In late November, Venezuela was hammered by torrential rains and flooding that left 35 people dead and roughly 130,000 homeless. If George Bush had been president, instead of Hugo Chavez, the displaced people would have been shunted off at gunpoint to makeshift prison camps--like the Superdome--as they were following Hurricane Katrina. But that's not the way Chavez works. The Venezuelan president quickly passed "enabling" laws which gave him special powers to provide emergency aid and housing to flood victims. Chavez then cleared out the presidential palace and turned it into living quarters for 60 people, which is the equivalent of turning the White House into a homeless shelter. The disaster victims are now being fed and taken care of by the state until they can get back on their feet and return to work.
So now you've seen the power of conservative propaganda for setting America's agenda. During the November 2010 elections, we saw the annihilation of progressive ideas by the most sophisticated, deeply funded and precisely orchestrated public relations system ever concocted.
And they are preparing to take things up a notch now that they've won. The gears are well-greased and the engine is humming. Prospects are slim for President Obama and the remaining progressives in Congress. If we don't act now, 2012 will mark the end of the progressive rise to power in American politics.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. With the human face it's even more revealing, especially the eyes.
Politicians, if you've ever seen a professional one up close, have almost a waxen stiffness and sheen to their phony, memorized expressions. Most public and power characters need to be caught off guard to reveal their true nature, but it's not necessary. Usually it's in plain sight.
Two years into the Obama presidency and the economic data is still looking grim. Don’t be fooled by the gyrations of the stock market, where optimism is mostly a reflection of the ability of financial corporations—thanks to massive government largesse—to survive the mess they created.
The basics are dismal: Unemployment is unacceptably high, the December consumer confidence index is down and housing prices have fallen for four months in a row. The number of Americans living in poverty has never been higher, and a majority in a Washington Post poll said they were worried about making their next mortgage or rent payment.
The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the US government of US law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy.
Ignore the recent excuses. Henry Kissinger's entire career was a series of massacres and outrages.
So our culture has once again suffered a degradation by the need to explain away the career of this disgusting individual. And what if we did, indeed, accept the invitation to "remember the context of his entire life"? Here's what we would find: the secret and illegal bombing of Indochina, explicitly timed and prolonged to suit the career prospects of Nixon and Kissinger. The pair's open support for the Pakistani army's 1971 genocide in Bangladesh, of the architect of which, Gen. Yahya Khan, Kissinger was able to say: "Yahya hasn't had so much fun since the last Hindu massacre." Kissinger's long and warm personal relationship with the managers of other human abattoirs in Chile and Argentina, as well as his role in bringing them to power by the covert use of violence. The support and permission for the mass murder in East Timor, again personally guaranteed by Kissinger to his Indonesian clients. His public endorsement of the Chinese Communist Party's sanguinary decision to clear Tiananmen Square in 1989. His advice to President Gerald Ford to refuse Alexander Solzhenitsyn an invitation to the White House (another favor, as with spitting on Soviet Jewry, to his friend Leonid Brezhnev). His decision to allow Saddam Hussein to slaughter the Kurds after promising them American support. His backing for a fascist coup in Cyprus in 1974 and then his defense of the brutal Turkish invasion of the island. His advice to the Israelis, at the beginning of the first intifada, to throw the press out of the West Bank and go for all-out repression. His view that ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia was something about which nothing could be done. Forget the criminal aspect here (or forget it if you can). All those policies were also political and diplomatic disasters.
Corporate capital dominates the government and prevents the changes urgently needed in so many crisis issues for the nation and the world.
While education and organization are critical ingredients to bringing change, this is a slow process and many of the issues the nation faces are urgent. This is why we also pursue acts of protest and resistance. We did this in the health care debate and most recently in the anti-war movement. Resistance has always been an ingredient for bringing change whether it was people sitting in at segregated lunch counters, or blacks sitting in the white section of the bus, or Cindy Sheehan camping outside of George Bush’s ranch. In the next year we will see a growing culture of resistance in the United States.
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