What a Neoliberal President Wants Most
Democracy, U.S. Release 2.0: As long as you believe you have a choice, you will stop short of rebellion. When you no longer believe you have a choice, you will be stopped short of rebellion.
Enjoy the election season; a whole lot of money is being spent for your entertainment.
AAPSOnline Covering Its Tracks
Wait. What? Yes, go to the AAPSOnline YouTube Channel and have a look at some of the issues that obsess this seemingly legitimate little group.
Despite a general willingness to publish rather questionable content, the AAPS apparently determined that something in that scrubbed video wasn't good PR right now.
Awaiting the Candle
The self-proclaimed "reality-based community" prefers a world of reason and logic, science and evidence. Superstition yields to knowledge, rationality triumphs over fear.
The darkness harbors nothing that isn't there when the candle is lit.
The Second Day of November in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Ten, the candle's light will illuminate what has been waiting in the darkness.
If you are not fearful of what may come of that light, you were not paying attention as the darkness was gathering.
The History of Tomorrow, Yesterday
If you read it back then, you might want to read it again now to see how my predictions of nearly two years ago have stood the test of time. If you didn't read it in early November of 2008, I invite you to read it in its entirety now. Not only did I describe with some degree of accuracy what has transpired in the two years since Barack Obama was elected President, but I went on to offer, at least in relatively general terms, what will happen beyond this particular period, when the Far Right is emerging as a clear political force becoming definable, recognizable, and potentially significant.
As an enticement to read the whole article, here is a brief excerpt:
Even though [Obama] has masterfully brought moderate conservatives to his camp in the course of his campaign for the presidency, they would be unlikely to continue supporting him for very long but for the consolidation of the Republican Party to the Right and, more ominously and importantly, to the extreme Right, that latter group being the people Sarah Palin is becoming more and more comfortable courting. Although she, herself, might or might not be as much of an extremist as the more vociferous of the attendees at her rallies, she has a native ability to entice them and to draw them to identify with her. As bad as she is when put on the spot by interviewers, she is every bit as good when she—by her words, her expressions, and her very voice—is in control of the narrative before a boisterous crowd. It is in those open, crowded, noisy venues that the enticement she hands out like candy from a basket teeters in a precarious but oddly stable balance on the precipice of incitement. She need not call the crowd to fury in order to make the constituents furious; she need not exhort the crowd to bitterness to make her supporters bitter; and, in the end, she would never have to remind her supporters of their growing rage to enrage them. Those people waving "Sarah Palin" signs know this campaign has turned remarkably bad for them: a man they do not want to be President will, in fact, be elected, and that means everything about him, from his color to his politics, is justifiably magnified, demonized, and then hated.When I ask students about the best way to predict the future, they usually answer with something about looking back at history for guidance. I tell them that way is not reliable; the best way to predict the future is to create it.
Whether by intent or otherwise, those in McCain's camp who championed his selection of Palin were bidding to transform Republicanism from a political party into a movement, a crucial step in the kind of resurgence from the fringe that European neo-fascists are now enjoying...
[T]here is every possibility that from the ashes of defeat the Republicans will suffer in the election rout three days from now will emerge a bitter fringe group looking for a leader, a cause, and some semblance of a coherent theme, if not a cogent (albeit illogical) philosophy: those are the ingredients for a movement to form. The circumstances that would foster the political articulation of that movement are, most unfortunately, almost inevitable. The economic catastrophe caused by the past nearly eight years of recklessly irresponsible taxation, spending, and monetary policies have placed the country on a collision course with nearly ruinous pain, and the Democrats, led by Barack Obama, will not have the courage (nor, quite possibly, the know-how) to stop the freight train of economic recession before it leads to appalling, debilitating consequences, not the least of which will be inflation once the labor market recovers well down the road. This will herald the resurgence of the Right and its financially muscular extremists as a political force, exactly as it has at previous times in other parts of the world, most notably, South and Central America.
The leader of the Resurgent Right could very well be Sarah Palin. The cause will be the revitalization of the United States. The theme will be overt nativism tinged by racism, with openly religious overtones...
My students like that bit of wisdom. I don't have the heart to tell them that not one of them will ever have the power to create the future. Given that I cannot tell them the certainty of our powerlessness, I cannot then take them directly to another good way of predicting the future.
Eventually, I get to it in an oblique manner, though. It's when I spend one lecture teaching them Leftist economics. In that hour, in summarizing the methods of Georg Hegel, in my most dramatic oratorical flair, I say this: "History is not about conflict; history is conflict!"
We are, as always, living in the moment of history at its well spring; but while history is the chronicle of victory and defeat, the moment of now is about opportunities lost and seized. Hence, the Hegelian view of dialectical processes driving societies forward through time must carry not a valence of good or bad, but of something far more ominous: historical inevitability.
Read the rest of my article, "Sarah Palin, All on Her Own," to learn about the inevitable.
Information Entitlement Doctrine of Barack Obama
The Justice Department has just secured indictment against yet another federal employee for leaking secret information to the press. This makes at least four individuals in short order that federal prosecutors have sought to imprison for disclosing what the government thinks the American people have no right to know. The latest target in this aggressive campaign by the Obama Administration is Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, who allegedly told a reporter that the CIA had determined that another round of sanctions against North Korea might trigger the regime in Pyongyang to conduct a third nuclear weapons test.
According to the Associated Press, the 43-year-old Mr. Kim was a State Department contractor in the Bureau of Verification, Compliance and Implementation from the middle of 2008 until September of last year. Mr. Kim penned the introduction to Korea and the United States through War and Peace, 1945-1960, by Henry Chung (Seoul: Yonsei University Press, ©2000), and authored Master of Manipulation (Seoul: Yonsei University Press, ©2001), among other activities establishing at least some credentials of knowledge about intelligence activities on the Korean Peninsula.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General David S. Kris blustered that the indictment against Kim would "...serve as a warning" to would-be leakers of government secrets.
Perhaps the indictment will also serve as a warning to those still thinking that Barack Obama is something other than the latest fist of authoritarianism. The list of formally accused includes at least one soldier, PFC Bradley Manning, who delivered devastating combat video and documentation to Wikileaks, a Swedish organization founded by Julian Assange, who is beyond the reach of U.S. authorities. In their frustration at not being able to use American law to wreck Mr. Assange, a Swedish tabloid seems to have been the tool by which elements in the American government attempted to humiliate and discredit him with a claim in June that he was being investigated for two separate sex crimes. Unfortunately for the disinformation specialists, a day after the sleazy story was plastered across the headlines, Sweden's chief prosecutor summarily and publicly declared that Mr. Assange was no longer wanted on any such charges.
That failed operation aside, the U.S. has still obtained indictments against Americans who are alleged to have leaked classified information, including one against Bush-era National Security Agency executive Thomas A. Drake, who disclosed to a reporter at the Baltimore Sun embarrassing information about staggering cost overruns, mismanagement, and other problems at the NSA, particularly in a massive construction overhaul of the nation's signal intelligence infrastructure.
While the Obama Administration's law enforcement instrumentalities have adamantly refused to indict even one principal of the Bush Administration programs that crafted, implemented, oversaw, concealed, and cynically justified under color of legal counsel the systematic torture of detainees in violation of both American statutory law and international treaty obligations, the current top officials at DoJ are militating to imprison a resolutely up-standing, long-time member of the national security community who disclosed outrageous failures that cost the American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and delayed the implementation of modernization of the nation's antiquated intelligence-gathering capabilities.
Returning to the latest individual caught up in the government's ramped-up efforts to cork the flow of information the Obama Administration deems secret, U.S. Attorney Kris went on in his press conference about the indictment of Steve Kim to assert, "The willful disclosure of classified information to those not entitled to it is a serious crime."
The timeline of circumstances surrounding the document Mr. Kim leaked to the press is interesting, if not downright telling, about how President Barack Obama and his inner circle of advisers conduct foreign policy and manage information in multilateral negotiations.
After North Korea carried out its second test of a nuclear device in late May 2009 (a test considerably more successful than its first several years earlier), the Obama Administration swiftly and publicly took a lead in spearheading work on a new set of multi-nation sanctions against Pyongyang, ruled by the reclusive and rather odd Kim Jong-il, son of the equally reclusive and rather odd former strong man Kim Il-sun.
Like his father, Kim Jong-il is so resilient to outside pressures that he has let his own people go through one mass starvation after another rather than capitulate to demands from the international community on matters of nuclear non-proliferation. The best hope of getting any traction with sanctions against North Korea would not be through the toughness of the punishment so much as with the endorsement of the punishment by China, the only nation to which Kim Jong-il will even marginally listen, given China's cross-border trade with and stream of welfare to North Korea.
Apparently, at the same time Obama was conducting this very public, multi-nation campaign to further economically isolate Pyongyang, his own intelligence community had produced an information product that assessed a good likelihood that those very sanctions Obama and his foreign policy advisers wanted would have the highly undesirable effect of spurring the Pyongyang regime to test yet another nuclear device. Each such test is costly to North Korea in terms of weapons-grade nuclear fuel spent but also extraordinarily valuable in terms of wide-ranging technical know-how in nuclear bomb construction.
Obama's negotiators were whipping up international support for new sanctions against North Korea at the same time the Central Intelligence Agency was reporting its judgment that those sanctions would probably induce the Pyongyang regime to test another nuke: presidential diplomacy on the public stage to construct a concert of nations imposing sanctions on a rogue state, while that president's own, presumably trusted, analysts were back stage advising in a written document that success of the public diplomacy could backfire at 180 degrees to intended effect.
Then, throwing a monkey wrench into this interesting situation, federal contractor Steve Kim, on assignment to the State Department from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, leaked the classified report to a journalist, unnamed in the indictment against Kim but probably a reporter at Fox News. According to an updated Reuters release, somewhat unclear in its connection to the pending criminal case, Mr. Kim had also "...briefed former Vice President Dick Cheney and other top U.S. officials." Whether this was during the Bush Administration or after is not stated in the Reuters update.
On June 12, 2009, the United Nations passed Resolution 1874, which imposed sanctions against North Korea cumulative to those in Resolution 1718 of 2006, the latter resolution punishing the Pyongyang regime for its nuclear bomb test in May 2009, the former for its first bomb test.
North Korea has not tested a nuclear device since the one in the late Spring of last year. At the close of 2009, the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, a South Korean government think tank, issued its 2010 outlook, in which defense analysts found "a high possibility" that North Korea would conduct its third nuclear bomb test during 2010, in part to strengthen the Pyongyang regime during the anticipated transition of power to the son of Kim Jong-il, and in part to bolster its case that the nations of the world should accept North Korea as a legitimate nuclear state.
The U.S. issued no criticism of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses for its December 2009 public report, which directly discussed North Korea and which essentially paralleled in its findings the prior, secret CIA document leaked to the press without directly naming North Korea.
Notwithstanding claims by the State and Justice Departments that Stephen Kim compromised sources and endangered national security, it would at least appear that the difference between the U.S. government's outrage over the leak by Kim and the later, open report published by South Korea was that the Obama Administration had, in the second instance, already achieved its objective of securing the desired United Nations resolution in the context of a written American intelligence community conclusion that success at the UN against North Korea would be short lived and counterproductive.
It is quite likely that during the run-up to the UN vote on Resolution 1874, most nations with even marginally capable intelligence analysis capabilities had come to the same conclusion about the risk of new sanctions against Pyongyang, which means the Obama Administration seems to share the view of the previous regime in Washington that, given a choice, secrecy is preferable to transparency, regardless of its value to national security. Assistant Attorney General Kris put it succinctly: "...disclosure of classified information to those not entitled to it."
Label it "classified," and thereby make it an entitlement.
As the Central Intelligence Agency puts it, "Information is the most dangerous weapon of all."
In the view of a succession of diverse American rulers, including the current President, information is not a right of a free people, but is, instead, an entitlement, one reserved for those who must ensure that freedom is not taken literally by the governed.
Click on the graphic above to go to this motivational poster at my Cheezburger Network site and get the code to post this on your own Website. Otherwise, click on the poster so you can go and vote for the graphic.
Spread the word: the Right-wing extremists of this country get no more tolerance for their lives of cynical hypocrisy. The emperors of moral superiority have no clothes, and it's time to let them know that their nakedness is at once grotesque and laughable.
Schutzstaffel for the New American Century
As promised in my last post, given that the GOP has cranked up the hate machine time and time again, recently with an ugly, sexist, misogynist video comparing Republican women to Democrat women, your host here at The Dark Wraith Forums is taking up the challenge of demonstrating his Photoshop skills. The Minnesota GOP thought it would be just hilarious to produce and publish a video in which altered pictures of Democrat women were presented one after another to the song, "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
Setting aside the likelihood that the juvenile-minded Republicans behind this video were clueless about the actual meaning of that song's title, it seems the Right-wing party boyz were inviting a war of Photoshop skills. The motivational poster above, from my personal collection of creations at the Cheezburger Network, is a light and airy first salvo in what will become in later installments a veritable fusillade of withering graphics provided for the amusement of readers here at Dark Wraith Publishing online properties.
Be disturbed by my harsh, perhaps even unfair graphics, but know this: our nation does not benefit one iota anymore from the mealy-mouthed Democrats who appease Right-wing extremists, accommodate hateful demands from GOP know-nothings, and whine about vicious Republican tactics. The unrepentent little bullies who now control the Grand Old Party will never grow up until they have had a consistent, hard leather belt taken to their undisciplined, childish rear ends. As I have cautioned again and again and yet again, not only am I old school, I'm old-school conservative, maybe a little bit like a James Kilpatrick, a literate fellow who could throw acid with his tongue and his scowl, except that I can do it with the technologies of modern disinformation, too.
Stay tuned for more fun later, good readers.
A Message to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
In a recent interview with The Hill, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs condemned what he called the "professional left" for criticizing President Barack Obama: "I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested. I mean, it's crazy... They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality."
Writing here as an old-fashioned conservative who has deep, abiding disdain for the failed, hateful Right-wingers posing these days as conservatives and just about as little use for dysfunctional, self-loathing Democrats who never saw a chance for appeasement of the GOP extremists they didn't take, suffer me this brief, pointed, and less-than-diplomatic response directed to Mr. Gibbs.
Mr. Gibbs, if you think the "professional left" is somehow being unfair to Barack Obama, you and the chief executive are profoundly detached from any grasp of just how far from the promises of the 2008 presidential campaign Mr. Obama has fallen. He is not the "hope" and the "change" he was elected to deliver to the nation.
Furthermore, Mr. Gibbs, it is neither that "professional left," which has finally begun to understand Mr. Obama for the neoliberal he really is, nor even the obstructionists, the hate mongers, and the just plain venal of the New Right who are Mr. Obama's problem.
Take note, sir. The President's problem is, in fact, Mr. Obama, himself: a weak, inexperienced, hide-bound, Cold War-era thinker in a nation of vastly more sophisticated, more powerful individuals and interests than he, continuing as he so obviously is in pursuit of already failed paths set down for him by the previous administration and the instrumentalities of Congress, politics, laws, decisions, and personnel he does not have the will to dismiss, abandon, and repudiate.
Mr. Gibbs, I would genuinely prefer to see this nation spend several more presidential terms suffering the ugly failure of a Right-wing Republican in the White House than to see Mr. Obama there past 2012.
Yes, it is that bad, sir. Far too many Americans apparently have not yet suffered enough to know Right-wing failures and neoliberal appeasers for the disasters they individually and collectively are to the future prosperity of this nation. Instead of humiliating itself any further with inadequacy to the task embodied in the what the Democrat Party offered up as false hope and insubstantial change, your party power brokers need to be roundly and permanently driven into the wilderness so that new, fresh, powerful, uncompromising men and women can take the helm of the party and lead it to the strength needed not merely to break the back of the extremism of the New Right, but more importantly, to save what will be left of this nation by the time Obama and his Republican successor have fully crafted the catastrophic policies first set forth by George W. Bush.
As such, Mr. Gibbs, go straight to hell before your inadequate boss, President Obama, allows this country to be taken there for lack of bold, uncompromising leadership into the light of a new, prosperous era and away from the twilight of Empire.
Elements of Racism and the Arc of Hate
Even as the Tea Party's media representatives were denying the charge leveled by the long-standing civil rights organization, its own members seemed to be working at cross purposes to the benignly non-racist image Palin and others were trying to set forth. The Right-wing Washington Times, owned and controlled by the shadowy ex-convict Sun Myung Moon, founder and head of the global cult known as the Unification Church, headlined an editorial attacking the NAACP with the title, "Kill the Crackers," apparently accusing the NAACP of trying to incite murderous violence against Whites. Further depleting the credibility of denials from Tea Party officials, White supremacy Websites quickly published their own attacks on the NAACP in particular and, in some cases, Black activists more generally. A number of Right-wing commentators and officials brought up a case of voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party as exemplary of African-American racism targeting Whites.
As if the rank-and-file factions had not already offered troubling evidence contrary to denials of racism within the Tea Party, the seemingly official "North Iowa Tea Party" bought ad space on a billboard in Mason City, Iowa, and posted an appalling sign associating U.S. President Barack Obama with Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin.
Despite the claim by North Iowa Tea Party founder Ben Johnson that the sign would 'remain up for a month,' it was hauled down within a day as national Tea Party personnel scrambled to distance the movement from a (quite literally) towering example of its members' troubled mentality and outrageously preposterous hyperbole.
The NAACP accused the Tea Party of having racist elements in its ranks. Notwithstanding the furious denials of this allegation by Sarah Palin and other inspirational forces within the movement, the actions, words, and behavior of Tea Party members provide ample evidence that the Tea Party, for all its apparent lack of central command and control, does in fact have powerful undercurrents not only of racism, but also of nativism and generalized vitriol.
From the daily, appalling statementsboth direct and in coded languageof Right-wing extremists like radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh to the vile racial epithets hurled at Congressmen of color during last year's run-up to passage of national health care legislation (with the Tea Party claiming that these distinguished men were lying about the ugly incident), from gun owners openly parading firearms outside buildings where President Obama was speaking to racist diatribes published on Websites of White supremacists and their militias, the hate directed against Blacks, against immigrants, and against the United States government, itself, is palpable.
To the extent that the Tea Party cannot meaningfully change the values of its membership, the movement has yet to demonstrate its fitness to assume national power, given that it has not yet summoned the courage to openly embrace its character.
The Good Prince
From Chapter XVI of The Prince, by Nicolo Machiavelli:
Therefore, a prince, not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality in such a way that it is recognized, except to his cost, if he is wise he ought not to fear the reputation of being mean, for in time he will come to be more considered than if liberal...
We have not seen great things done in our time except by those who have been considered mean... A prince, therefore, provided that he has not to rob his subjects, that he can defend himself, that he does not become poor and abject, that he is not forced to become rapacious, ought to hold of little account a reputation for being mean, for it is one of those vices which will enable him to govern...
[T]here is nothing wastes so rapidly as liberality, for even whilst you exercise it you lose the power to do so, and so become either poor or despised, or else, in avoiding poverty, rapacious and hated. And a prince should guard himself, above all things, against being despised and hated; and liberality leads you to both. Therefore it is wiser to have a reputation for meanness which brings reproach without hatred, than to be compelled through seeking a reputation for liberality to incur a name for rapacity which begets reproach with hatred.
Perhaps Mr. Obama is learning to be a good prince.
Even at this late hour, perhaps it is not too late.
Meg Whitman FAIL
Some of you have emailed us concerning a political attack video by the Meg Whitman campaign for California governor which features a screenshot of FAIL Blog attacking the other candidate Jerry Brown. We want to make it VERY clear that FAIL Blog nor the Cheezburger Network had any involvement or knowledge of the Whitman campaign use of a screenshot of FAIL Blog. In fact, the screenshot portrayed in the video never existed because the Whitman campaign faked the content within the screenshot. FAIL Blog or the Cheezburger Network has never been involved in any endorsement of any candidate or political party and do not plan to do so.
This is a place for humor, a place to laugh, and to have light-hearted fun poking at each other and what we see in the world. The FAIL Blog community involves liberals, conservatives and everyone across the political spectrum. And we do not endorse the use of FAIL Blog’s image or any content on any of the Cheezburger sites for anyone’s political gain.
We demand a written apology from the Whitman campaign and the removal of the video.
Ben Huh, Founder of the Cheezburger Network
P.S. Jerry Brown, you better not be thinking of using this image or post in your political ad either.
In the true spirit of the FAIL blog, the post is accompanied by this assessment of Ms. Whitman, who has, indeed, earned her place in the pantheon of FAIL.
Now, be sure to see more Epic Fails at the best FAIL site on the Internet, and while you're there, don't forget to stop by and have a look at the Dark Wraith's LOLz at the Cheezburger Network.
Oh, yes, one last thing.
Yo! Meg Whitman! You FAIL.
About That Nightmare Last Night
Watch the video. It's about eleven-and-a-half minutes long, and it's worth your while if you want to understand a little more about the complexities and nuances of the Bush presidency and, for political events on the ground in the here and now, why a gaggle of loose-cannon Teabaggers could have as much momentum and effect as they're having.
If you think the past is dead, wait until you see its children.
Bill and Barack
Bill Clinton, carrying no message from or portfolio in the Obama Administration, just waltzed into Pyongyang, sat down with reclusive leader Kim Jung-Il who was supposed to be gravely ill from a stroke he might have suffered last year and left with the two Americans, who were granted amnesty.
The Right-wing U.S. media just can't stand it: The Wall Street Journal Online simpered that the favor dispensed by North Korea "will bolster Kim’s bid to dissolve the six-party negotiations in favor of the direct talks with the U.S. he has long sought. It will also dismay some in South Korea and Japan, which have their own hostages in North Korea and will wonder why Mr. Clinton couldn’t obtain their release as well."
The fact of the matter is that the United States is now back in the hands of adults who are willing to put their reputations on the line and who are, more importantly, willing to bear the future risks of peaceful solutions rather than the far more perilous and fool-hardy risks of bellicose non-solutions that were the hallmark of the Bush Administration. President Obama showed this same character in personally sitting down with Professor Henry Gates and the law enforcement officer who arrested him, Sergeant James Crowley. While some media sources sneered that it was a "distraction," a more mature and attentive audience understands that this is precisely what leadership means: leading pragmatically from the front, on the ground, instead of from the clouds of vapid, simplistic ideals.
Imagine George W. Bush in these, his happy retirement years, going to any nation hostile to the United States, much less going there as a revered elder of the world. To imagine that, one must first suspend any thought of the possibility that a former President of this country might be arrested elsewhere on this planet as a war criminal. While our Right-wing fanatics will spend the remainder of this century shrieking down even the hint that a higher order of morality has already judged the man, his policies, and his underlings, the nations of the world have moved on, rectifying as they can the almost incomprehensible mess Bush created, even as they return to what remains of hope for leadership from the once great empire that is the United States of America.
Bill Clinton walked right into a closed, bitter, impoverished, marginalized, dangerous nation; and there he sat with the very man our own CIA spends untold billions of dollars trying to decipher.
Barack Obama sat right down with angry, embittered rivals of different races; and there, he got those men to talk civilly, bluntly, and constructively in a way that racists would hate and airheaded Leftists would insist only billions of dollars in federal programs could achieve.
As much as I shall harshly criticize Mr. Obama and his policies in the years and days ahead, and as much as I shall condemn the weakness, cowardice, and foolishness of the Democrats now in charge of Congress, I must also recognize that these are matters fundamentally less important than one overriding consideration to bear in mind, now: finally, for the first time in too many years, we have adults in charge of this nation.