Friday, June 19, 2009

No We Cant! (Have a Fascist-Progressive President) by Alison Ross

Disclaimer: I don't use the term "fascist" in the same sloppy fashion that some of the more ill-informed, shallow-minded Fox News and Fox News-clone political pundits use it to describe Obama. I use the term the way it was meant to be used: to delineate a person or institution that fits Laurence Britt's 14 Points of Fascism.

Now, I do believe in REGULATING industry, but in a way that promotes social democracy - that is, democracy with a socialist heart. Democracy, that is, that promotes human rights for all through rampant social services for all. I am, indeed, a social democrat.

I am very fond of saying that President Obama is half-progressive, half-fascist. Sometimes I get chided for my overuse of the word "fascist," but in today's America, it's just so painfully fitting an epithet. Dissenters who diverge from this mindset would do well to read Britt's 14 Points of Fascism, linked above.

So anyway, yes: Obama is a progressive fascist, or fascist progressive - whichever biggie-sized adjective-noun combo you favor. And while some readers will certainly balk and squawk at my characterization of Obama, I think upon perusing my thoughtful, if hard-hitting, tirade, they might come around to seeing my point - however begrudgingly.

Let's start by listing elements of Obama's Pro(gressive)s and (Neo-)Cons:

Pros: Mandated the closing of Gitmo and secret prisons that torture; banned the harshest torture practices; proposes making assault weapon ban permanent

Cons: Proposes massive troop surge in Afghanistan; advocates without restraint the corporate dominance of the American government; funded mercenary tyrants in Iraq

Now let's explore some of these in more depth.

One of Obama's first actions as president was to issue an executive order to shut down Guantanamo Bay. This astonishing mandate was nevertheless a hugely welcome one. For the Gitmo gulag has come to serve as a sinister symbol for American tyranny. No matter how you slice it, the situation at Gitmo is horrifically inhumane. Regardless of how heinous his or her crimes, one must always have access to Habeas Corpus and equitable and non-abusive treatment.

And of course, there are other issues with the existence of Gitmo as well. The fact is, foreign terrorists must always be dealt with in a world-court type scenario; the U.S., or any country, has no innate right to handle foreign terrorists itself. This only follows logically, as one country cannot be the World Police; there must always be a coalition of countries working toward global justice.

And, too, a lot of Gitmo detainees have never been proved to be "guilty." Again, due process - Habeas Corpus - must always come into play, and with Gitmo detainees, it has been sadly suspended.

The staggering abuses that have occurred at Gitmo have indelibly tarnished America's image, and, most tragically of all, led to
detainee suicides and eternal psychological impairments. This is deeply shameful, and has eerie echoes of Nazi concentration camps, Saddam-era Iraqi prison conditions, and Russian gulags.

So I ebulliently applaud Obama for ordering the closure of Gitmo, and banning the harshest of torture methods. Of course, ALL torture should be banned, but it's a bold start, at least.

Of course, with every advance comes a twin regression, and the evil twin in this case is Obama's proposed troop surge in Afghanistan.

This troop surge proposal is deeply disheartening. Here are some sobering facts, culled from the revered newsletter Hightower Lowdown, which delineate why this surge is egregiously fallible, and doomed to

Afghanistan's poverty is extreme. 70% of its population lives on LESS THAN TWO DOLLARS A DAY.

Only about 30% of Afghanis are LITERATE.

Afghanistan has the world's HIGHEST infant mortality rate.

Afghanis have a life expectancy of 45 years.

Afghanistan has very little economic development. Opium is the country's chief "industry."

SEVENTY-FIVE percent of Afghanis are rural.

There is very little electrical power and the roads are either non-existent or in poor condition.

There is no centralized government. Afghanistan is characterized as a "warlord state."

The Afghan president is an American puppet.

Since 2006, there has been a bold increase in the number of bombs dropped in Afghanistan by US and NATO air forces. This has TRIPLED the number of CIVILIANS killed. Upwards of FIVE HUNDRED civilians are killed EACH MONTH from these cluster bombs. Most of the dead are CHILDREN.

There are CIA-operated secret detention centers in Afghanistan where at least 800 cases of abuse ala Guantanamo Bay have been reported.

War profiteering is RIFE in Afghanistan.

The American government spent about $5 billion toward economic development projects in Afghanistan since 2001. Contrast that with $24 billion a year the government is spending on death and destruction there.

Obama's impending troop surge in Afghanistan is just a sickening perpetuation of Bush-era policies, and will only serve to further mire Afghanis in poverty and misery, and sap needed resources at home.

Now, of course, nothing could hope to counterbalance such a shocking scenario as a massive troop buildup in hapless Afghanistan. However, another one of Obama's more progressive proposals is to impose a permanent ban on assault weapons, which would be an enlightened move indeed. There are those Fox News-slurping simpletons and NRA nutjobs who would screech at such an action, but really, how is it rationally possible to oppose such a common-sense approach to safety? No other "civilized" nation in the WORLD is as gun-freaky as the United States, and no other "civilized" populace embraces legalizing guns that are tailor-made for the black market and the most disturbed of criminals. Screw the 2nd amendment and its dubious claims to our inherent "right" to bear arms. I too cherish the Constitution, but some amendments are open to wide interpretation. We must also take into account the era in which the constitution was written, when it was necessary to form militias against the government (it still is, of course, but that's a topic for another tirade). And naturally, the forefathers likely would have grimaced at the idea of assault weapons, the most audacious of guns. So bring on the permanent assault weapon ban, and while yer at it, severely regulate ALL guns, ala England, France, et al. Anyone who disagrees gets a cap in their ass, yo!

Of course, the assault weapon ban may never happen, owing to the ruthlessly persistent gun lobby. And really, that's a pathetic commentary on the American political system, that it's so choked by special interests, especially ones that are so antithetical to the PUBLIC interest. Furthermore, ours is such a corporatized system, and Obama, to (what should be) our collective chagrin, meekly panders to corporations. This is yet another way in which the president displays - nay, FLAUNTS - his fascist feathers.

Obama is very much a free-market advocate, and on the surface, there's nothing wrong with that. But dig deeper and you'll find that our economic system is one that is not dominated by free-market tenets, but rather one that strangles such tenets. In a true free-market context, small to medium-sized businesses compete in vigorously healthy way, and such companies don't have significant sway in the political process other than using their voice in the multifarious democratic dialogue. But in today's America, behemeth conglomerates monopolize the system, squashing smalller business competition, and dictating to the government its greedy needs.

And Obama not only has no problem with this crass perversion of capitalistic aims, but he enthusiastically embraces it, as evidenced by his support of the Wall Street bailout.

One of the 14 points of facsism, of course, is the protection of corporate power at any cost. To wit: "The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite."


As if that's not bad enough - that instead of encouraging the flourishing of democracy through a fair free market, Obama further stymies it through worshipping at the shrine of the corporate (anti-) gods - Obama has also approved funding of malevolent mercenaries Blackwater, as well as another mercenery firm that also operates in Iraq. Blackwater, you may recall, killed about 20 Iraqi civilians without cause and makes a huge profit to boot.

Such private firms are unaccountable to anyone but themselves - unlike, say, the United States military, which is accountable to the public. This means they can "get away" with rapaciously violent acts without much punitive consequence.

What is most disconcerting about the Obama reign thus far is how little opposition he faces from progressives. Progressives helped usher Obama into office, because at least some of his platform mirrored progressive concerns. But now that he is in office, these same progressives that were so ferociously giddy to see him elected have retreated in craven fashion into the shadowy recesses. These same "progressives" who were so fiercely anti-Bush now say nothing in the face of Obama policies that brashly mimic Bush's atrocious agenda.

Yes, yes, it's wonderful to have a president who articulates with smooth eloquence, presents an intellectual mien, and who hails from a bi-racial background. My heart soars at the thought of these qualities. Furthermore, the progressive policies that Obama has implemented are heartening, indeed.

But let's not fool ourselves: Obama is no Progressive Messiah. In many ways he is as conventionally corporate and corrupt as the lot of them.

And the sooner that progressives get off their complacent derrieres and realize this and vocally protest the fascist aspects of Obama's reign, the better off our country will be.

Of course, they won't, because at heart, such progressives are as blind and brainwashed as the neo-cons they like to lambaste.


Anonymous said...

Well put!

I like the 14 points: most of them still apply in Obama Era Amer'ka, although very few Obama supporters are honest or courageous enough to admit it...

Now onto the next BDLD (Big Democratic Let Down): healthcare reform.

Anonymous Feline

Anonymous said...

So when will gitmo close again??? Obama sold the country a bill of goods and unfortunatly, Many, Many people where so intoxicated by the thought of "Hope and Change" that they came down with a case of temporary insainity and voted for a smooth talking hustler.

As he did in the campain, he will do with gitmo.... lie his ass off!

Besides he has to keep it open, he has to put all the "town hall Nazis" somewhere...