Monday, August 25, 2008

Festival of Sleaze

Lenin called revolutions “festivals of the oppressed.” Despite his campaign’s endless prattle about “change,” Barack Obama’s ascendance to the presidency – an outcome all but guaranteed unless he throws the election, as Democrats are wont to do – is no revolution, and the Denver infomercial about to begin is no festival of the oppressed either. It is a festival of the sleaziest of the corporations who rule us. As in Beijing, whoever doesn’t like it can go stew in a free speech zone.

It’s not a revolution, but there are intra-ruling class changes afoot even so. Expect Big Oil to be more out than under Cheney/Bush, and expect key sectors of Wall Street to be more than ever in. The credit card industry has a special reason to rejoice. Their leading patron, Joe Biden, is about to find himself one heartbeat away.

How fitting that the event should be held in a building named for Pepsi Cola. For generations now, the Democrats have played Pepsi to the Republicans’ Coke. How fitting too that the ceremonies will be presided over by Nancy Pelosi – exemplar par excellence of those who talk the talk (within strict limits, of course) while doing their utmost not to walk the walk their constituents elected them to do. If it comes down to choosing between those constituents or being good imperialists, Pelosiite Democrats will go for the Empire every time, even if it means aiding and abetting nincompoops like George Bush. That’s why Speaker Nancy took impeachment “off the table,” and why bringing such manifest criminals as Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice and the rest to justice is not even part of our political discourse today.

Expect the Democrats, under Obama-Biden, to follow Bill Clinton’s example in the aftermath of Iran/Contra. Expect them, in other words, to just forget about it. Their motto might be – “immunity per tutti.” The telecom companies were only the first beneficiaries. The criminal clique that has occupied the White House for the past eight years is going to get away with murder – countless murders – along with more violations of international law than a Democrat can shake a stick at.

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Because we are about to witness a festival of sleaze, the conventional wisdom mongers will be in their element. NPR has become so mind numbing that, unless one pays pecial attention, it’s hard to tell one “senior correspondent” from another. That’s why I didn’t catch who it was who praised Obama’s selection of Biden on the grounds that Obama takes care of the “change” voters, while Biden will provide mainstream credibility.

Credibility indeed! Biden is a corporate flunky and a pushover when it comes to Republicans foisting right wing judges upon us. His record on the Senate Judiciary Committee is borderline shameful. But his foreign policy acumen, his strong suit according to the Cokie Robertses of the world, is a joke. Yes, Biden is credentialed in foreign policy insofar as long incumbency in the Senate confers credentials. But long incumbency hasn’t made him smart, any more than Condoleezza Rice’s incumbency in various academic positions – her “major” was the Soviet Union, no less -- made her anything more than an inept bungler, as we witness yet again in the still smoldering (formerly Soviet) Georgia crisis.

Georgia is one of many areas in which there is hardly any space between our two official parties, thanks in large part to Joe Biden’s support for extending NATO to Russia’s borders. Georgia became an American “project,” as the Russians say, under Bill Clinton, though the situation has only gotten worse under the watch of Condoleezza Rice. In this, she was aided by John McCain, who is so wedded to the neocon idea of sticking it to the Russians that his campaign’s chief foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann, is actually a registered lobbyist for the Georgian regime. Yet all Obama can think to do is utter vacuous words about “complexity” and “diplomacy.’ With Biden on the ticket, no one should harbor any illusions that he means anything by them.

Biden buys into the reigning Democratic narrative, which is also essentially the reigning Republican narrative, lock, stock and barrel – on Russia and the former Soviet Union, on the Middle East (for him, Israel can do no wrong), on Africa and Latin America. When he does deviate, it is almost always for the worst – as when he proposed breaking up Iraq into three federated states. In short, he’s a dunce, notwithstanding the conventional wisdom according to which he gives Obama foreign policy “cred.”

I suspect – or is it just a vain hope? – that Obama actually knows better, but that it is easier for him, and more “politic,” to keep his good sense a secret. But I’m not so foolish as to think that he will reveal his better self once he parks himself in the Oval Office. It is better, I suppose, to be a “liberal internationalist,” as the pundits call Biden, out of necessity rather than conviction. But not much; not when the (corporate) party, about to flare up again in Denver, never ends

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