Jan 122011

by Stephen Lendman  | [print_link]

As expected, America’s major media won’t explain it. Nation magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel ducked the issue, saying it’s “a time for grief, not grievance.” Blaming a “crazed act of a clearly unstable man,” she called it “an assassination of democracy….shut(ting) down speech to slay those seeking its exercise,” then added “we still don’t know whether (violent rhetoric) was responsible for last weekend’s horror.” 

A Wall Street Journal editorial “Murder in Tucson” deflected blame from hard right extremists, and rejected political reasons for the attack, saying:

“….Loughner is a mentally disturbed man who targeted Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and anyone near here….because she was prominent and they were tragically accessible….Whatever confused political motives he expressed seem merely to be part of the maelstrom of his mental sickness.”

JARED LOUGHNER (below), a terribly maladjusted young man may have been swayed by right-wing rhetoric. 

In other words, blame a “deranged” gunman, not society, its extremist politicians, demagogic media hosts and pundits, and America’s longstanding culture of violence. More on it below.

New York Times writers Marc Lacey and David Herszenhorn noted “political repercussions,” concern for personal security, denunciation of threats and acts of violence against public officials, and overall outrage. Ignored was growing anger from festering economic conditions and the proliferation of violence across America, never reported when ordinary people are affected. 

A Times “Blood and Invective in Arizona” editorial noted accused gunman Jared Loughner’s mental illness and “Internet ravings about government mind control,” saying also that “scores of politicians” receive violent threats without explaining reasons for public anger or that society top down is responsible.

Unexplained as well is how radically, in recent decades, America shifted right, accentuated by extremist talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Back, Sean Hannity, and many lesser known ones except to their faithful. Also politicians, including conservative Democrats, Republicans, and Tea Party favorites like defeated Senate candidate Sharron Angle, referring to congressional “domestic enemies and homegrown enemies,” needing “Second Amendment remedies” as a “cure” for “The Harry Reid Problems.”

Key as well is the nation’s political/media-led war against Muslims, Latino immigrants, people of color, whistleblowers, progressives, dissent, and anyone considered unAmerican. Most of all is America’s violent culture, a topic a previous article addressed, accessed through the following link:


Key parts relating to domestic violence are covered below. It began by explaining that from inception, America glorified wars and violence in the name of peace. It’s waged them every year in its history at home and/or abroad against one or more adversaries.

RIGHT: 9-year-old Christina Green, one of the victims. 

It has by far the highest homicide rate of all western nations and a passion for owning guns. Violent films are some of the most popular, and similar video games crowd out simpler, more innocent street play of generations earlier.

Prescription and illicit drugs use is out-of-control as well as tobacco, alcohol and other type substance abuses. 

Moreover, US society is called a “rape culture,” data showing:

– one-fourth of adult women are victimized by forcible rape sometime in their lives, often by someone they know, including family members;

– one-third of them are victims of sexual abuse by a husband or boyfriend;

– 30% of people say they know a woman who’s been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year;

– one in four women report being sexually molested in childhood, usually repeatedly over extended periods by a family member or other close relative; 

– American women overall experience extreme levels of violence; an astonishing 75% of them are victims of some form in their lifetimes;

–domestic violence is their leading cause of injury and second leading cause of death;

– statistically, homes, with men in them, are their most dangerous place as millions of women experience battering by husbands, male partners or fathers; 

– for most women with children, there’s no escape for lack of means and because male assailants pursue them, causing greater harm;

– adding further injury, societal help is often lacking because women are afforded second class status, privileges and redress when they’re abused, so many suffer in silence fearing coming forward may cause more harm than help;

– their children are also abused; millions suffer serious neglect, physical mistreatment and/or sexual abuse; many only get relief through escape to dangerous streets where they end up alone, more vulnerable and in greater danger away than at home, where there, too, families act more like strangers or predators, forcing young kids to flee in the first place.

Throughout America, irrespective of class, income, race, religion or ethnicity, these conditions are more commonplace than rare. Moreover, peace, tranquility and safety are illusions when crowded out by foreign wars and domestic violence at home, in communities, neighborhoods, schools, through the media, in core families, and by federal, state and local governments waging war on ordinary people. 

It begs the question: what kind of country glorifies mass killing, assaults and abuse; that calls pacifist nonviolence sissy and unpatriotic, yet claims peace loving, “indispensable state” credentials, and manipulates false notions of exceptionalism and moral superiority to force our ways on others globally. It’s no third world dictatorship. It’s America where human rights, civil liberties, democratic values, common dignity, and personal safety are more illusion than fact.

American Society Breeds Violence 

Imperial America aside, popular culture breeds domestic violence. Television features it, studies showing nearly every home has at least one TV set, and 54% of children have their own in their bedrooms. They spend 28 hours a week on average watching, double the time spent in school, so they learn more about life through the media than from parents, teachers or friends. 

Before age 18, the average American child watches 200,000 acts of violence, including 16,000 murders, and studies show homicide rates doubled 10 – 15 years after television was introduced.

Moreover, potential adverse effects from excessive media exposure include: 

-- increased violent behavior; 

– impaired school performance; 

– increased sexual activity and use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs; and 

– decreased family communication among other negative influences, unrelated directly to violence.  

Studies show that two-thirds of children’s programming have violence, three-fourths committed goes unpunished, and most victims aren’t shown experiencing pain. Moreover, nearly half the TV violence children see is in cartoons, usually portrayed humorously with victims hardly ever having long-term consequences. 

In addition, big screen films are similar, exposing children like adults. So is online material, including pedophile cyber-seduction on unsuspecting children, leading to sexual assaults.

Studies also show how violent video games (VVGs) like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D and Mortal Kombat may increase aggressive thoughts, beliefs and behavior both in laboratory settings and real life. They’re worse than TV or films because they’re interactive and engrossing, getting players to identify with aggressors by acting like them while playing. These games teach violence. Many young people play them often and parents don’t object. No wonder years later they exhibit the same violent behavior as adults.

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) March 2010 Psychological Bulletin published an analysis of 136 papers, representing 130,296 participants and studies from several countries. It showed a consistent correlation between violent video game use and aggressive behavior.

Music also teaches violence. The Parents Music Resource Center reports teenagers hear an estimated 10,500 hours of rock music between grades 7 and 12 alone or nearly as much time as they spend in school. Entertainment Monitor reported three-fourths of popular CDs sold in 1995 included profanity or lyrics about drugs, violence and sex with some popular rap artist music glorifying guns, rape and murder.

Against this backdrop and centuries of belligerency, no wonder domestic violence and attitudes toward it are out of control. A lone gunman is symptomatic of ingrained values that proliferate violence daily in US communities and homes, unnoticed unless someone prominent is affected.

Moreover, America’s history reflects harshness against dissidents, labor, minorities, street protesters, rioters, ethnic or religious groups, and others, plus commonplace one-on-one confrontations. The great majority go unnoticed or cared about when committed by one person of color against another. 

For centuries, monstrous violence against Native Americans nearly exterminated them. Harshness against Black slaves included whippings, other beatings, rapes, mutilations, forced family separations and even amputations as punishment for runaways. Post-slavery,  Jim Crow and northern segregation enforced White supremacy on Blacks. Today include Latino immigrants, Muslims, and others disadvantaged as prime targets for state-sponsored repression plus whatever they experience in regular one-on-one incidents.

FBI and other Data

In 2009, the FBI reported 13,636 murders, itemized as follows:

– 6,452 by handguns (nearly half);

– 348 with rifles;

– 418 from shotguns;

– 1,929 by unknown firearms;

– 1,825 with knives or similar instruments;

– 1,864 by other weapons; and

– 801 with hands, fists or feet, etc.

The Brady Campaign.org campaign against gun violence gives much higher figures, including 30,000 annual gun related deaths and 70,000 injuries, including 3,000 children and teens. For Black men aged 15 – 34, firearm homicide is the leading cause of death. For Hispanic men aged 15 – 24, it’s the second leading cause. 

Moreover, America is the only industrialized country that “has not responsibly addressed the problem of gun violence,” causing, on average, eight times more fatalities than in other developed nations. For children under age 15, it’s 12 times higher.

America has few federal gun laws, and even those are pockmarked with loopholes. Among states, Arizona is the most lax, making gun purchases almost as simple as buying toothpaste. As a result, anyone can obtain them, even Jared Loughner. Despite his known extremism, instability, and perhaps derangement, he easily got a Glock 19, a dangerous semi-automatic handgun bought legally from Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson on November 30. Using a 30-round magazine with an extra bullet in the gun’s chamber, he fired the entire clip before subdued.

Data from the Department of Justice and other sources show:

– 960,000 violent acts against a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, and up to three million women physically abused by their husband, male partner or boyfriend annually;

– in 2001, more than half a million American women (588,490) victimized by nonfatal violence committed by an intimate partner;

– intimate violence is mainly a crime against women, accounting for 85% of these incidences;

– women are up to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner;

– in 2001, 20% of violent crimes against women were by intimate partners;

– up to 324,000 women experience intimate partner violence during pregnancy;

– women of all races are about equally vulnerable to intimate partner violence;

– women are up to 14 times more likely than men to report suffering severe physical assaults from an intimate partner;

– 20% of female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner, and 40% of 14 – 17 year old girls report knowing someone their age struck or beaten by a boyfriend;

– in a national survey of 6,000 American families, 50% of men who frequently assaulted their wives also abused their children;

– studies show up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually; and

– over half a million women report being stalked annually by an intimate partner, while 80% stalked by former husbands are physically assaulted and 30% sexually abused.

The FBI divides violent crime into four categories: 

– “murder and nonnegligent manslaughter;

– forcible rape;

– robbery; and 

– aggravated assault.” 

It uses the International Association of Chiefs of Police Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s definition of violent crime as involving force or threat of force. Annual data show these crimes:

– topped one million in 1975, and from the mid-1980s ranged from around 1.5 – 1.9 million annually;

– since 1975, annual violent crimes of murder and reported rape ranged from around 100,000 – 130,000;

– every year over the past century, 10% or more of all crimes committed were violent ones; 

– in 2009, an estimated 1,318,398 violent crimes occurred nationwide, according to the most recent FBI figures; and

– the domestic incidence of violent crimes overall exceeds the combined total of all US foreign wars.

A Final Comment

Generations of violence engrained it in US culture. It proliferates daily in homes, communities, and by state-sponsored repression against society’s least advantaged, cared about or wanted. It made America the world’s prison capital – a repressive gulag with over 2.4 million incarcerated, more than China with a population four times greater.

The Institute for Creative Development’s director Dr. Charles Johnston, a psychiatrist and futurist, calls violence a drug. In his Center for Media Literacy article titled, “Addicted to Violence: Has the American Dream Become a Nightmare,” he said:

“At a psychological level, the drama and titillation of these violent scenarios and our identification with their heroes and heroines serve to create a sense of excitement, potency and significance that is missing from most people’s daily lives.”

Other effects are more neurological in nature. “Here, it is less violence per se – behavior driven by anger or aggression – that hooks us to violent programming than the generalized rush of adrenalin we feel in response to violent situations presented to us.”

Media violence is powerfully addictive beyond  equivalent substance abuse. It also involves “social circumstances that support the addictive response.” For example, anger and frustration initially drive riots or street violence. But as it becomes “more chaotic and random,” it’s driven less by doubts of achieving the American dream “than by knowing at some level that even winning would mean little, that the dream itself had become empty. This ultimate despair (becomes) a force for destruction.”

Further, violence’s addicting power, both real and media driven, “increases exponentially during times of transition” when something familiar no longer inspires and nothing new emerges. “At these times, people are particularly” prone to violence to gain “excitement, engagement, and influence, feelings lacking in their own lives. And random violence….becomes particularly addictive in a new way” by giving “voice to the feelings of fear and chaos so central to these times….”

His two-part cure involves basic media literacy to separate facts from fantasy to counter “people’s susceptibility to (be harmfully) manipulat(ed) by violence’s hypnotic effects.”

Secondly, it requires working together to write a new narrative – a “much-needed next chapter in our cultural history,” including new policies and defining metaphors, as well as “new ways of talking about what (most) matters” at all levels – at home, in schools, in community meetings, at all government levels, in business, between family and friends, and through the media.

Ultimately, the ability to reject pseudo-excitement, pseudo-meaning, and pseudo-fulfillment depends on the extent of positive real life experiences. They’re absent for millions in a society experiencing growing poverty and despair, exacerbated by its longstanding addiction to violence, proliferated by America’s infatuation with imperial wars, conquest, and repression. Kicking that habit may be key to rehabilitating domestically.

STEPHEN LENDMAN lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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Jan 122011

THE INCENDIARY LANGUAGE deployed by Sarah Palin and her allies against even mild opponents of the rightwing agenda is sometimes described as a thinly veiled call for violence – but the fact is, there is no veil at all. The appeals are blatant. However, “if Americans fear fascistic trends taking control of our society, they should not look solely at raving Tea Partiers and crazed gunmen.” The most dangerous elements are already firmly entrenched in power, at the highest levels of the state.

Freedom Rider: Extremist Threat to Democracy

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley  [print_link]

If we are to be outraged because a member of congress is shot down in broad daylight, we should also be outraged when our system is assaulted.”

The news that Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head while meeting with constituents in Arizona gave rise to well founded concerns regarding right wing activism and its accompanying propaganda. Giffords is a so-called “Blue Dog” Democrat in a district which leans Republican. In 2010 Giffords emerged victorious against a Republican who like his political comrades used violent language to elicit support for his campaign.

“Get on Target for Victory in November

Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office

Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly”

The man who shot Giffords and nineteen other people, killing six of them, has a history of mental illness, but he wasn’t so ill that he couldn’t enunciate right wing talking points about a treasonous government and currency that ought to be backed by gold.

The shootings in Tucson should be of concern to everyone. There are millions of people who already feel aggrieved and angry and they have now been incited by right wing invective calling for “Second Amendment remedies.” The sheriff of Pima County Arizona observed that his state had become “the mecca for prejudice and bigotry” and akin to the old west town of Tombstone. Unfortunately, Arizona’s ever rightward political stances and this awful example of violence is not where the greatest concern ought to be placed. If Americans fear fascistic trends taking control of our society, they should not look solely at raving Tea Partiers and crazed gunmen.

There are millions of people who have now been incited by right wing invective calling for ‘Second Amendment remedies.’”

On the same day that Giffords was shot, another story broke which received little attention. It came to light that the United States government is asking Twitter and Google to turn over messages related to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. The Obama administration Justice Department has already expressed a determination to prosecute Assange for leaking government cables and other information. One of those being investigated is a member of Iceland’s parliament [3]. Her status as an elected official in an allied nation gives her no protection from the security state. No niceties will get in the way of American hegemony.

Our government continues its unending need to continue its wrongdoing and to keep it secret from us, citizens who have a right to know what is happening in our supposedly democratic society. Contrary to what politicians and corporate media would have us believe, the Wikileaks revelations were a great gift [4] to the people of the world.

It is important that a video distributed by Wikileaks showed American troops indiscriminately killing Iraqi civilians. It is a good thing that we now have proof of our government’s pressure on Ethiopia to invade and destroy [5] Somalia. We are constantly brainwashed into a state of orchestrated disinformation where we are kept in the dark about how our government makes decisions harmful to us and to the rest of the world. Wikileaks lifted the covers off of this rotten system and opened our eyes on subjects about which we previously could only express conjecture.

We are constantly brainwashed into a state of orchestrated disinformation.”

While Democrats wax indignant, rightly so, about the Giffords shooting, most turn a blind eye to the Obama Justice Department’s imitation of their Bush administration counterparts. The effort to prosecute Assange and his colleagues is a direct attack on the spirit of democracy that is so casually invoked by a government that in fact cares nothing about it.

Democracy should not just mean that we periodically go the polls and vote. It is also supposed to mean that we have a government that seeks to act in our interests, and not in the interests of finance capital, war profiteers and a state security apparatus. Wikileaks proved that we have just the opposite, a government devoted to maintaining an empire and helping the have mores, corporate interests and wealthy individuals at the expense of the people. If we are to be outraged because a member of congress is shot down in broad daylight, we should also be outraged when our system is assaulted.

Once again, Democrats cannot find the courage to look at the dangers inherent in our system. These dangers don’t disappear because a Democrat resides in the White House instead of a Republican. In fact, if the Republican is hated and the Democrat is loved, the Democrat actually has the ability to do greater damage.

While the president asks for a moment of silence to remember the victims in Tucson he is also planning to hunt down Julian Assange and his colleagues and bring them to the United States for prosecution. The crocodile tears and maudlin statements shouldn’t fool anyone. There is great danger in this nation, but it doesn’t emanate from Arizona. It begins and ends in Washington DC with the most powerful people in the country.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. [6] Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.


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[2] http://blackagendareport.com/?q=category/us-politics/republicans
[3] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/09/iceland-us-ambassador-twitter-wikileaks
[4] http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/why-wikileaks-good-democracy
[5] http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/wikileaks-reveals-us-twisted-ethiopias-arm-invade-somalia
[6] http://freedomrider.blogspot.com/
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Jan 122011

By David Edwards

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 | [print_link]

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a recent interview that he is holding back “insurance files” which could embarrass Rupert Murdoch and his international media empire at News Corporation.

The secrets website was also holding of over 500 US State Department cables about one broadcasting organization in particular, he added.

Assange made the disclosure while speaking to New Statesman, saying the files “will be released” if something happens to him or his organization.

“There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp.,” he said.

The files “speak more of the same truth to power,” he added.

In early December, WikiLeaks promised that it would release its full cache of secrets if Assange was arrested or killed.

The organization has taken the precaution of posting a big, 1.4-gigabyte file encrypted with a 256-digit key they claimed was unbreakable.

Titled “insurance.aes256″, the file was big enough to contain all the US cables said to be in WikiLeaks’ possession.

The encryption makes it unreadable until the key is supplied — at which time all its contents would be available to those who downloaded it from peer-to-peer file sharing networks.

Appearing on the BBC, Assange’s lawyer defended the move. “They need to protect themselves,” Mark Stephens said. “This is what they believe to be a thermo-nuclear device effectively in the electronic age.”

Assange was detained on a warrant seeking his extradition to Sweden, where he was sought for questioning related to allegations of sexual assault. WikiLeaks has not yet released the key.

The US Department of Justice was investigating whether it could charge Assange with espionage or conspiracy, but no formal charges had been issued.

“I think what’s emerging in the mainstream media is the awareness that if I can be indicted, other journalists can, too,” the controversial whistleblower told New Statesmen.

“Even the New York Times is worried,” he said. “This used not to be the case. If a whistleblower was prosecuted, publishers and reporters were protected by the First Amendment, which journalists took for granted. That’s being lost.”

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Jan 122011

Editor’s Note: It’s not an ordinary day when we see a conservative like Joe Scarborough lose his cool to attack none other than a fellow conservative, well, actually an insane creature spouting reactionary nonsense on Fox News, by the name of Glenn Beck. Verbal blows were traded, and some truth emerged, chiefly on Scarborough’s side who put his finger on the central issue behind the rise of the noise machine engineered by the Right: Glenn Beck would be a nobody if he hadn’t been groomed for the job of provocateur and kept in his place by his employers and managers, Rupert Murdoch, and especially the arch-contemptible Roger Aisles. 

A WAR OF WORDS erupted between Joe Scarborough and Glenn Beck on Tuesday, after Scarborough said that Beck was delivering a “vile message to Americans every day,” and Beck said that Scarborough could never back up his assertions with facts. Scarborough spoke on Tuesday’s MSNBC “Morning Joe.” He was talking about his hope that amped-up media rhetoric would cool down in the wake of the Arizona shooting, and he used Beck as an example: “I have a lot of family members that listen to him and watch him and are frightened by the things that he says every night with his chalkboard…my mom and a lot of other people like her that watch him every day start to believe if they hear every day, every day, that there’s this guy in Washington D.C., this black guy that hates all white people and he wants to take your money . . . and he wants to destroy the country you grew up in. You feed that vile message to Americans every day, it’s going to have an impact.”

Scarborough also said that Beck was a “nobody” until Fox News chief Roger Ailes brought him to his network. “If Roger Ailes decides to kick him out of Fox News, he’ll go back to the Glenn Beck he was before,” he said. Beck–and, especially, his radio sidekicks–responded later on Tuesday. Beck’s co-host Pat Gray was the most outraged by Scarborough’s statements. “How do you know what Glenn Beck says and does,” he almost screamed. “You moron. Joe, there’s a reason that everyone you know listens to and watches Glenn’s show, including your mom, and not yours: you suck!” But Beck also had some words for Scarborough.”Every day on their show you hear about how the Tea Parties are violent,” he said. “What is the difference, except that one has facts to back it up and one does not?”

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Jan 122011

By Glen Ford, BAR executive editor 

Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 01/12/2011 – 02:48

Corporate media say Barack Obama seems rejuvenated, recharged, only two months after his party’s catastrophic defeat. In fact, the Democratic disaster has created the conditions in which President Obama can be his collaborationist, center-right self while being praised as a statesman who knows how and when to compromise. Obama is closer than ever to achieving his wished for grand consensus with the GOP – as Clinton did with NAFTA and banking deregulation. That’s why he’s once again hired Clinton’s old economic team.

In order for Obama to reach his comfort zone, it was necessary that the Democrats be defeated.”

No matter what Barack Obama says in his State of the Union Address later this month, it is clear where he is headed: ever rightward. His appointments tell the tale. Obama also gave the game away – that he would govern from the center-right and attempt a grand consensus with the GOP – in the weeks before he was first sworn into office, January 20, 2009. That is, his appointments of Bill Clinton’s Wall Street deregulation crowd to head economic policy and his retention of George Bush’s Secretary of Defense to guard and expand the empire, should have signaled to every sober observer that Obama’s political orientation might differ dramatically from his predecessor’s in tone, but not in substance. The problem was, there were very few sober Left political observers around two years ago, and nearly all Black folks were falling down drunk on ObamaL’aid – a brain-softening condition that persists among many, to this day.

In the intervening 24 months, the Right has achieved a near-miraculous comeback, a reversal of fortune that could not have happened without considerable assistance from Mr. Obama. By positioning his administration to the Right of center from the vey beginning, becoming more intimately identified with Wall Street bankers even than Bush, and waging relentless war on the Left half of his party, Obama reduced fellow Democrats to a state of demoralized confusion, leading to catastrophic defeat. Defeat, that is, for the party, but not for the president, who has at last arrived in his comfort zone.

Sperling and Daley are seasoned operatives in subverting government to private purposes, having made their bones in Bill Clinton’s administration.”

Indeed, in order for Obama to reach his comfort zone, it was necessary that the Democrats be defeated. Only then could New Democrat Obama’s collaboration with the GOP in furtherance of corporate rule appear to be an act of statesmanship, a grand compromise (as the tax deal was pitched) in the interest of orderly government by the “grownups.”

With Obama’s appointment of JP Morgan Chase executive William Daley as his chief of staff and Gene Sperling to head the National Economic Council, the White House is tooled to coordinate even more seamlessly with Wall Street. Both are seasoned operatives in subverting government to private purposes, having made their bones in Bill Clinton’s administration, where Daley was the indispensable man in passing the Clinton/Republican NAFTA bill despite the opposition of 60 percent of Democrats in the House. Both are now rich banksters specializing in moving effortlessly from the boardroom to wherever the public’s money is kept.

Economist Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, doesn’t mind the money Sperling made from Goldman Sachs. His problem with Obama’s new top economic advisor is:

“Sperling saw nothing wrong with the stock market bubble that laid the basis for the 2001 recession. The economy did not begin to create jobs again until two and a half years after the beginning of this recession and even then it was only due to the growth of the housing bubble. Gene Sperling also saw nothing wrong with the growth of that bubble. Gene Sperling also saw nothing wrong with the financial deregulation of the Clinton years which, by the way, helped make Goldman Sachs lots of money. And, he saw nothing wrong with the over-valued dollar which gave the United States an enormous trade deficit. This trade deficit undermined the bargaining power of manufacturing workers and helped to redistribute income upward.

“In short, Sperling has a horrible track record of supporting policies that were bad for the country and good for Wall Street.”

Which makes him perfect for Barack Obama, who is Wall Street’s guy by choice, and always has been. In fact, it is disrespectful to Obama to argue that his consistent appointment of Clinton’s clique of deregulating Wall Street warriors as his economic generals is not reflective of the president’s own worldview. Either Obama is his own man, or he is a hireling, a whore, and a mere figurehead.

Barack Obama is Wall Street’s guy by choice, and always has been.”

I operate on the assumption that Obama is a purposeful, talented, and extremely effective center-right politician straight out of the Clinton Democratic Leadership Council mold who is determined to shape all of the public sector to finance capital’s advantage. He has chosen the best men for the damnable job.

With Wall Street’s hegemony at the commanding heights of the world’s sole superpower unchallenged, the crisis of finance capital has become a crisis of the U.S. state and a threat to every other capitalist economy and state on the planet. But of course, Wall Street calls that an opportunity. Not an opportunity, mind you, to invest in anything remotely productive. The team that brought us NAFTA in order to export the U.S. manufacturing sector, and destroyed the financial regulatory infrastructure of the New Deal so that Wall Street could dominate every aspect of American economic and political life, has no interest in productive enterprise or good jobs creation.

And neither does Barack Obama – or else he wouldn’t have appointed Daley and Sperling or the 2009 crew. All of which should be perfectly obvious, except to the mush-brains who are still sipping from vinegary old bottles of ObamaL’aid.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.


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