Barack Obama was pissed.
Did you see him, yesterday afternoon? There he was: finger waging, lectern thumping, with grim, angry looks all around defending his decision to strike a deal with the GOP that would grant a tax break to the richest of the Richie Rich Regressive Randian Rascals out there and extend the Bush tax cuts.
Obama lashed out at Republicans for worshipping at the altar of Trickle Down Economics and liberals for being “sanctimonious” to a fault.
This is a decision so unpopular with the American people who it may very well mean the end of his relevancy as a President (as Rachel Maddow suggested), or that it may guarantee that he sees a Primary challenge from the left in 2012 (as Robert Kuttner recently reported).
And while the lone socialist talking head, Larry O’donnel, took the position that Obama struck the best possible deal he could get, the debate amongst Politician, analyzed by professional pundits has little or nothing to do with how the majority of Americans feel about this issue.
Consider a few statistics from a recent CBS news poll:
Only 26 percent of Americans support the GOP’s proposal to extend the cuts for all Americans. 70% of Democrats want to extend the cuts only on incomes below $250,000.
Even among Republicans, support for extending all the cuts is less than half at 46 percent.
What is in play here is so obvious and only bears mentioning to reframe this debate: elected officials do not even pretend to be accountable to their constituents. They are accountable to the interests of the richest 1% or less in this country. This may have always been true, but the recent Citizen United Supreme Court ruling created a new monster this past election cycle, the Super PAC: granting the super wealthy even more influence and an even greater voice in the political process than ever before.
When lobbying for a more just and equitable world, your letter to your Congresswoman or man or Senator will likely have about the same effect as a sandcastle trying to stop a Tsunami.
What the overwhelming majority of American need is some leverage. Think of it another way. When the United States of America negotiates secretly with – Iran for example, do you think the USA takes the nuclear option off the table? No. That is the leverage we have. My question then is, how far off is the day when the American people, negotiating openly with the super wealthy class via their proxy pawns in Congress and the White House say something like: do we, the unwashed masses want to kill and eat the rich? Well, lets just say that all options are on the table. The negotiating table, and the dinning room table. And yes, pun intended you hyper capitalist trickle down bastard.
As I watch Obama play at negotiating with this lame duck Congress the words that more often than not dancing in my head in reference to that duck are the immortal words of Arlo Guthrie from his protest song Alice’s Restaurant:
“I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.”
If one of does that well they might think we was crazy and just ignore it. If two people, can you imagine, two people ranting and raving like that –well they might think they was faggots and file us under Don’t ask Don’t Tell.
But if three, can you imagine if three, or fifty or hundreds of people a day getting so visibly angry, well they might think it was a movement the Kill and Eat the Rich Movement.
And then maybe we would get more Politicians sounding like Bernie Sanders and less sounding like Barack Obama.
Rape, murder, lies, sex, war, carnage, leakage- the past 12 months have had all of this and more in common with, well, every other year in this, the 2010th year in the Gregorian Calendar. But because list are comforting and things must be compartmentalized, quantified, ruminated on, and debated- and because Time magazine FUCKS this shit up every year, I offer you the 2010 No Cure For That Person of the year award.
Tony Hayward for being the arrogant face and voice of a willfully negligent environmental terrorist of a corporation who presided over the largest environmental disaster in US history and one of the largest PR disasters in world history. You are free to enjoy your dishonorable mention now that you have your life back.
Pat Robertson for, in addition to just being a windbag-o-douche- stating that the Haiti earthquake was the result of Haiti making a deal with the devil.
Pope Benedict, for your continued efforts at shielding priests from criminal prosecution and allowing them to wear the cloth after you knew they raped and molested children, here is wishing I am wrong in my opinion about the non-existence of an afterlife and that hell does in fact exist with Beelzebub saving an eternal seat for at table with Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacey.
It is hard to give your heroes a dishonorable mention, but Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, for throwing a massive rally against rallies and protest against protest a Slactivist festival that hold high the Kid Rock Ethos of “the world is really awful but there is nothing we can do about it” I declare that the 2 kings of Comedy Central go directly to jail and do not pass go.
There are more, easy targets for dishonorable mention of course; Sarah Palin, Lebron James and the father of that Indonesian 2 year old baby who was smoking a pack a day come quickly to mind, but let us now shine a light on some of the most positive movers and shakers of 2010:
Honorable mention must go to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Laying bare the lies governments tell us that lead us to and keep us in a state of perpetual war makes you a hero on this list even as the likes of Sarah Palin calling for you to be hunted down like Osama bin Laden. WikiLeaks is said to be taking precautions in the light of such threats, but if we were going to hunt him down like Osama, it would appear that his life is not in that much danger after all. And while I think he could do away with his Ray Ban sponsorship deal he still earns a place high on this year’s Person of the Year honorable mention.
Lady Gaga also deserves honorable mention, not only for achieving fame while artistically de-constructing the fame monster culture we live in, but for using her celebrity status to advocate for gay rights and the abolishment of DADT. Even if her motivation is to overtake Madonna and Barbara Streisand on the iPod playlists of gay men all over the world, the ends (methinks) justify the means.
Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein, the married couple DIY independent media power couple get high praise for their work this year. She a journalist and he a comedian and together the hosts of the only podcast I actually listen to – you should all run right now to citizenradio.com to subscribe to their show to find out why G Gordon Liddy once told Allison why her writing wants to make him vomit and why Jeneane Garafolo described Jamie comedy as a cross between George Carlin and Bill Hicks. Pull yourself away from corporate media mouthpieces and listen to what true independence sounds like. You will not be disappointed, I promise.
Displaying the courage, hearts and brains to pull back the curtain and show us much more than the menacing Wizard of OZ, Private First Class Bradley Manning allegedly (so this award must come with an asterisk, until his suspected involvement is confirmed) is the reason why Secretary of State Clinton, among other high-ranking officials, are scrambling to mend fences. But exposing the machinations behind the hegemonic homicidal foreign policy of the United States goes well beyond any dream like dorethean allegory. Because, while it is true that we are no longer in Kansas, to stretch the boundaries of the Wizard of Oz metaphor, life in the post nuclear era is never so simple as clicking our heels together and awaking from a dream.
Private First Class Bradley Manning is now in jail, charged with illegally copying classified documents.
Manning said he hoped the release of the videos and documents would lead to “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”.
In fact, the ongoing discussion that will not die down anytime soon as a result of Manning’s actions are challenging Americans to face is a deeper meaning behind the phrase “there’s no place like home.”
Because it is that time of year when we have to endure lists, and because all of the other lists are going to be some version of a Barbara Walters soft white light view of the world, I give you some holiday party talking points for what should be the top 10 news stories of 2010.
#10. Obama’s Health Care Reform
Depending on your point of view, Obama either accomplished something that many presidents have failed to do or he created what amounts to a huge gift to anyone with health insurance stock in their portfolios.
Either way, most of the meaningful provisions of this historic legislation don’t even go into effect until 2014 and in the intervening time the Democrats will be so busy trying to prevent Sarah Palin from becoming our next President that the they will acquiesce to amendments and compromises to the bill that will strip away all of the good and make even the cost of Advil out of reach for most Americans.
Isn’t that always the way with Democrats though, one baby step forward, 10 Andre-the Giant steps back?
Because football is for men and steeped in war metaphor with bombs and blitzes and aerial attacks. Football is American. Soccer, the ultimate team game, is for commies. If soccer were to catch on in the USA, what would be next, National Health Care? That is why the success of the World Cup offers a glimmer of hope to Godless commies marooned here in the USA.
Yesterday, Professor Glenn Beck informed his viewers, or should I say the scholars enrolled in his course “Obama- Will-Be-Rounding-You-Up-and-Jailing-You-Any-Day-Now -101” that a looming violent event is coming in America. Now, no prerequisites are required to enroll in Professor Beck’s class, as a matter of fact, the lower your level of education, the more likely you are to excel. Prof. Beck does not want anyone tainted with the brainwashing doled out by the liberal education system. No, the ideas of American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny were taught in one room school houses like those on the Little House on the Prairie, and our education system need not instill us with any more than that.
Isn’t that so, Professor Beck?
by Davis Fleetwood
With only 14 days remaining until the mid term elections Democrats, liberals and progressives are either unmotivated or completely defeated. We no longer stand for anything, it seems, save the restoration of sanity.
Not that the Jon Stewart siren song is without seduction. If the 2006 and 2008 elections have taught Democrats and those on the left anything at all it is that your new boss is much like the old boss, with game changing differences notable not in foreign policy (we still kill first and ask questions later) nor in domestic policy (Even in the face of the biggest wealth grab and upward redistribution of wealth in the history of the world, the white house still answers to Wall Street first, the people 2nd). With that said, there is plenty of insanity to go around. The GOP, heavily favored to lay down an ass whooping on the Democrats on November 2nd, has been successfully hijacked by a radian regressive christian conservative movement.
By David Swanson. this article originally appeared on Let’s try Democracy
“It’s not meant to ridicule activism,” Jon Stewart tells NPR, speaking of his planned rally on the National Mall. But you can see where someone might have gotten that impression. In the video of Stewart’s announcement of the event, he rejects crazy right wing ideas and the idea that Bush allowed 9-11 to happen; he condemns right wing lunacy and the idea that Republicans oppose providing healthcare; he denounces lies and fascism plus daring to accuse war criminals of being war criminals. Stewart opposes activist messages and their messengers.
The problem seems to be, not so much accuracy as inappropriateness and volume. You should not shout anything or say “war criminal,” but you especially should not shout “war criminal!”
Yet such a position cannot avoid the substance of the matter. Assuming that the United States, as is well documented, has been fighting illegal wars, imprisoning, torturing, and murdering, how “sane” can it be to reject any discussion of war criminals — or, for that matter, to allow Tony Blair to come on your program and tell you the United Nations authorized the invasion of Iraq?
If our government is, uniquely among wealthy countries, denying people healthcare, shouldn’t we talk about that? How “sane” can it be to always seek out the middle ground and believe whatever propositions lie halfway between advocacy for peace and justice and advocacy for glorified racist ignorance and corporatism?
Stewart rejects as insane the idea that Bush allowed 9-11 to happen, whether that idea is whispered or shouted. Yet Bush was warned of the possible attack and did nothing, after having refused to prioritize the matter and after having rejected opportunities to bring bin Laden to trial, which would not have pleased the Saudis.
Taking a page from the how to stir up publicity for a film destined for the deep end of your Netflix cue, behind such classics as Pluto Nash, Gigli & even Sex Lives of Potato Men, Vince Vaughn defended the use of “gay” in the soon to be released Ron Howard film, The Dilemma, saying: “Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together.” and went on to say “Drawing divided lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop.” Vince Vaughn, free speech advocate and later day George Carlin.
Is the trailer for The Dilemma funny?
Sure. In a 1950′s American as Apple Pie Wally and Beaver lets kill all the gays and string up all the niggers on our way to church kind of way. Not so funny in a 21st century kind of way where teenagers are throwing themselves over the George Washington Bridge to their deaths over the shame of being outed and ridiculed as gay.
Now, I am loathe to bring back the PC police. The uptight, holier than though sanctimony that more often than not goes hand in hand with political correctness is one reason why the left lost the culture wars of the 1990s. For the second culture war, or CW2, set to commence in earnest right after the tea party highjacked GOP gives a beat down to the Democrats in the mid-term elections and gets emboldened with Red Neck Racist Randian Regressive Glenn Beck theology, I suggest that the left do away with the PC police and get a little more pro active. Rather than trying to eliminate or police the use of words by others, we need to enter into the lexicon new words and embed pejorative connotations to words already in usage.
Just as “Gay,” whose dictionary definition is “happily excited; merry” and “keenly alive and exuberant” has been flipped to connote a negative association with the sexual orientation of 10% of the worlds population as part of a successful campaign to shame many homosexuals into thinking that there is somehow something wrong with them, progressives need to play less defense, and get offensive.
For instance, let us look at the word capitalist. Money, as we all know, makes the world go round, yes? And Greed, just as Gordon Gecko schooled us, is good. Even the Wall Street Journal recently ran an article recently whose headline read Capitalism Saved the Miners The profit = innovation dynamic was everywhere at the mine rescue site. Daniel Henniger drew neat parallels between the miners stranded in Chile and the Americans suffering under the weight of our current economic woes and came to the same conclusion: the free market, which allowed an American company to created the drill bit that opened the earth to free the miners, should be a lesson to all of us.
What is missing from this brilliant piece of propaganda is the fact that it was the unregulated free market, thirsty for profit like a blood starved vampire, that created the unsafe conditions in the mine that got the minors trapped in the first place. Likewise with the American Economy: the unregulated free market that allowed Gordon Gecko Capitalism to run unchecked on Wall Street lead directly to the credit and mortgage crisis that we continue to suffer the effects of.
The Wall Street Journal asking us to put our faith in the free market to get us out of that mess is a bit like suggesting to a rape victim that she get a medical exam at Jack the Ripper Medical Center where a staff of former Duke University Lacrosse players will administer her pelvic exam.
So, newsflash to all young leather soled Goron Gecko wanna bee’s on Wall Street: Gordon Gecko was a was a piece of satire, meant for ridicule not meant as a role model.
So the next time you are looking for a derogatory adjective to sprinkle into conversation, think of Capitalist. For instance instead of “Johnny wouldn’t let me copy his chem homework, he is such a faggot.” You could say – “Johnny is such a capitalist.”
You see- just like the leap from a jerk who would not let you mooch his Chem homework becomes to “gay” or a “fag” need not make any logical sense at all- tagging “capitalist” with negative connotaions need not be bound by any laws of logic or reason whatsoever.
Just have fun with it!
Just repeat it over and over again-with negative connotations. When we get to the day when enough people question their “capitalist orientations” and maybe even a few Wall Street Hedge Fund managers throw themselves off the George Washington Bridge because their were outed as a Capitalist, we will know we have made some headway. We will know we have made the world a better place.
In fact, to get us started, let’s have a little collaboration: In the comments section below, write a sentence that uses “capitalist” as a negative adjective. I will create a video out of the most creative sentences.
Come now, write a comment. What are you, gay- I mean What are you, a capitalist?
written by Davis Fleetwood
Shakespeare and Jesus sit atop the heap of historical figures about which the most has been written. Add to that list, like it or not, the woman who has captured the zeitgeist of the moment: Lady Gaga.
Not only are every one of her growing legion of pubescent twitter and facebook little monsters taking to typepad and blogspot to deconstruct her latest video, but a growing legion of pundits, pop critics and philosophers are laboring to see both the forest and the trees and connect Gaga to this historical moment.
While many of us of a certain age see this particular moment in history as one where the United States has risked, and in some cases lost our moral, military, and economic superiority all in the name of fighting a war based on lies, Gaga and her little monsters have grown up with war as an inevitable and, according to the lame-stream media, often un newsworthy fact of life.
Before Gaga lit her g-string on fire or doused her see through dresses in blood like liquid in an effort to complicate what are otherwise conventionally sexualized performances, before she channeled Duchamp and discovered Dada (she recently inscribed a functionless white urinal “I’m not fucking Duchamp but I love pissing with you,”) Gaga was a teenager in New York; a West Side Girl going to an East Side private school when the towers came down.
Since that day, the U.S. has come together to, in the words of Alternet writer Sara Jaffe and
“We have made monsters out of others in order to kill them without fear. Gaga makes herself a monster to try to show us ourselves.”
Like Archie Bunker, Gaga so fully embodies what she wants us to think what she is satirizing (post feminism, post Madonna, post Pop and Imperial America that it matters not whether one in on the joke, if indeed there is one. Her reach is so obtuse and indiscriminate, like the current U.S. foreign policy that James Parker of the Atlantic argues that she is eviscerating pop, that she is in fact the last pop star.
by Davis Fleetwood
Most people here in the United States would rather have a colonoscopy administered with a cactus branch dipped in Ass Reaper Hot Sauce than watch a world cup match.
In fact, it is the usually divisive figure of one Glenn Beck who has clearly articulated the how the American (I mean, I guess one should not say American as if the U.S. speaks for Canada, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Brazil- and so on) but anywhoo) how citizens of the USA feel about the World Cup when he said recently:
“It doesn’t matter how you try to sell it to us. It dies not matter how many celebrities you get. It does not matter how many bars open early. It does not matter how many beer commercials they run. We don’t WANT the World Cup. We don’t like the World Cup. We don’t like Soccer. We want nothing to do with it!”
True, because FUTBOL, it turns out, is un-American. Which is one reason, I suppose, that I love it so much.
As I said in an earlier episode, tongue only half in cheek, Futbol is a socialist plot to subvert capitalism and take over the world.
To which Glenn Beck, and most of America, uh – I mean the U.S.A. would respond:
“The thing about Soccer is I hate it so much probably because the rest of the world likes it so much”
That “I hate it so much probably because the rest of the world likes it so much” is a by-product of a resurgence in the idea of American exceptionalism, itself the offspring of the idea of Manifest Destiny.
I like to call it Manifest Destiny’s Child. *
A quick tangential history lesson is needed here (from the introduction of my forthcoming documentary):
In June of 1846 what we now know as California was part of the sovereign nation of Mexico. On July 7 1846, California was annexed to the United States of America. Annexed is a cute little term to throw on civic exams so not to upset youngsters too much about the blood on the hands of their ancestors. It means, quite simply, that American settlers can (and did) say, “I’m bigger than you, I’m stronger than you, I’ve got more gun powder than you, and if that ain’t enough I’ve got God on my side. I’ve got manifest destiny.” It means, moreover, that those same American Settlers could say to the Mexicans, who (bye the bye) were residing on their own land, California, in 1846, something like: “Excuse me Cesar or, Excuse me, Esmeralda: We are going to give you two choices. One: We learned a lot about rape and murder during our genocide of the Native Americans. We can demonstrate that knowledge to you can and soak the land of this beautiful oceanfront real estate with the blood of your people or, B: just run along south of the border and then wait a couple of generations, have some kids, and then send them back here and we will put them to work in construction and the lawn care maintenance industry, and some of the best fine dining establishments this country has to offer (in the back of the house, of course). So, will it be door number one, or door number two? What say you?”
This “American can do” attitude that begets murder, occupation and colonization in the name of divinely ordained American destiny and exceptionalism continues today in the preemptive strategy of American imperialism abroad implemented by both Bush and Obama; an arrogant, blowback inducing foreign policy that, in the post nuclear age, is doing nothing less than expediting the end of the world as we know it.
This, in a nutshell, is MANIFEST DESTINY’S CHILD. *
So perhaps, my fellow Americans, uh- I mean, fellow citizens of the U.S.A., we should start finding some common ground with the rest of the developed world. Healthcare for all? Not for you USA? Okay, uh… A foreign policy that did not expand upon the Bush Doctrine? No, you’d rather be the colonizer and police force of the world. Well, it is hard to argue with you gringo, GOD is on your side, after all.
If nothing else, how about you walk into your neighborhood pub Sunday afternoon, order yourself a Cervaza and join the rest of the world in watching the most exciting sporting event on the globe?
* MANIFEST DESTINY’S CHILD is not only a catchy phrase that will sweep the nation and the world, as the title of my first feature length documentary, available in September 2010, it is also a shameless bit of self promotion.
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This work by Davis Fleetwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
A freelance writer, Davis Fleetwood has worked as a writer/ media consultant for Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign and served as a contributing editorial commentator for The Uptake. His videos have been seen by over 14 million viewers. He has been called (among many other things) “one of the most prominent voices in YouTube politics.” (-You Tube News & Politics chief, Steve Grove) He was a “Best of YouTube, 2007” nomination. His book DROPPIN’ KNOWLEDGE LIKE A CLUMSY LIBRARIAN, is now available from No Cure For That Press, and his first full length feature documentary, MANIFEST DESTINY’S CHILD, is due out on DVD this June.
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