July 29, 2010

Is Obama to the right of Reagan?

Frat-boy progressive Cenk Uygar thinks so.

“I don’t think Obama is a hard right-winger. It’s just that the political establishment in this country has moved so far to the right (though not the public, according to polls on specific issues) that as a natural politician when he goes to appease them, he is solidly center-right on the spectrum.

And the political line has moved so far that if Reagan tried to run as a Republican now he would be the laughing stock of the party. Rush Limbaugh would tear him to shreds and Bill Kristol would say he is Neville Chamberlain. He would be run out of town as a tax-raising, amnesty giving, terrorist negotiating, cut and run no-good lib who hates the troops.”

Since Uygur made this argument in Firedoglake in early July, (as well as on MSNBC when filling in for Dylan Ratigan,) I doubt very much we’ll be hearing much of that debate anytime soon, especially as Democrats try to rally for upcoming mid-terms. But don’t be surprised if Republicans bring up the comparison between Obama and Reagan if only to force Democrats into the debate! Ha! Still, I (only kind of) look forward to the vapid, ill-informed lies from both parties.

Card-carrying liberals and anyone else concerned with the growth of state power and secrecy may also want to consider the new ACLU report which, via Glenn Greenwald,  examines Obama’s first 18 months in office, and details how his acceptance of the previous administration's policies has actually made the Bush/Cheney radicalism into the “new normal.” And, as recently written about in the WaPo, they may also want to consider how utterly feckless and quiet the Democrats have been in sounding off about this growth of executive power as well as about the lack of intelligence oversight.

C’mon folks, what are we waiting for! Fascism baby! Bring it on!  

July 21, 2010

An unruly Behemoth

Neoliberal powers are anti-democratic and authoritarian. These powers are also not merely international in scope, and thus an eclipse of the traditional nation-state as well, but powers which ultimately enfeeble and control the political arena. To give you an idea as to how toothless ordinary democratic means and procedures have become, see the interview on DemocracyNow! with William Arkin, one of the WaPo reporters who wrote “Top-Secret America.” The investigative series addresses the enormous intelligence outsourcing since 9/11 to the private sector, and states: The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. But, as also stated, these hidden networks form a political underworld – “the darkside” – of military, government, and private organizations.    

Yet none of this is all that new. See the following interview for criticism of WaPo for being late in recognizing the privatization pathology of the War on Terror. Also remember that the September 11 Commission recognized these kinds of institutional problems of the post-9/11 National Security complex in 2003-2004. Thus, are we experiencing more of the same? Surely this kind of reporting is rare - and it should be commended. But are we experiencing once again something Jodi Dean refers to in Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies, (Durham & London: Duke University, 2009) as “communicative capitalism” where “the standards of a finance and consumption-driven entertainment culture produce the setting of democratic governance” by pushing links, interviews, blogs, and "news" only to be recycled and memed without any adequate accompanying radical political project ?