from RT.

082614_Cornel-West

Published time: August 25, 2014 16:45

Cornel West, activist and professor at Union Theological Seminary, ripped Barack Obama’s “Wall Street presidency,” calling him another neoliberal “counterfeit” after posing as a progressive in his initial campaign for the White House in 2008.

“We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency,” West told Salon.com’s Thomas Frank.

“The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair.”

Public intellectual West lamented Obama’s failure – or refusal – to attempt a revival of democratic principles at a time of “an empire in decline.”

“Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody—a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility.”

West said at a time of deep need for solutions, for a change of culture in the gilded halls of Washington, Obama was another “opportunist.”

“It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.”

Looking back, West said he believes Obama’s “motus operandi” has always consisted of seeking to placate the powers-that-be and to occupy the “middle ground,” even though he acted the part of a transcendent figure during his campaign 2008, the year that saw the beginning of the Great Recession.

“And so what did he do? Every time you’re headed toward middle ground what do you do? You go straight to the establishment and reassure them that you’re not too radical, and try to convince them that you are very much one of them so you end up with a John Brennan, architect of torture [as CIA Director]. Torturers go free but they’re real patriots so we can let them go free. The rule of law doesn’t mean anything.”

West also chided US Attorney General Eric Holder for his cozy relationship with Wall Street.

“Eric Holder won’t touch the Wall Street executives; they’re his friends. He might charge them some money. They want to celebrate. This money is just a tax write-off for these people. There’s no accountability. No answerability. No responsibility that these people have to take at all.”

Looking back, West said he believes Obama’s “motus operandi” has always consisted of seeking to placate the powers-that-be and to occupy the “middle ground,” even though he acted the part of a transcendent figure during his campaign 2008, the year that saw the beginning of the Great Recession.

“And so what did he do? Every time you’re headed toward middle ground what do you do? You go straight to the establishment and reassure them that you’re not too radical, and try to convince them that you are very much one of them so you end up with a John Brennan, architect of torture [as CIA Director]. Torturers go free but they’re real patriots so we can let them go free. The rule of law doesn’t mean anything.”

West also chided US Attorney General Eric Holder for his cozy relationship with Wall Street.

“Eric Holder won’t touch the Wall Street executives; they’re his friends. He might charge them some money. They want to celebrate. This money is just a tax write-off for these people. There’s no accountability. No answerability. No responsibility that these people have to take at all.”

West said Holder will likely step down by the end of the year, as he is “concerned about his legacy as if he’s somehow been swinging for black folk ever since he’s been in there. That’s a lie. He’s been silent, too. He’s been relatively silent. He’s made a couple of gestures in regards to the New Jim Crow and the prison-industrial complex, but that’s just lately, on his way out. He was there for six years and didn’t do nothing.”

The post-Obama era will be “an America in post-traumatic depression,” West said, and the likely successor in the White House, “neo-liberal opportunist par excellence” Hillary Clinton, will be “much worse.”

“Hillary Clinton is an extension of Obama’s Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, national surveillance, national security presidency. She’d be more hawkish than he is, and yet she’s got that strange smile that somehow titillates liberals and neo-liberals and scares Republicans. But at that point it’s even too hard to contemplate.”

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How The Looting Works

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Former WellPoint VP Elizabeth Fowler sits behind her boss, Sen. Max Baucus, as he announces in 2009 that the health care bill will have no public option. Photograph: screen grab, Bill Moyers' Journal

Former WellPoint VP Elizabeth Fowler sits behind her boss, Sen. Max Baucus, as he announces in 2009 that the health care bill will have no public option. Photograph: screen grab, Bill Moyers’ Journal

Take a lesson on how the looting works in America.


Obamacare architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job

Few people embody the corporatist revolving door greasing Washington as purely as Elizabeth Fowler.

Then there’s the local scandal sheet list on Humboldt Herald:

1) Another local paper weighs in on the CAB scandal
2) NCJ on school bonds
3) Trinidad USD has poison too, but just a bit
4) McK USD Superintendent on their bond bombs
5) Bill Holmes on McK’s school junk bonds
and …
6) 1300% in interest?! The press is on it!!
7) More on bond scams
8) LCO Bombshell (repost): will McK schools really pay $56M to borrow $4M?

–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

December 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm

“Democratic Womanism” by Alice Walker

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Alice Walker’s poem, Democratic Womanism” is reproduced here because it is appropriate and important for our times.  When she read it on Democracy Now it touched a nerve.

“Democratic Womanism”

You ask me why I smile
when you tell me you intend
in the coming national elections
to hold your nose
and vote for the lesser of two evils.
There are more than two evils out there,
is one reason I smile.
Another is that our old buddy Nostradamus
comes to mind, with his fearful
400 year old prophecy: that our world
and theirs too
(our “enemies” – lots of kids included there)
will end (by nuclear nakba or holocaust)
in our lifetime. Which makes the idea of elections
and the billions of dollars wasted on them
somewhat fatuous.
A Southerner of Color,
my people held the vote
very dear
while others, for centuries,
merely appeared to play
with it.
One thing I can assure
you of is this:
I will never betray such pure hearts
by voting for evil
even if it were microscopic
which, as you can see in any newscast
no matter the slant,
it is not.
I want something else;
a different system
entirely.
One not seen
on this earth
for thousands of years. If ever.
Democratic Womanism.
Notice how this word has “man” right in the middle of it?
That’s one reason I like it. He is right there, front and center. But he is surrounded.
I want to vote and work for a way of life
that honors the feminine;
a way that acknowledges
the theft of the wisdom
female and dark Mother leadership
might have provided our spaceship
all along.
I am not thinking
of a talking head
kind of gal:
happy to be mixing
it up
with the baddest
bad boys
on the planet
her eyes a slit
her mouth a zipper.
No, I am speaking of true
regime change.
Where women rise
to take their place
en masse
at the helm
of earth’s frail and failing ship;
where each thousand years
of our silence
is examined
with regret,
and the cruel manner in which our values
of compassion and kindness
have been ridiculed
and suppressed
brought to bear on the disaster
of the present time.
The past must be examined closely, I believe, before we can leave
it there.
I am thinking of Democratic, and, perhaps
Socialist, Womanism.
For who else knows so deeply
how to share but Mothers
and Grandmothers? Big sisters
and Aunts?
To love
and adore
both female and male?
Not to mention those in between.
To work at keeping
the entire community
fed, educated
and safe?
Democratic womanism,
Democratic Socialist
Womanism,
would have as its icons
such fierce warriors
for good as
Vandana Shiva
Aung San Suu Kyi,
Wangari Maathai
Harriet Tubman
Yoko Ono
Frida Kahlo
Angela Davis
& Barbara Lee:
With new ones always rising, wherever you look.

You are also on this list, but it is so long (Isis would appear midway) that I must stop or be unable to finish the poem! So just know I’ve stood you in a circle that includes Marian Wright Edelman, Amy Goodman, Sojourner Truth, Gloria Steinem and Mary McLeod Bethune. John Brown, Frederick Douglass, John Lennon and Howard Zinn are there. Happy to be surrounded!

There is no system
There is no system
now in place
that can change
the disastrous course
the Earth is on.
Who can doubt this?
The male leaders
of Earth
appear to have abandoned
their very senses
though most appear
to live now
entirely
in their heads.
They murder humans and other
animals
forests and rivers and mountains
every day
they are in office
and never seem
to notice it.
They eat and drink devastation.
Women of the world,
Women of the world,
Is this devastation Us?
Would we kill whole continents for oil
(or anything else)
rather than limit
the number of consumer offspring we produce
and learn how to make our own fire?
Democratic Womanism.
Democratic Socialist Womanism.
A system of governance
we can dream and imagine and build together. One that recognizes
at least six thousand years
of brutally enforced complicity
in the assassination
of Mother Earth, but foresees six thousand years
ahead of us when we will not submit.
What will we need? A hundred years
at least to plan: (five hundred will be handed us
gladly
when the planet is scared enough)
in which circles of women meet,
organize ourselves, and,
allied with men
brave enough to stand with women,
men brave enough to stand with women,
nurture our planet to a degree of health.
And without apology —-
(impossible to make
a bigger mess than has been made already) -—
devote ourselves, heedless of opposition,
to tirelessly serving and resuscitating Our Mother ship
and with gratitude
for Her care of us
worshipfully commit
to
rehabilitating it.


–Joe

Another Knee-Jerker

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“Papers please,” they demand.

Another police tool.

Last week it was license plate scanner – a necessary police tool to track and document who you are, where you live, work, shop and play. Today it’s “Irrigation crackdown” in the Times-Standard. Another necessary police tool in the form of the law AB 2284 by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata on the governor’s desk for signing. Chesbro says, according to Megan Hansen, “this legislation gives law enforcement new tools to protect public resource lands and private industrial timberland from harmful environmental practices. He defines the “practices” as “drug operations.” The “tool,” he says is, law enforcement (peace officers = Megan Hansen) would have to power to stop and question people transporting visible irrigation supplies through unpaved or gravel roads.

“Transporting visible irrigation supplies” sounds innocuous enough, doesn’t it? Would that be “supplies” on a big truck or in the back of pickup? What’s next fertilizers, building materials? Maybe it’s permanent security check points at county lines or better yet one between Eureka and Fortuna, at Bridgeville, Garberville, Trinidad – you name it.

It’s always the same thing with Knee-Jerkers. There’s always some overriding need to supplant, ignore or parse long established law.

America’s Slide into Hell

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by Glenn Greenwald.

MONDAY, JUN 25, 2012 04:01 AM PDT

Collapsing U.S. credibility

Condemning foreign governments for abusive acts while ignoring one’s own is easy. But the U.S. leads the way.


Why this is important. Here is Greenwald’s Update excerpt:

UPDATE:

A related point was made by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967, when he delivered an extraordinary speech designed to address complaints that his anti-war activism was distracting from his civil rights work, and he explained why the latter was impossible without the former (h/t Duncan Mitchel)

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action.

But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted.

Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

Last January, I wrote about King’s speech and how it relates to current political activism.

[Source]

–Joe

Stand Your Ground and DIE – WHY?

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This is an update to the postings: 1) Resist AND Die – Why? And 2) Self-Defense Is a Bitch, posted on the Joe Blow Report

The legal right to self defense, the right to defend with lethal force whenever an individual is threatened, or their family, or their country, that is granted to all American citizens has been nearly eviscerated in the American populace’s’ psyche. To try to counter that decadence 36 states enacted various forms of a “Stand Your Ground Law.” Such laws and the individual’s legal right to carry weapons for self-defense, the ability to “stand your ground, threatens the already weak and effeminate, delegitimized police and their masters, the ruling oligarchy represented by their various employers. That conflict was graphically illustrated in the fatal shooting of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a 68-year-old African-American Marine veteran in White Plains, New York. Another situation just like the Fortuna police shooting of Jacob Newmaker. Both killings were racially motivated; one “black trash” and the other, “white trash.”

You can read about Kenneth Chamberlain’s tragedy on Democracy Now here: Killed at Home: White Plains, NY Police Called Out on Medical Alert Shoot Dead Black Veteran, 68

If you don’t think something like this “home invasion” by the police couldn’t happen in Eureka, you’d better think again. Our homes are the one place, even the latest Supreme Court has ruled, that we not only should “feel” safe, but be safe and secure. This fixation on protecting police health and safety at all costs including the general public jeopardizes everyone. It was reported in the March 25, 2012, Times-Standard: Shots fired near G and 11th streets in Eureka Notice this excerpt: ”By that time, the police were there and had set up a perimeter,” he said. “There were three officers with assault rifles checking out the church, and so I cleared out of there.” Are we to believe that the use of “assault rifles” in a residential neighborhood does NOT threaten everyone within range. Is the civilian population in Eureka reduced to being collateral damage now? I always understood the reason the police were issued handguns and shot guns was to PROTECT the general population from the penetrating power of a high-powered “assault rifle.

Here are a couple of links to local blog Humboldt Herald about this issue, one in particular on how the local county Board of Supervisors worked with both the Eureka Police Department’s acting Chief of Police and the Humboldt county Sheriff to collaborate on a quick-fix law to deal with Occupy demonstrators. The comments show the local thinking. Russia? Latin American Banana Republic and Pooping on Liberty.

–Joe

The Way of the White Man – MacLeod Cartoon

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The Way of the White Man

Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke

So goes “The Way of the White Man’s Rights” – Doesn’t look too good, does it?

A local blogger puts it this way in his latest posting: Nothing About Witchcraft? This is his take on South Carolina Republican’s “rights” to exclude certain types, including “And obviously you can’t be a contraceptive-advocating college student slut!” – His obvious reference to Sandra Fluke.

Here’s a good example of “witchcraft” wizardry at its best.

[Source – MacLeod Cartoons]

–Joe

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