Progressive Calendar 11.22.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 2009 04:08:36 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   11.22.09

1. Albers/health     11.22 9:45am
2. End the Fed rally 11.22 11:30am
3. Stillwater vigil  11.22 1pm
4. Art & pie sale    11.22 1pm
5. Corp police state 11.22 5pm
6. Peace walk        11.22 6pm RiverFalls WI

7. GP 3CD meeting    11.23 7pm

8. Paul Street - Obama, as predicted
9. ed          - Change you can believe in (even if you'd rather not) (haiku)

--------1 of 9--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org>
Subject: Albers/health 11.22 9:45am

UHCAN-MN event:

Nov 22, sunday, Trinity Church, 9:45AM to 10:45AM, Foss Center (Augsburg
College, Riverside Ave and 22nd street). Eilleen Cole Room, 1st floor Joel
Albers, "Understanding the Health Care Reform Debate and what we can do".

Joel Albers Clinical Pharmacist, Health Economics Researcher Universal
Health Care Action Network - MN Community/University Collaborative
Research www.uhcan-mn.org email: joel [at] uhcan-mn.org phone: 612-384-0973


--------2 of 9--------

From: End The Fed Minneapolis <endthefedmpls [at] gmail.com>
Subject: End the Fed rally 11.22 11:30am

March starts at 11:30 AM (Loring Park)
Rally at 12:30 PM (outside Fed. Reserve Building - 90 Hennepin Ave)

Please mark your calendar for the third nationwide rally to End the Fed on
Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009 - exactly one year after our first nationwide rally!

For those participating in the march, we will meet at 11:30 a.m. at Loring
Park and march to the Federal Reserve building. The route will be about
1.5 miles in length moving through the downtown area to the Federal
Reserve.

For people who do not want to participate in the optional march, please
feel free to meet right outside the Federal Reserve building (90 Hennepin
Ave - Mpls, MN). The rally will begin at 12:30 p.m.

If you want to get involved or have any ideas please send them to:
endthefedmpls [at] gmail.com or follow us on twitter @endthefedmpls


--------3 of 9--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 11.22 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560


--------4 of 9--------

From: Tori Johnston <tori_j [at] msn.com>
Subject: Art & pie sale 11.22 1pm

I will be showing my beaded jewelry, loose beads and beautiful
scrapbooking papers this weekend at Holle Brian's home in south
Minneapolis. Please drop by, Tori

--
HOLLE'S HOLIDAY ART & PIE SALE
Sunday, Nov. 22, 1-5 p.m.
3953 12th Avenue South, Minneapolis

- Decorative Ceramic Sculpture, Tiles and Lucky Horseshoes by Holle Brian
- Felted Finery, Mottainai Wearables and Nuno Felt Silk Scarves by Diane
Richard
- Rare and Unusual Glass Beads, Beaded Jewelry and Scrapbooking Materials
by Tori Johnston
- Handmade Pumpkin and Apple Pies by Paul Hatch
Gifts and treats made by your friends!


--------5 of 9--------

From: Niklas Ludwig <kreuzauge [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Corporate police state 11.22 5pm

The Corporate Police State

We've updated the location for this event to accommodate more guests and
thought the broader liberty movement in Minnesota might be interested in
this event. We'll be meeting upstairs from the Blue Moon Coffee Shop on
East Lake Street (for those of you used to going to Merlin's Rest, it is 3
blocks east from Merlin's). Papa John Kolstad owns the building and has a
spacious loft on the second floor that can accommodate a big crowd. We'll
have refreshments and comfortable seating, AND, of course a great group of
speakers and topics! Here are the topics:

Many of you know Butler Shaffer who is also a frequent writer on
LewRockwell.com. Butler comes to town somewhat regularly and we've
convinced him this time to come to our meetup and speak. His topic is:

Corporatism is not Capitalism

"I will make a clear distinction between the ³free market,² and the
³business system.² To most people, these appear to be one and the same.
This is a topic that might be of particular interest to those on the
³Left² who, like most libertarians, have figured out that ³big business² ­
when a part of the corporate-state ­ is as much the problem (perhaps even
more so) than federal power. My approach to this issue focuses on the
importance of the inviolability of property interests, something that the
late Marxist/Trotskyite Max Eastman came to appreciate late in life."

Bill Butler is one of our local Austrians who has been published on
LewRockwell.com, has been a talk radio host, and might consider running
for elective office someday. He will be joining the party as well and his
topic is:

Gang of Thieves Writ Large: The Reality of the Police State in Minnesota

How can left and right unite to meaningfully challenge unconstitutional
forfeiture laws, rogue gang strike forces, probable cause warrants and
totalitarian arrest and detention orders?

And as if that isn't enough, LewRockwell.com columnist Karen De Coster is
visiting the same weekend and will join with Butler Shaffer, Bill Butler
and our own Nik Ludwig for a panel discussion of the presentations. The
panel will also take on a variety of local, state and national issues with
the goal of identifying areas where we may find agreement between the
various insurgent groups here in Minneapolis and in Minnesota. If politics
is the art of the possible, then it is these areas of agreement that those
of us interested in making changes to the entrenched power structure here
in Minnesota - from the Park Board on up to the US Congress and Governor -
will find success.


--------6 of 9--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 11.22 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022


--------7 of 9--------

From: "Allan Hancock" <3rdcdgreenparty [at] gmail.com>
Subject: GP 3CD meeting  11.23 7pm

3rd Congressional District Green Party Members,
7:00 PM Monday,  November 23, room 172
Ridgedale Library - 12601 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka , 55305

Agenda: Planning for a Progressive Day at the Capitol in February 2010

Any Progressive group who would like the opportunity to join in a rally on
Feb. 8, 2010 plan on attending this steering committee meeting to help in
planning talks in the rotunda and speaking to legislators to initiate
progressive legislation for next year's legislative session.

People from all party affiliations are invited.

Any questions or need a ride please contact Allan Hancock email address
above or phone (763)-561-9758
Allan Hancock, Chair 3rd Congressional District Green Party Local


--------8 of 9--------

Obama, As Predicted
By Paul Street
November 22, 2009
Znet

Those who bought into the slogans 'Hope' and 'Change' last fall should
have read the fine print.  We were warned.
 - Scott Horton, March 4, 2009 [1]

                 "WHAT BETTER GIFT TO EMPIRE?"

Barack Obama's deluded liberal fans love to say that his election to the
presidency was an improbable long-shot.  They're still pinching themselves
about the existence of a black U.S. president. "Who would have thought
it?" they still ask.

Well, I did, for one. As one of Obama's earliest[2] and most persistent
left critics, I actually thought a first black U.S. chief executive in the
form of Barack Obama was a likely occurrence (in 2012 or even 2008) once
John F. Kerry was defeated in November of 2004. My expectation that Obama
would be "Empire's New Clothes" is no small part of why I wrote an
inordinately large number of essays and ultimately a book on the Obama
phenomenon between the summer of 2004 and the 2008 election.[3]

I was not alone in seeing Obama as enjoying more than an outside chance at
the White House in the near future.  Other Left observers knew about
Obama's longstanding outsized ambition and his related "deeply
conservative" [4] ideological orientation and power-accommodating
nature.[5] We were aware of his early (late 2003-2004) and close vetting
by the national political and financial class[6] and of who really selects
viable presidential candidates and winners - the corporate and imperial
establishment.[7]  And we knew also that, as the brilliant left
commentator and author-filmmaker John Pilger noted last June, Obama's
racial identity could be a "very seductive tool of propaganda" working on
behalf of the ruling class. "What is so often overlooked and what matters
above all," Pilger adds, "is the class one serves. George W. Bush's inner
circle from the State Department to the Supreme Court was perhaps the most
multiracial in presidential history.  It was PC par excellence. Think
Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell.  It was also the most reactionary."[8] As
left black poet and political essayist Michael Hureaux observed in the
comments section of Dissident Voice in February of 2008

"I had a hunch this was coming when I watched his speech at the convention
four years ago, my wife and I both sat and took it in and looked at each
other and said, almost word for word, 'He's good, he's very good.' The
rakish JFK style jabs, the clearly studied rhetorical grace. What better
gift to the empire than JFK in sepia? All last year, numerous discussions
with people from the old new left who told us, 'He'll never get a shot at
it because of racist US etc,' to which we maintained, 'But what better
figure to have out there than one to restore faith in the imperial
project, but someone with a black face? They managed to live with Powell
and Rice, why not Obama?'" [9]

For some of us in possession of such dark appreciation of the politician
and his context, Obama was understood early on to be a distinctly possible
if not probable next president - despite or even because of his race. We
felt that he offered the U.S. power elite and its authoritarian business
and military order and global empire a much needed re-packaging - a
symbolic overhaul and "re-branding" - that none of the other serious
presidential contenders in the mix could safely provide to the same degree
required in the wake of the Cheney-Bush nightmare. For me and a few other
lefties I knew/know, there was little all that unlikely or surprising or
remarkable about Obama's rapid climb to the top of the American Empire. It
all made perfect sense. The same goes for Obama's performance as U.S.
president so far.

                      CANDIDATE CHOICES IN IOWA

In late December of 2006, a young progressive Democrat and recent college
graduate stated to me his intention of seeking employment with one of the
Democratic presidential campaigns that would soon be setting up shop in
Iowa. My initial response was to ask "why?" I expressed my timeworn
radical-Left distrust for American electoral politics and for the
Democrats. All my life, I noted, I'd seen the Democratic Party and the
broader corporate-managed political culture of which it (the "leftmost" of
the nation's two dominant business parties) is a major part deceive
progressive voters and citizens, betraying populist campaign rhetoric and
drowning popular dreams for a more just and democratic society in the icy
waters of corporate and imperial hegemony.  "If you must participate in
all that," I said, "work for Ralph Nader or whoever the Greens put up.
They won't win but at least you can feel good about yourself in the
morning."

This "cynical"[10] lecture delivered, I offered some opinions on which
Democratic candidates might be most worthy of support and which (a very
different question) were most likely to prevail. The closest thing to a
Left-progressive and antiwar candidate in the party's primary field, I
said, was Dennis Kucinich.   But Kucinich wouldn't have enough money to
hire more than an activist or two in Iowa. He had no chance of getting
past the U.S. election system's big money/big-media gatekeepers[11] to win
the nomination or even a single state during the primaries.

Hillary Clinton would have plenty of money to hire activists.  She would
get massive financial support from the corporate and financial sectors,
critical to success under America's openly plutocratic "dollar democracy."
But I could not recommend working for someone as tightly connected to
corporate power and the military as her. Hillary was a major war hawk.

Regarding her chances of winning the nomination, I felt that Hillary was
too identified with "the old" (the 1990s and the two Bill Clinton
presidential terms of that decade) for an election that was going to be
very much about selling "the new" in the wake of the long national and
global nightmare of the George W. Bush administration. She was directly
connected to an especially critical dimension of that nightmare by her
2002 U.S. vote authorizing Bush to invade Iraq - a vote for which she
would remain stubbornly unapologetic and which was certain to be a
sticking point among the liberal base that tends to wield unusual
influence during the early Democratic primaries.

The least objectionable and most "progressive" of the viable Democratic
candidates, I argued, was John Edwards.  Edwards' rhetoric suggested that
he would campaign against poverty, economic inequality, and corporate
power and for the labor movement to a remarkable degree. Whether the
multi-millionaire former U.S. Senator really meant it, I felt, was
unclear.  Edwards could be counted on, I thought, to spout many of the
same terrible (from my perspective) core foreign policy ideas - the
standard imperial language - as other leading Democratic and Republican
candidates.  But Edwards, the son of Piedmont mill worker, was staking out
an unusually advanced (for a major party candidate) position of "fighting"
for the poor and the working class against concentrated wealth and power.
I felt he had a real chance of winning at least Iowa, where he made a
strong late showing with his "Two Americas" (the wealthy Few versus the
rest of us) theme in late 2003 and early 2004. At the same time, I figured
that Edwards' "populist" rhetoric would doom his candidacy in the
critically important realms of campaign finance (dominated by the wealthy
and corporate Few) and corporate media. Corporate America and Wall Street
were not about to permit the triumph of a candidate who spoke about
"fighting the rich" in the name of democracy and ending poverty.  The
reigning communications authorities (General Electric-NBC, Viacom-CBS,
Disney-ABC, News Corporation-Fox, Time-Warner et al.) could be counted on
to mock and marginalize his campaign rhetoric (sincere or not) on behalf
of economic justice.

Edwards was also badly scarred amongst the liberal primary base by his
past position on the Iraq invasion. As a U.S. Senator (D-North Carolina)
in the fall of 2002, Edwards did not merely join Hillary in voting to give
George W. Bush the right to use military force as he pleased in Iraq.  He
(quite despicably) helped draft the ill-fated congressional war
authorization document! (In contrast to Senator Clinton, Edwards would
apologize again and again for his former pro-war position, but his regrets
came too late in the wake of the abject imperial fiasco that was
"Operation Iraqi Freedom" - a richly bipartisan affair, like the equally
illegal Afghanistan invasion and U.S. torture practices before and after
9/11.)

                         WHY I PICKED OBAMA

"If you want to work for the next president," I told the aspiring Iowa
campaign staffer in late 2006, "go with Obama." Barack Obama, I argued,
came from the same disagreeable (for a leftist like me) centrist,
corporate -neoliberal, and military-imperial moral and ideological space
as Hillary.  This was clearly discernible from Obama's recent policy and
political record as an Illinois state senator (1996-2004) and U.S. Senator
(2005-2006) and from the content of his many speeches and writings,
including his recently published "memoir" and (more to the point) campaign
book The Audacity of Hope (released in the fall of 2006).[12] Well
understood by the elite political operatives who had been vetting Obama
since late 2003 (as journalist Ken Silverstein showed in Harpers' Magazine
in November of 2006 [13]) - even before he became an overnight sensation
with his instantly acclaimed Keynote Address to the 2004 Democratic
National Convention in Boston - this Clintonian centrism would help him
secure the elite financial and institutional support required for victory.
It was richly consistent with, and reflective of, his grandiose political
ambitions, of strivings that were well known in Chicago and Illinois'
elite black and Democratic Party circles.

                  Five Advantages Over Hillary

Obama's power-elite backing would only increase, I felt, as it became ever
more clear to political insiders and investors that Obama possessed five
great and interrelated advantages over Hillary Clinton.  First, he was a
significantly more charismatic public personality than her.  The
uninspiring Senator Clinton was no match for the dashing young Keynote
hero with the "odd name" when it came to wowing a television or
convention-hall audience.

Second, the United States' incredibly powerful corporate media seemed
uncommonly spellbound by Obama. The junior senator from Illinois had been
riding a remarkable wave of media love since his deeply conservative [14]
Keynote Address.  I expected that love to deepen and expand in the
presidential campaign - an invaluable advantage whose importance could not
easily be overstated.

Third, and intimately related to that media approval, Obama was widely and
falsely perceived as a strong and dedicated opponent of Bush's unpopular
Iraq War. This was a critical plus in the primaries, where the Democratic
Party's liberal and progressive base held significant sway. It let the
in-fact imperial and militarist Obama appropriate "peacenik" consciousness
that would have more appropriately worked to the advantage of more
genuinely antiwar candidates like Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney, Ralph
Nader, and (curiously enough) Ron Paul. With its strong attachment to
Obama and its powerful tendency (shared with the broader U.S. political
culture it both shapes and reflects) to privilege superficial matters of
candidate character and "qualities" over substantive policy issues,
dominant U.S. media seemed unlikely to disabuse progressive voters of the
"fairy tale" (as Bill Clinton would rightly put it before the New
Hampshire primary in mid-January of 2008) that Obama was a "peace
candidate."

Fourth, Obama was widely seen as a left-leaning social-justice
progressive. This false image was encouraged by his racial identity, his
occasionally populist- and progressive-sounding rhetoric, and his short
stint (after graduating from Columbia University and before attending
Harvard Law during the 1980s) - heavily advertised in his campaign imagery
- as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago.  This would also
give him a significant edge among primary voters, who had been pushed to
the left by the harshly plutocratic and messianic-militarist Bush
administration. It let the in-fact corporate-centrist Obama benefit from
social-democratic voter sentiments that would have more appropriately
aided Edwards and (more genuinely left) Kucinich. Again, the media could
be counted on not to expose the liberal and progressive fantasy.

                        Novelty Dividend

Fifth, it struck me that Obama was going to garner a big advantage simply
from the fact that he was new to the national political scene. An
"overnight sensation" who entered the national stage just two and half
years ago, he was supremely fortunate not to have been in the U.S. Senate
when that body voted to authorize Bush to use military force against Iraq
(a vote that Obama candidly admitted he might have supported in the summer
of 2004). This "novelty dividend," immeasurably enhanced by his race and
by his "exotic" (technically Muslim) nomenclature, would be a great plus
in a period when the existing political order fails in spectacular ways.
Like toothpaste and automobile brands, U.S. politicians generally benefit
from being perceived as "new and improved." But the benefit of seeming
"fresh" and new-fangled takes on special importance in times of political
and policy breakdown. A political system that had gone sour would prove to
be a special plus for the candidate who could most credibly claim to not
have been part of it.  (Ironically enough, Obama was deeply attached to
the American corporate and imperial status quo, something that struck me
as clearly indicated by his past record and which has certainly been born
out by his subsequent record as president.)

The value of this "freshness" windfall, I sensed, was well understood at
the elite level, in ways that mattered. In the wake of the Bush-Cheney
disaster, the American corporate-capitalist system and its intimately
related global Empire required a public relations makeover - a
"re-branding," in advertising parlance - that Obama was uniquely qualified
to provide among the existing field of Democratic candidates. (Beyond my
general underlying Marxist suspicion that the U.S. capitalist system was
overdue for a major economic crisis and recession[15], I  had little idea
that the economy would go into recession (in the fall of 2007) and
experience an epic financial sector meltdown on the eve of the election -
developments that would deepen the system's need for "re-branding.")  At
the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist (I am no such thing), it
struck me that Obama offered the U.S. ruling class and American System an
irresistible advertising and imagery overhaul no other candidate could
begin to match.

                         A Killer Combination

Obama, it seemed to me, was poised to profit from a killer combination in
U.S. politics.  He joined widespread popularity and a related illusory
progressive identification among the citizenry to strong approval from
elite financial, corporate, and military elites who determined his basic
safety to existing dominant domestic and global hierarchies and doctrines.
Sophisticated corporate and military power brokers, I was sure, calculated
that his deceptive (as they knew, after vetting him) progressive imagery
and related newness would be useful when it came to "managing [popular]
expectations" that were certain to be heightened by the passing of the
Cheney-Bush regime and era. "Who better," I thought I could hear members
of the political and investor classes saying.... "who better than Obama -
with his outwardly progressive credentials, his 'community organizing'
past, and his non-traditional racial identity - to be the public face for
the long-predicted massive taxpayer bailout of high finance?  Who better
than Obama (with his supposed 'antiwar' record and his Islamic-sounding
name) to provide cover for the reconfiguration of U.S. military control of
strategically hyper-significant Middle Eastern oil resources in the wake
of Bush's Iraq fiasco?  Who better to safely channel popular angers and to
attach alienated segments of the citizenry to the corporate and imperial
state and to refashion America's image around the world?"

To make Obama's ascendancy seem more likely (to me at least) in the winter
of 2006, it was clearly going to be the Democrats' year in 2008. The
Republicans under Bush, Cheney, and Karl Rove had deeply alienated much of
the electorate with their arch-authoritarian militarism and with their
related regressive and repressive domestic policies.  To make matters
worse for the Republican Party in 2008, the G.O.P.'s candidate field
(likely and declared) was remarkably weak.  It was hard to imagine such
highly flawed candidates as Rudolph Guliani, John McCain or Mitt Romney
overcoming the Bush-Cheney legacy and the center-left drift of the
electorate (itself highly evident during the 2006 congressional
elections). It was clearly going to be time for the Democrats to be
returned to presidential power and try their hand at managing the American
System and Empire.

               NOT Disqualified by Race and Name

Many liberal, progressive and other observers thought that Obama's
blackness and technically Muslim name (including the middle name
"Hussein") would doom his candidacy in a majority white nation that had
been attacked by Islamic extremists (led by a man named "Osama") on
September 11, 2001.  America, they argued, was simply too racist to elect
a black man with an Islamic sounding name. Obama's color and name, the
argument ran, disqualified him in advance.  This was a common claim of
Edwards and Clinton activists in heavily Caucasian Iowa in the long
lead-up to that state's pivotal 2008 presidential Caucus. It was a key
part of the "improbable quest" and "impossible dream" narratives to which
Obama's liberal fans have been so attached.

I had a different perspective, consistent with my opening quotes from
Pilger and Hureaux. More than forty years after the peak legislative
accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement, I felt, the nation's white
majority was unwilling to meaningfully confront racial inequality and the
institutional racism and living historical white privilege that sustained
persistent steep black-white disparity in the U.S.  "Post-Civil Rights"
"white America" was all-too fiercely attached to the false notion that
racism no longer posed significant barriers to black advancement and
racial equality in the U.S. It was, however, ready to vote in large
numbers for a certain kind of black presidential candidate - one with
special qualities who made a point of distancing himself from traditional
black concerns, style, and rhetoric and indeed from the issue of race and
the problem of racism.  It was prepared to significantly back a smart,
unthreatening, expertly crafted "black but not like Jesse [Jackson]" and
"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" candidate like Barack Obama. This was
particularly the case among the younger sections of the white electorate.
At the same time, I knew, the ever rising non-white (primarily black,
Latina/o, and Asian-American) percentage of the U.S. voting population
(whites' share of the active U.S. electorate fell from 90 to 74 percent
between 1976 and 2008 [16]) meant that Obama would not necessarily require
a majority of the white vote to win the presidency.

Just as importantly given my understanding that top U.S. politicians are
fundamentally [s]elected by the investor class [17], I also felt that
Obama's color and name enhanced the U.S. power elite's sense of his
suitability for the project of post-Bush II American re-branding. The
"first black president" story line would be an irresistible narrative for
image-makers eager to restore the nation's sense and representation of
itself as a model democracy where "all things are possible" and no deep or
insuperable barriers to equality can be found. Along with Obama's
purported antiwar history, his Muslim name and his brief childhood stay in
Indonesia held great value in terms of tamping down "anti-American"
(anti-U.S. Empire) feelings in the Middle East, South Asia, and the
Islamic world more broadly - sentiments that had further been fanned by
Washington's deeply criminal and more than incidentally bipartisan
invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

With his distinctive promise to de-fang popular resistance to American
Empire and Inequality at home and abroad, a properly elite-vetted Obama
struck me as something of a ruling class dream come true in the post-Bush
environment.  He would make a marvelous vehicle for wrapping core
conservative, system-maintaining policy continuities in the deceptive flag
of progressive "change."

                       EXPECTATIONS BORN OUT

          Kucinich and Even Edwards' Rapid Marginalization

Looking back on the 2007-08 presidential campaign in the wake of events
and developments since Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics
went to press - the general election and the Obama administration's first
ten months in power - I (at the risk of sounding overly
self-congratulatory) am struck by great extent to which my late-2006
expectations (and concerns) have been born out by subsequent events.
Truth be told, I'm taken aback at how right (from the left) I was.

Edwards mounted a fairly impressive if rapidly forgotten "angry populist"
campaign notable for stunning platform oratory and detailed policy
prescriptions.  To be sure many of those prescriptions were less
progressive than Edwards' fiery rhetoric, some of which was hard to
believe coming from the mouth of an opulent trial lawyer who had sat on
the board of a leading Wall Street hedge fund (the Fortress Group).
Still, I came (like Ralph Nader)[18] to be somewhat impressed by the
extent to which Edwards was willing to run to the aggressively
economic-populist left of the "corporate Democrats" (as Edwards and Nader
both called them) Clinton and Obama.  Repeatedly referring to the labor
movement as "the greatest anti-poverty program in American history" and
proclaiming (in a paraphrase of Franklin Roosevelt's 1935-36 campaign
rhetoric) that he sought and welcomed the hatred of the rich, Edwards
rightly (in my opinion) mocked Obama's "Kumbaya" notion that meaningful
progressive policy change could be attained by conciliating and "finding
the middle ground" with corporate interests and the Republican Party.
Edwards in 2007 and early 2008 mounted what the prolific Marxist author
and political analyst Mike Davis rightly calls "the most chemically pure
pro-labor candidacy in a generation."  According to Davis in a recent
retrospective on the election:

"However one feels about Edwards' character (as exposed in yet another
bedroom scandal uncovered by right-wing bloggers), he was the only major
primary candidate [to run as]...an insurgent with an ideologically
distinctive platform - in his case, angry economic populism.  The former
senator from North Carolina (the son of a Piedmont millworker turned into
a millionaire lawyer) staked out a programmatic space that had been vacant
since Jesse Jackson's mobilization in the 1980s: the priority of economic
justice for poor people and workers.   Discarding the banal euphemisms of
his 2004 vice-presidential campaign, he spoke directly of exploitation and
the urgency of unionization, proposed a new war on poverty, denounced
'Benedict Arnold CEOs' who exported jobs, and, in a debate with Obama and
Clinton in Iowa, argued that it was a 'complete fantasy to believe that a
progressive agenda could be advanced by negotiation with Republicans and
corporate lobbies.'  Only an 'epic fight' could ensure healthcare reform
and living wages. (Obama's response was typical eloquent evasion: 'We
don't need more heat.  We need more light.')." [19]

Thanks to its fighting, anti-plutocracy tone, Edwards's campaign was
predictably mocked and marginalized (even prior to the exposure of his
marital infidelities) by the dominant corporate communications and funding
authorities. He was rendered officially "unviable" (along with the quirky
Kucinich, who absurdly threw his supporters to Obama) by the middle of
January 2008, [20] well before Edwards' bedroom shenanigans were exposed.

            Corporate Money and Media on the Democrats

Corporate money and media sided on the whole with the Democrats in 2007
and 2008 [21], reflecting the Few's determination that the Republican
Bush-Cheney fiasco called for putting the other dominant U.S. business
party in power for a term or two.[22] The Obama presidential campaign set
new corporate fundraising records, bypassing and probably blowing up the
nation's public presidential election-financing system.  His take included
$39 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate ["FIRE'] sector
[23] and nearly $1 million from the leading investment firm Goldman Sachs
(a big political and policy player that is not in the business of handing
over the White House to leftist or even mildly progressive enemies of
American plutocracy) alone.[24]  But just as significant and telling as
such sponsorship was the remarkably favorable free coverage and commentary
that Obama received from the nation's dominant media [25], which passed on
the opportunity to sink his candidacy by going and staying strong with
Clinton and right-wing Republican efforts to "Swift Boat" Obama on his
past connections to the "controversial" black preacher Reverend Jeremiah
Wright (who was savagely pilloried in and by the media for having dared to
tell taboo truths about U.S. racism and foreign policy and their
consequences) and the former radical activist Bill Ayers. America's
powerful corporate communications authorities fell more heavily for
Obama[26] than for any presidential candidate and president since John
Kennedy.

 Overcoming Race - Enough to Beat a Damaged and Terrible Republican Ticket

It didn't help the Republicans' chance of success that they ran a
transparently inadequate presidential ticket, headed by a blustering and
exceedingly aged arch-militarist who chose an egregiously unqualified,
far-right governor (Alaska's bizarre Sarah Palin) as his running mate.
"Multi-tasking on his beloved Blackberry or plugged into his MP3 player
during his morning workout," Davis notes, "Obama was easily cast as an
epitome of those 21st-century competencies that some psychologists claim
may represent a human evolutionary leap, while McCain, with his
self-confessed computer phobia and archaic elocutions ('My friends...')
was prone to caricature as an escaped Alzheimer's patient."[27]

Obama's race and nomenclature did not in fact undo him in his contests
with the unattractive candidacies of Hillary Clinton and McCain-Palin. To
be sure, race and racism posed serious problems for the Obama campaign,
which tellingly lost the majority white vote to both Hillary and - in a
chilling statement on the persistence of flat-out white racial prejudice
in the United States - to the ridiculous and scary McCain-Palin tandem.
Still Obama sufficiently overcame white electoral bias to win, scoring
especially well with younger Caucasians (so called Millennials, ages 18 to
29), and garnering a critical boost from non-white voters.  As Davis
notes:

"the ultimate fulcrum of the election was...the voting day unity of the
Blacks and Latinos in a renewal of the 'Rainbow Coalition.' Nationally,
whites cast 700,000 fewer votes than in 2004, but African-Americans almost
three million more, thus providing Obama with a third of his winning
margin...Obama's sensational popularity among young Latino voters (76
percent in Florida and 84 percent in California), testifies to the growing
importance of non-white or mixed identity as a cultural norm - as has long
been the case in Obama's home state of Hawaii - as well as increased
cultural and social integration of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, and
immigrants of all kinds in big-city neighborhoods and older suburbs.
Obama was clearly seen as opening the gates of opportunity to the larger
Hip-Hop nation, including the possibility of a future Latino or Asian
president." [28]

Demographic factors aside, the brilliant "race-neutral" Obama campaign and
their legendarily calm and collected candidate played the race issue to
perfection.  They masterfully balanced his skin color's attractiveness to
certain parts of the electorate and the investor class against white
anxieties over the perceived threat of black anger and against "post Civil
Rights" white America's reluctance (refusal really) to deal in any
substantive ways with the continuing significance of anti-black racial
oppression in American life. Obama and his handlers brilliantly walked the
racial tightrope, using race to their advantage and keeping its
potentially fatal power at bay during and in the wake of the controversy
that emerged over his past linkage to Reverend Wright in the spring of
2008.

Any chance that McCain might overcome his challenged candidate qualities,
changing electoral demographics, the terrible Bush record, and the
stunning unpopularity of the Republican Party was undermined by his
vice-presidential pick and by the onset of an epic financial crisis on the
Republicans' watch in September of 2008.  McCain responded to the economic
meltdown with shockingly ill-conceived comments. He was unable to remember
how many homes he owned and preposterously proclaimed that "the
fundamentals of the economy are good" - terrible mistakes that Team Obama
instantly and effectively pounced on. McCain's running mate Sarah Palin
was found to have been a highly problematic state governor and fumbled
basic questions (she was unable to remotely identify any key components of
The Bush Doctrine, for example) in disastrous interviews with ABC's
Charles Gibson and CBS' Katie Couric.  Still, the onset of recession and
the sub-prime mortgage and housing crises in 2007 had probably already
provided the last nail in the Republicans' electoral chances, pushing
millions of economically vulnerable white and Latino suburbanites and
others  our of the electoral "red" (Republican) and into the electoral
"blue" (Democrat)  for 2008. [29]

    A Centrist, Corporate-Imperial Presidency Facing Minimal Popular
                      and "Left" Resistance

Since the inauguration, Obama as president has governed as predicted -
well to the corporate, imperial, and racially neutral center-right.
Heralded by Advertising Age for giving "tainted brand America" an "instant
overhaul" (as open, progressive, egalitarian, and democratic) Obama has if
anything out-done my "cynical" expectations (dating to the origins of the
 largely media-created "Obama phenomenon"[30]) on the extent to which he
would betray his many progressive supporters (some deluded and some not)
and his more progressive-sounding campaign promises. Washington under
Democratic rule and the Obama administration (since January 20, 2009)
provides potent evidence for left-liberal political scientist Sheldon
Wolin's take last year ( before the election) on the chances for
progressive change under the United States "corporate-managed democracy"
and "one-and-a-half party system."  As Wolin predicted with haunting
prescience in his chilling book Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy
and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 2008), "Should Democrats somehow be elected, corporate
sponsors [will] make it politically impossible for the new officeholders
to alter significantly the direction of society." In the United States'
election-focused political culture, Wolin elaborated:

"the parties set out to mobilize the citizen-as-voter, to define political
obligation as fulfilled by the casting of a vote.  Afterwards,
post-election politics of lobbying, repaying donors, and promoting
corporate interests - the real players - takes over  The effect is to
demobilize the citizenry, to teach them not to be involved or to ponder
matters that are either settled or beyond their efficacy....The timidity
of a Democratic Party mesmerized by centrist precepts points to the
crucial fact that, for the poor, minorities, the working-class,
anticorporatists, pro-environmentalists, and anti-imperialists, there is
no opposition party working actively on their behalf."

It's all been deeply enabled by a dominant national corporate media and
propaganda system, of course, with disastrous consequences abroad as well
at home.  Just ask the survivors of the many hundreds of innocent
Pakistani civilians who have been killed by Obama's drastically escalated
"secret" Predator drone war, for example [31].  By the New Yorker writer
Jane Mayer's account, Barack Obama had embraced and deployed the
controversial killer drone program with remarkable zest.  "During his
first nine and a half months in office," Mayer noted, "he has authorized
as many CIA aerial attacks in Pakistan as George W. Bush did in his final
three years in office [emphasis added]....So far this year, various
estimates suggest, the CIA attacks have killed between three hundred and
twenty-six and five hundred and thirty-eight people.  Critics say that
many of the victims have been innocent bystanders." [32]

The first two CIA Predator assaults of the Obama administration occurred
on the morning of January 23, 2009 - the president's third day in office.
The second strike ordered by the "peace" president on that day mistakenly
targeted the residence of a pro-government tribal leader, killing his
entire family, including three children. "In keeping with U.S. policy,
"there was no official acknowledgement of either strike." Thanks to the
CIA/Xe Services/White House program's official secrecy, Mayer added,
""there is no viable system of accountability in place, despite the fact
that the agency has killed many civilians inside a politically fragile,
nuclear-armed country with which the U.S. is not at war." [33]

Obama's predictable (and predicted) betrayals of his more leftish campaign
rhetoric and imagery have met only minimal and half-hearted opposition
from what's left of a U.S. left. Unjust wars and occupations,
mega-bankers' bailouts and other regressive policies that were seen as
intolerable under the nominal rule of a boorish moron from Texas (George
W. Bush) have become acceptable for many "progressives" when carried out
by an eloquent and urbane black Democrat from Chicago (Barack Obama). A
recent pathetic example - one of many - comes from the so-called
liberal-left journal The Nation, whose bourgeois editor Katrina Vanden
Huevel proclaims the following in an editorial titled "Obama, One Year
On:" "Whatever one thinks of Obama's policy on any specific issue, he is
clearly a reform president committed to improvement of peoples' lives and
the renewal and reconstruction of America... Progressives should focus
less on the limits of the Obama agenda and more on the possibilities that
his presidency opens up" [34].

Ms. Vanden Heuvel announces here that she has fallen prey to what Chris
Hedges, author of the recent book Empire of Illusion, calls "Brand Obama."
As Hedges wrote last May:

"Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel
good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, our
elected officials continue to have their palms greased by armies of
corporate lobbyists, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia
and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East. Brand Obama is about
being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our
president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun
out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, we are being
duped into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our
interest."

"... The Obama campaign was named Advertising Age's marketer of the year
for 2008 and edged out runners-up Apple and Zappos.com. Take it from the
professionals. Brand Obama is a marketer's dream. President Obama does one
thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of
successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of
how they can make you feel [or because of crass and calculating
motivations related to funding and perceived access to power at the upper
ranks of the liberal Establishment - P.S.]." [35]

In the absence of meaningful anger and protest on the left, the dodgy
Republican right wing and its still-potent "noise machine" is absurdly
left to soak up and express much of the legitimate "populist rage" that
ordinary Americans quite naturally feel over Washington's continuing
captivity to concentrated wealth, corporate-direction, and the
military-industrial complex in the Age of Obama.

               Resentment abhors a vacuum. [36]

This great left failure is, in part, a great, "expectation-managing"
accomplishment of the fake-progressive Obama phenomenon and presidency.
Obama was seen as a desirable candidate by the establishment partly
because of his promise to encourage that failure.

This left malfunction was foreseen. After noting that Obama was "backed by
the biggest Wall Street firms," the prolific left commentator and
author-filmmaker John Pilger wrote the following at the end of May 2008:

"What is Obama's attraction to big business?  Precisely the same as Robert
Kennedy's [in 1968].  By offering a 'new,' young and apparently
progressive face of Democratic Party - with the bonus of being a member of
the black elite - he can blunt and divert real opposition.  That was Colin
Powell's role as Bush's secretary of state. An Obama victory will bring
intense pressure on the US antiwar and social justice movements to accept
a Democratic administration for all its faults.  If that happens, domestic
resistance to rapacious America will fall silent." [37]

For my part, I wrote as much about "the Obama phenomenon" as I did before
the election (see note 3, below) because I was concerned about Obama's
special capacity to co-opt and stand down the antiwar movement and
progressive forces (already in a terrible weakened state) more broadly.
Obama had always struck me as an especially seductive corporate militarist
in fake-progressive "rebel's clothing" and thus as a distinctive threat to
popular-democratic force.  I was certain that he would prove to be an
especially potent pacifier for the peace and justice activists and
progressive citizens. Given the fact Obama had no meaningful ideological
or policy differences with his fellow centrist corporate Democrat Hillary
Clinton and that he actually ran slightly to her right on domestic policy,
in fact, I would later come, along with the left and black political
scientist Adolph Reed Jr. [38], to see the former First Lady as the
"lesser evil" in her epic nomination battle with Obama.  A Hillary Clinton
presidency, I reasoned, would do every bit as much (however limited)
policy "good" as a president Obama but would not possess the same capacity
as Obama to shut down progressive politics and protest and - intimately
related to that pacification role - to deceptively "re-brand' and
re-legitimize American capitalism, racism, secxism, eco-cidalism, and
imperialism at home and abroad.

                       AND SO IT GOES, UNLESS...

This great service to dominant domestic and global hiearchies
notwithstanding,  the new centrist corporate-and military president has
been consistently dogged with the preposterous but potent right-wing
charges that he is a "socialist," a radical black "white-hater," and an
enemy of American global power.  And this too, was foretold. As I noted in
the preface to my 2008 book Barack Obama and the Future of American
Politics:

"By the time this volume hits the bookshelves, I am aware, its portrayal
of Obama as a relatively conservative, capitalism-/corporate-friendly,
racially conciliatory, and Empire-friendly 'centrist' will strike some
readers as counter-intuitive.  The nation's still-potent right-wing
Republican attack machine will already be regularly and unreasonably
assailing Obama as a 'far left' candidate, a 'socialist,' a 'black
nationalist,' and a dangerous .anti-American' enemy of God, Country, the
Family, and Apple Pie! Obama will also be subjected to no small measure of
ugly racial bigotry.  The racial fears and bias and toxic color prejudice
- already evident across the Internet as I draft this preface in early
June of 2008 - that his presidential candidacy will arouse will sometimes
make it seem like the Obama phenomenon represents a real and substantive
challenge to racial hierarchy in the U.S."

"These unpleasant facts will make more difficult than it would be
otherwise to understand the Left critique of "the Obama phenomenon" that
comes in the chapters that follow..."

If only American politics wasn't so damn and boringly predictable,
consistent with the old French saying: plus ca change, plus c'est la meme
chose - the more things change, the more they stay the same.  "And so it
goes," as Kurt Vonnegut used to say.

So it goes, that is, unless and until the populace enters the picture and
turns it upside down through dedicated mass, grassroots activism beneath
and beyond the quadrennial, mass-marketed, corporate-crafted, and
candidate-centered "electoral extravaganzas" [39] and re-branding
exercises that pass for meaningful democratic politics in the United
States.

Paul Street (paulstreet99 [at] yahoo.com) is the author of many books,
articles, chapters, reviews, and speeches.  His next volume is
provisionally titled "Empire's New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World
of Power and the Politics of Progressive Betrayal" (2010).

NOTES*

*Readers will have to activate the URLs below on their own; the author
lacks the time and energy to make them active in-text.

1. Scott Horton, "Finding Ways to Stay in Iraq," Antiwa.com, March 4,
2009.

2. Paul Street, "Keynote Reflections," (Featured Article), ZNet Magazine
(July 29th, 2004), available online at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=41&ItemID=5951.

3 My efforts included "The Pale Reflection: Barack Obama, Martin Luther
King Jr., and the Meaning of the Black Revolution," ZNet Magazine (March
16, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=12336; "Barack Obama's
Wonderful Wealth Primary," ZNet Magazine (April 11, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=12551; "Sitting Out The
Obama Dance in Iowa City," ZNet Magazine (April 28, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=12687;
"Imperial Temptations: John Edwards, Barack Obama, and the Myth of
Post-World War II United States Benevolence," ZNet Magazine (May 28,
2007), read at http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=12928;
"Barack Obama's White Appeal: and the Perverse Racial Politics of the
Post-Civil Rights Era," Black Agenda Report (June 20, 2007), read at
http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=254&Itemid=34;
"John Edwards and Dominant Media's Selective Skewering of Populist
Hypocrisy," ZNet Magazine ( June 29, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13177; "Running Dog
Obama" ZNet Magazine (July 29, 2007), available online at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13396; "Democratic Iraq
Betrayal: Treachery on the Campaign Trail," ZNet Magazine (August 12,
2007), read at http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13532;
"Obama's Forgotten Wal Mart Endorsement," ZNet Magazine (August 28, 2007),
read at http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13635; "Obama's
Insults," Empire and Inequality Report No. 25, ZNet Magazine (October 3,
2007), read at http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13940;
"Obama's Role: To Confuse and Divide the Progressive Base," Iowa Campaign
Report, ZNet Magazine (October 20, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=14081;"What Would Obama
Have Done? Voted for the War and Lied About It - Just Like Hillary," ZNet
Magazine (October 13, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=14030; "Leading
Democrats: .Expropriate the Expropriators' (A Satire)," ZNet Magazine
(November 10, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=14243;  "Obama and
Pluralist Illusion," ZNet Sustainer Commentary (October 31, 2007), read at
www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2007-10/31street.cfm; "Trapped By Their
Own Militarism?" Democrats Bare Their Back for the American Right," ZNet
Magazine (November 15, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=14291; "Establishment
Politics in .Rebel's Clothing': Corporate Power, Populist Pandering, and
the Ironies of Identity in the Democratic Presidential Race," ZNet
Magazine (November 18, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=90&ItemID=14316;
"Obama's Latest .Beautiful Speech,'" ZNet (March 22, 2008), read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/16947; "The Audacity of
Reaction," ZNet (March 19, 2008), read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/16918; "' No Refuge But in
Audacity'  Barack Obama and the Democratic Party's Holocaust Denial," ZNet
(April 23, 2008), read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/17231; "News Flash: Obama
Lies," ZNet (June, 22 2008), read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/17974;
"No More Excuses": Putting Obama's Blackness to Racist Use (June 16,
2008), read at http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/17919;
"Hidden Revolutionary Sentiment in the Heartland - a Reason for HOPE,"
ZNet (May 3, 2008), read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/17530;  "The Pastor v. The
Politician," ZNet (May 1, 2008) read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/17509; "Race and Class in
the Democratic Primaries," ZNet  (April 25, 2008), read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/17509; "Obama's .Shift to
the Center' and the Narrow Authoritarian Spectrum in U.S. Politics," ZNet
(July 01, 2008), read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/18052; " . Anyone Out
There?'" ZNet (November 10, 2008), read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/19414; "Redistribute the
Wealth?," ZNet  (October 29, 2008), read at
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/19257; "John Kennedy,
Barack Obama, and .the Triple Evils That Are Interrelated,'" Black Agenda
Report (July 23, 2008), read at
www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=710&I
temid=1; "The Audacity of Imperial Airbrushing: Barack Obama's Whitewashed
History of U.S. Foreign Policy and Why it Matters ," ZNet (July 6, 2008),
read at http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/ viewArticle/18110

4. I owe the phrase "deeply conservative" to Larissa MacFarquhar, "The
Conciliator: Where is Barack Obama Coming From?," The New Yorker (May 7,
2007). In an in-depth account of Obama published in the spring of 2007,
MacFarquhar (no leftist) reported that, "In his view of history, in his
respect for tradition, in his skepticism that the world can be changed any
way but very, very slowly, Obama is deeply conservative."

5.  For left critiques (other than my own) of Obama along these lines,
please see Adolph Reed, Jr., "The Curse of Community," Village Voice
(January 16, 1996), reproduced in Reed,  Class Notes: Posing as Politics
and Other Thoughts on the American Scene  (New York, 2000); Adolph J. Reed
Jr., "Sitting This One Out," The Progressive (November 2007); Adolph Reed,
Jr., "Obama No," The Progressive (May 2008); Ken Silverstein, "Barack
Obama, Inc.: The Birth of a Washington Machine," Harper's (November 2006);
John Pilger, "After Bobby Kennedy (There Was Barack Obama)," Common Dreams
(May 31, 2008), read at www.commondreams.org/archive/ 2008/05/ 31/9327/;
Glen Ford and Peter Gamble, "Obama Mouths Mush on War," Black Commentator,
December 1, 2005, read online at
http://www.blackcommentator.com/161/161_cover_obama_iraq.html; Glen Ford,
"Barack Obama The Warmonger," Black Agenda Report (August 8, 2007),
http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=305&Itemid=34;
Glen Ford, "Obama's .Race-Neutral' Strategy Unravels of its Own
Contradictions," Black Agenda Report (April 30, 2008),
www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=603&Itemid=1;
Marc Lamont Hill, "Not My Brand of Hope: Obama's Politics of Cunning,
Compromise, and Concession," CounterPunch February 11, 2007; Alexander
Cockburn, "Obama's Game," CounterPunch (April 24, 2006), read at
www.counterpunch.org/cockburn04242006.html; Matt Gonzales, "The Obama
Craze: Count Me Out," BeyondChron: San Francisco's Online Daily (February
28 2008) read online at
www.beyondchron.org/articles/index.php?itemid=5413#more; Juan Santos,
"Barack Obama and the End of Racism," Dissident Voice, February 13, 2008;
Bruce Dixon, "Holding Barack Obama Accountable," Dissident Voice (February
15, 2008), read at
www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/02/holding-barack-obama-accountable/; Pam
Martens, "Obama's Money Cartel," CounterPunch (February 23, 2008) read
online at http://zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/16601; Pam Martens,
"The Obama Bubble: Why Wall Street Needs a Presidential Brand," Black
Agenda Report (March 5, 2008); Chris Hedges, "Corporate America Hearts
Obama," AlterNet (April 30, 2008), read at
http://www.alternet.org/election08/83890/?page=entire.

6. Ken Silverstein, "Barack Obama, Inc.: The Birth of a Washington
Machine," Harper's (November 2006).  See also David Mendell, Obama: From
Promise to Power (New York: Harpercollins, 2007): 248-250.

7. Laurence H. Shoup, "The Presidential Election 2008," Z Magazine
(February 2008); Edward. S Herman, "How Market-Democracy Keeps the Public
and .Populism' At Bay" (2007), read at
www.coldtype.net/Assets.07/Essays/0907.Ed.market.pdf;  Edward S. Herman
and David Peterson, "Riding the .Green Wave' at the Campaign for Peace and
Democracy and Beyond," Electric Politics, July 22, 2009.

8. John Pilger, "Obama and Empire," speech to International Socialist
Organization, San Francisco, CA (July 4, 2009).listen to selected passages
at
http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/john-pilger-obama-is-a-corporate-marketing-creation/

9. Michael Hureaux, comment on Juan Santos, "Barack Obama and the End of
Racism," Dissident Voice, February 13, 2008.

10. "The power of accurate observation," the Irish dramatist and socialist
George Bernard Saw once said, "is commonly called cynicism by those who
have not got it."

11. Herman, "How Market Democracy Keeps the Public and .Populism' at Bay."

12. For a detailed review and radical critique of The Audacity of Hope,
see Paul Street, "Audacious Deference to Power," ZNet Magazine (January
24, 2007), read at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=11936

13. Silverstein, "Barack Obama, Inc;" Mendell, Obama, pp. 248-250.

14. Paul Street, "Keynote Reflections," (Featured Article), ZNet Magazine
(July 29th, 2004), available online at
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=41&ItemID=5951.

15. I am reminded here of the old joke about the Marxist who predicted
eleven of the last four recessions.

16. Mike Davis, "Obama at Manassas," New Left Review (March-April 2009),
p. 24.

17. Thomas Ferguson, Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party
Competition and Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1995); Edward. S Herman, "How
Market-Democracy Keeps the Public and .Populism' At Bay" (2007), read at
www.coldtype.net/Assets.07/Essays/0907.Ed.market.pdf

18. On MSNBC's "Hardball" on December 17, 2007, Nader told political talk
show host Chris Mathews that Obama had "excluded himself from the
progressive coalition by the statements he's made, unfortunately.  He's a
lot smarter than his public statements, which are extremely conciliatory
to concentrated power and big business...The people of Iowa and New
Hampshire have to ask themselves: who is going to fight for you."
Explaining why he was endorsing Edwards in Iowa, Nader noted that "Edwards
raises the question of the concentration of power and wealth and power in
a few hands that are working against the majority of people"  In Nader's
view, "the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire have to ask themselves a
question: .who is going to fight for you?'"

19. Davis, "Obama at Manassas."

20.  For some real-time reflections, see Paul Street, "John Edwards and
Dominant Media's Selective Skewering of Populist Hypocrisy," ZNet Magazine
( June 29, 2007), read at
www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13177; "A Very Narrow
Spectrum: Even John Edwards is Too Far Left for the U.S. Plutocracy," ZNet
Sustainer Commentary (August 29, 2007), read at
www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2007-08/29street.cfm ; "A Message From the
Corporate Plutocracy," ZNet (February 5, 2008), read at
www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/16425.

21. Paul Street, "Corporate Money on the Democrats: The Bad News,"   Z
Magazine (December 2007); Center for Responsive Politics, "Money Wins
Presidency and 9 of 10 Congressional Election in Priciest Election Ever"
(Washington DC:: Center for Responsive Politics, November 5, 2009), read
at
http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/11/money-wins-white-house-and.html;
NEED MORE CITES

22. Lance Selfa, "Politics of Change or Politics as Usual?" International
Socialist Review, vol. 61 (September-October 2008, read at
http://www.isreview.org/issues/61/feat-obama.shtml.. "The challenge for
the elites that have benefited so much from the neoliberal era," Selfa
noted, "is to support a change in U.S. politics that will address the
parts of these crises that impinge on their ability to reap profit and
power, while containing popular demands for reforms to health care,
workplace rights, or military spending that would challenge them. That is
where the Democratic Party proves its usefulness to the people who run
U.S. society. All things being equal, big business prefers Republicans,
whose generally open pro-business stances aren't usually balanced against
appeals to labor or the poor. But the current Republican Party.saddled
with responsibility for unpopular policies, mired in corruption, and
having demonstrated its incompetence in managing the affairs of state.has
run its course as a vehicle for carrying out, and winning support for, big
business's agenda. In the language of Madison Avenue that every pundit
seems to have adopted these days, the Republican .brand' is damaged. And
business knows when it's time to pull a bad brand from the shelf."

23. Center for Responsive Politics [CRP] "Barack Obama: Sector Totals,"
read data online at
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/indus.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638
(accessed May 30, 2009).

24. Center for Responsive Politics , "Barack Obama: Top Contributors,"
read data online at
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638
(accessed May 30, 2009).

25. Project for Excellence in Journalism, Pew Research Center, The
Invisible Primary Invisible No Longer: a First Look at Coverage of the
2008 Presidential Campaign (October 29, 2007), read at
http://www.journalism.org/node/8191; Project for Excellence in Journalism,
"Winning the Media Campaign: How the Press Reported the 2008 General
Election" (October 22, 2008), read at
http://www.journalism.org/node/13307;

26. Bernard Goldberg, A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic)
Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media
(Regnery, 2009). I disagree with the noxious arch-reactionary Goldberg's
preposterous claim that Obama, the Democratic Party, and the mainstream
U.S. media are leftist.  I agree, however, with his notion of a
media-Obama love affair.

27. Davis, "Obama at Manassas." For a devastating portrait of McCain, see
Tim Dickinson, "Make Believe Maverick," Rolling Stone (October 16, 2008),
read at
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/make_believe_maverick_the_real_john_mccain.

28. Davis, "Obama at Manassas."

29. Davis, "Obama at Manassas."

30. Street, "Keynote Reflections."

31. Jane Mayer, "The Predator War," The New Yorker (October 26, 2009), pp.
36-37.

32. Mayer, "Predator War," p. 37.

33. Mayer, "Predator War," pp. 37-38.

34. Katrina Vanden Heuvel, "Obama, One Year On," The Nation (November 23,
2009), pp. 6-7.

35. Chris Hedges, "Buying Brand Obama," Truthdig (May 3, 2009), read at
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090503_buying_brand_obama/

36. For important reflections on the dangerous far right opportunity
created by the progressive vacuum resulting from "left" quiescence and
irrelevance, see Noam Chomsky, "Noam Chomsky and the Workers Solidarity
Movement Discuss Politics Over Breakfast" (November 10, 2009), at
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/14942; Walden Bello, "The G20 After the
Crash," International Socialist Review (November-December 2009), pp.
23-23. As Bello says, "there is [currently] space for a great deal of
questioning of what direction economies should be going and to put forward
a demand for greater popular control of the economy.  Progressives should
go beyond just a critique of neoliberalisma nd push for more thoroughgoing
social transformation that would people in control of the economy.  If
they don't do it, then there are others that will do it from the right
wing.  There is a big danger in many countries, which lack a strong
progressive leadership for envisioning such a future and leading a fight
for it, that the right will take advantage of the fears created by the
chaos of the financial crisis and promote solutions of an exclusionist and
tribal sort....Globally there is a mass of people, young and old from
different classes, who are waiting to be mobilized.  We better get them,
because if we don't, other unsavory forces on the right are going to get
them.  Just as nature abhors a vacuum, so do history and politics."
Chomsky is struck by the disturbing fact that in the starkly
business-dominated U.S. it is only the "crazy" right that is articulating
any sense of popular outrage over things like rising unemployment and Wall
Street bailouts under Obama.  The situation reminds him somewhat of
pre-Nazi Germany.

37. John Pilger, "After Bobby Kennedy (There Was Barack Obama)," Common
Dreams (May 31, 2008), read at
www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/31/9327/

38. Adolph Reed, Jr., "Obama No," The Progressive (May 2008), read online
at http://www.progressive.org/mag_reed0508

39. Noam Chomsky, Interventions (San Francisco: City, Lights, 2007), pp.


--------9 of 9--------

 Change you can believe in (even if you'd rather not)

 Obama on his
 knees makes a white house into
 a famous cabin.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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