Sunday, April 29, 2012

Obama vs. Romney: a message to would be leftists

David Seaton's News Links

There are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing, and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions. Mao Tse Tung
To reject compromises “on principle,” to reject the permissibility of compromises in general, no matter of what kind, is childishness.  Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder
I separate the presidential elections from my own personal “druthers”. I would recommend to those who consider themselves “lefter than thou” that they read none other than Mao Tse Tung’s, “on contradiction"… (it’s about “priorities”).

Addressing this question, I begin with some simple facts.
  1. There is going to be an election
  2. The winner will either be a Republican or a Democrat
  3. The winner will get to choose the person or persons to occupy any new vacancies in the Supreme Court, which in its present form, with its ruling on the “humanity” of corporations, has effected a de facto coup d’etat. Unless this ruling is changed,  democratic politics in America will be fatally and permanently corrupted. Democracy will have become a permanent contest among billionaires. At last count there were more ultra-conservative billionaires than progressive billionaires.
  4. One could make an endless list, but they mostly look like number “3″. DS

Friday, April 27, 2012

There are still important differences between Republicans and Democrats

David Seaton's News Links
Tea Party "Humor"
A Sample of Tea Party Humor

I'd like to reproduce a dialog between myself and a blogger I much respect, Wendy Davis, on a previous post of mine:
Seaton: I think that all of those who were so ecstatic about Obama in 2008 (I wasn’t) should “stand by their man” and realize that if he does what he does now, it is because he really has no alternative. But if there is still even a tiny fraction of the quality that they thought he had back then, it will only be visible when he will no longer ever have to run for office again.
And then… I think that after George W. Bush the Republicans shouldn’t be allowed in the White House in at least 20 years… and the Tea Party faction that calls the tunes now makes Bush look like a pinko.

Davis: Lord love a duck, David Seaton; what crappery.
“if he does what he does now”…it’s not IF, it’s simply a chronicle of who he’s assassinated without need, who he’s screwed (regular Americans), who he serves (Wall Street and multinational profiteers), which whistle-blowers he’s prosecuting, which Executive orders he pens, shredding the Rule of Law, which massive crimes he’s failed to investigate, let alone prosecute, which parts of the planet he decimates with energy extraction…all done with IMPUNITY. And you have the fucking gall to suggest, no claim: that he has no alternative?
And you haven’t been paying much attention to the Tea Party, neither the originals or the astro-turf ones; I won’t stop to correct your take.

Seaton: Presidents of the USA kill people and do many horrid things… even Abraham Lincoln… Personally I find it absurd for me, of all people, to try to defend Barack Obama… For me it is like what Victor Borge said about growing old, “It’s marvelous… especially when you think of the alternatives”.
I just can’t bear the idea of the Tea Party in the White House: (see "humor" topping this post)

Davis: Wow, David. A poster is proof-positive there.
I’ll keep putting my energy into the Democracy movement, you keep campaignin’ for the evil son of a bitch.

Seaton: You do what you want. I’m all for the Democracy movement, like the Civil Rights movement, it is essential to modify the behavior of whichever “evil son of a bitch” happens to be in the White House. But I think it does matter if the son of a bitch is a Democratic son of a bitch or a Republican son of a bitch. It is not the same for a Martin Luther King to be pressuring an LBJ than to imagine him pressuring Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.
The White House is an ugly place, where ugly things happen, but there still are important differences. The Republican Party is now in the hands of genuine fascists and should be kept out. It seems to me that the people who were starry eyed about Obama in 2008 and consider him some sort of antichrist today were dumb coming and are now dumb going.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another good reason to vote for Obama

David Seaton's News Links
Bibi Netanyahu
Mitt's friend, Bibi
The ties between Mr. Romney and Mr. Netanyahu stand out because there is little precedent for two politicians of their stature to have such a history together that predates their entry into government. And that history could well influence decision-making at a time when the United States may face crucial questions about whether to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities or support Israel in such an action. Mr. Romney has suggested that he would not make any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Mr. Netanyahu — a level of deference that could raise eyebrows given Mr. Netanyahu’s polarizing reputation, even as it appeals to the neoconservatives and evangelical Christians who are fiercely protective of Israel. In a telling exchange during a debate in December, Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Gingrich for making a disparaging remark about Palestinians, declaring: “Before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’“ Martin S. Indyk, a United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether intentional or not, Mr. Romney’s statement implied that he would “subcontract Middle East policy to Israel.” “That, of course, would be inappropriate,” he added. Mr. Netanyahu insists that he is neutral in the presidential election, but he has at best a fraught relationship with President Obama. For years, the prime minister has skillfully mobilized many Jewish groups and Congressional Republicans to pressure the Obama administration into taking a more confrontational approach against Iran. “To the extent that their personal relationship would give Netanyahu entree to the Romney White House in a way that he doesn’t now have to the Obama White House,” Mr. Indyk said, “the prime minister would certainly consider that to be a significant advantage.” New York Times
Something I’ve been meaning to do — and still don’t have the time to do properly — is say something about Peter Beinart’s brave book The Crisis of Zionism. The truth is that like many liberal American Jews — and most American Jews are still liberal — I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going. It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide — and that’s bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world. But I have other battles to fight, and to say anything to that effect is to bring yourself under intense attack from organized groups that try to make any criticism of Israeli policies tantamount to anti-Semitism. But it’s only right to say something on behalf of Beinart, who has predictably run into that buzzsaw. As I said, a brave man, and he deserves better. Paul Krugman
Krugman’s unusually harsh critique of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is sure to elicit howls of protest from Israeli spokespersons and American Jewish organizations – more so, perhaps, as they come on the eve of Israel’s Independence Day. It is also sure to further inflame the continuously deteriorating relationship between the Israeli government and the New York Times, considered by many to be the most important newspaper in the world. Last December, Netanyahu declined an offer by the Times’ to pen an article for the paper’s opinion pages, citing the newspaper’s alleged anti-Israel bias. Haaretz
As you may have noticed the Middle East is on the boil, and how to stabilize the most important oil and gas producing region on earth is a  priority for everybody, everywhere, now, with the world economy teetering on the brink of a great depression. 
After supporting tyrannical Arab regimes for decades, invading Iraq and botching up the occupation and never missing a chance to kowtow to the Israelis, America's credibility at present is as low as a snake's abdomen. Except for killing people and blowing things up, nobody is expecting much from the USA these days in the Middle East.
There is one thing that has worldwide support and universal approval,  something, which would at least give the USA a minimum of credibility and that something would be to finally "solve" the Palestinian problem and give them a state of their own... and the six and seventh year of a second term American president would make that something look doable
Now cynics among you will point out that all the versions of that proposed state that the USA has ever put forward added up to miserable little unarmed bantustans cut up by Israeli security roads, without control over the water under them and without sovereignty over the airspace above them... And I doubt if even the most "liberated" version of Barack Obama would ask for much more than that. And even something that mild and decaffeinated would probably justify his heretofore absurd Nobel Peace Prize and refurbish his tattered image as "The One".
Why should this be such a huge problem?
Because, even such a pitiful, Swiss cheese, scrap of a state would finally and unambiguously establish the frontiers of Israel and put paid to the dream of Eretz Yisrael Ha-Shlema  (greater Israel).
And in my humble opinion, it is the fear of that, and not the fear of a nuclear Holocaust that is behind Netanyahu's hysterical push toward war. He is trying to create a damned if you do and damned if you don't scenario for Barack Obama to see if he can derail his reelection and get himself another first term president to manipulate at will. 

From the point of anyone who influences politics by funding politician's election campaigns, first term presidents are to be greatly preferred to second term presidents who wont need any more funding. Obvious, right? 
All of this is as good reason as any not to vote for Mitt Romney and to give Barack Obama a second term. DS

Sunday, April 22, 2012

From Rosa Parks to Barack Obama

David Seaton's News Links
Obama-Rosa Parks
One of the most significant political images in American history.

"It did, in fact, give me cause to celebrate that in my own lifetime I saw an African American elected to the presidency." Mike Huckabee
I just didn't want to let this photo go by without comment.
I was just a small boy when Rosa Parks made her famous ride, but I remember it well, it was a moment of awakening for me and for millions of others.
Personally, I find the photo of the first black President of the United States of America sitting in the same seat in the same bus very moving. Some may find it opportunistic, but I find it opportune.
I not only celebrate, like Huckabee, that I have lived to see this, but I also celebrate that Barack Obama has proven to be an extremely competent president. Except for the Norwegian "affirmative action" of his absurd Nobel Peace Prize, history has cut him no slack, nor has he demanded it.
He saved the American auto industry, killed Osama bin Laden and ended the war in Iraq: these are all solid achievements. True, some of his more starry eyed supporters of 2008, now see him as "evil" because of Guantanamo and the drones and other human rights failures, but being "evil" comes with his particular job. No president is ever going to change that evil... before the people themselves do...
That is the lesson of Rosa Parks.
It took a normal, ordinary, woman, filled with a citizen's dignity, to open the door for a black man to sit in that same bus decades later as President of the United States... No president gave her that seat, she gave it to him. DS

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Is progressive change in America possible? A practical plan of action

David Seaton's News Links
How is progressive change to be effected within the American political system?

First: are citizens asking the correct questions?
  • Does anyone really believe that any topflight, professional, national politician, with what national campaigns cost these days, is ever going to confront or bring down a major source of funding like Wall Street?
  • Does the deregulation of the financial sector that has brought about the present meltdown have anything to do with that sector's campaign contributions to both political parties?
  • Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?
  • Does anyone really believe that any professional American politician of national stature is ever going to apply enough pressure on Israel to insure compliance of UN-242? ...And speaking of Israel and American politicians: where is the little bird brave enough to push that cuckoo's egg out of America's nest?
Is there any solution to any of this?

Good news, bad news.

The good news? Yes there is.

The bad news?

It will take a long time... about twenty years, at least, if we start right now.

I believe the possible solution lies in local politics and in the US House of Representatives: politicians that are near to the actual people who vote for them and whose every move can be watched closely by local progressive activists interconnected nationally through countless Internet forums. Politicians whose campaigns would get cheaper as their local reputations grew.

Congresspersons in this movement should be politicians whose greatest ambition is to rise by seniority (that means getting reelected from their district many times)  to enable them to sit on and eventually chair the powerful key House committees. Here is power that could be truly controlled by the voters if they kept their elected representatives under a powerful magnifying glass. This movement could be independent of both the Republicans and the Democrats and a President or Senator of either party that defied these powerful Congresspersons would do so at his or her peril. In this way a practical progressive agenda could be pushed forward without submitting itself to the national corporate media circus.

To my mind a nationwide, grassroots movement, based on the House of Representatives, like the one that I have described, is probably the only way real, progressive change can ever occur within our present system. DS

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mitt Romney, severely stiff?

David Seaton's News Links

The coming presidential election is very different from 2008... as then, one of the men is a known quantity and the other is an enigma. But yesterday's enigma is today's known quantity and although the other man has been around for years, the more he says and the more he does the less knowable he becomes.
Back then I was very skeptical of Obamamania, I couldn't really understand how someone who objectively had done little more than write a book about himself, could become a craze rivaling the hula hoop. I found it frightening and frivolous. People thought they were buying a Ferrari and for all they knew, they could have awakened to find they had bought a pair of roller skates.  But, with the ample road testing of the US presidency,  it turns out that if Barack Obama were an automobile, I can think of no better description of him than a four wheel drive, working vehicle: practical, sensible, reliable and not at all flashy, which also can  be used for taking the kids to their soccer games. Eisenhower with a suntan.
And today, some of Obama's greatest fans from back then in 2008 are still bitterly disappointed on finding that having ordered a Ferrari, they finally took delivery on a Toyota Land Cruiser.
Admittedly, those that thought that they were getting an Ivy League version of Martin Luther King have ample reason to be disappointed... And what with Guantanamo and the targeted assassinations, the drones and so forth, Obama has turned out to have a sinister side... but all presidents of the United States of America up to and including Abraham Lincoln have had a sinister side... Because, national myths to the contrary, the US is a rather sinister place... in case you hadn't noticed.
Although in these four years, Barack Obama hasn't turned out to be the great... er... hope, he was cracked up to be,  has he proven to be a rather good president during a very difficult period, certainly good enough to deserve those second term years, when a president is free to really seek his legacy. And certainly deserving of a second term when contemplating the alternatives.
Which brings us to Romney. Mr. Etch a Sketch.
I think it would be boring to try to plumb all of Romney's inconsistencies as they double back upon one another endlessly, tediously, suffice to say that one of the principal lines of the Romney-led, Republican attack against the administration is turning out to be an intent to repeal the "Obama Care" health plan, a plan which is a failed imitation of the same one Romney himself introduced in Massachusetts, when he was governor of that state and which is probably his only distinguished achievement in political life until now.
Back in 2008 the Obamites were quick to accuse anyone who dared criticize "The One" as racist, but now in 2012, I truly think that the only reason that anyone could prefer Mitt Romney to Barack Obama, would be the color of his skin. That is a path that McCain firmly refused to take, but by now, nothing Romney could do or say to get elected would surprise me. I predict that we are about to witness the filthiest presidential campaign in US history. DS

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Thoughts at Easter: Once I built a tower and now it is done…

David Seaton's News Links
"We are so made that we can sustain our existence only in group life. Love is the essence of humanity, love needs something to bestow itself upon; human beings must live together in order to live a life of mutual love." D. T. Suzuki

"I sincerely believe that if you think there's a solution, you're part of the problem. My motto: Fuck Hope!" George Carlin
Between the two quotes above there is certainly some space and variance of tone, but they are by no means contradictory and Suzuki would have been the last person to deny George Carlin's Zen.
Carlin was certainly right when he saw "no solution" and "no hope". However, it is useful before even thinking about solutions, to identify the "problem".
In my opinion, the distance between the reality we experience in our daily lives and Suzuki's deceptively simple analysis of our species, (which could, in great part, apply to the troop of baboons in the picture), is humanity's "problem".
In fact the distance is so great that many might dismiss Suzuki's analysis as treacly and sentimental when he says, "we are so made that we can sustain our existence only in group life (...) human beings must live together in order to live a life of mutual love", which, in fact, applies as accurately to any isolated human being as it would to any isolated baboon. A social animal being a social animal.
Over millions of years, our species evolved, like our cousins the baboons, to roam the savannas of Africa in extended families, sharing whatever food we found and curling up together at night to keep warm. Over most of our history that was our life, only of late have we taken a sinister detour. That wandering togetherness is what our brains, inhabiting spirits and digestive tract are built for and look where we are now.
Over a relatively few millennia we have woven ourselves into hell.
Certainly, unless we can recreate the essence of our cooperative origins on a mass scale within our present technological development, there seems to be no solution in sight to this hell we have created.
Perhaps, it will be global warming that finally returns our remaining descendents to paradise. DS