Today (Thursday August 12, 2010) on Good Morning America George Stephanopoulos had Congressman Dennis Kucinich on the show to talk about Robert Gibbs’ contempt for the "professional left."
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: No. I think that Mr. Gibbs and the White House needs to realize that liberals support the President, but there’s still- the criticism is really a measure of the hopes that have not been realized. And I don’t think they ought to take it in the manner in which Gibbs, and apparently, the rest of the White House does take the criticism.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, what more could the President have done? You’ve got this almost $800 billion stimulus bill. You’ve got a financial reform package. He did something that no president in- no Democratic president in 50 years has been able to do, lay the groundwork for universal, national health care. That is quite a legislative record, isn’t it?
KUCINICH: Well, you can’t take away from the president his accomplishments, and I certainly don’t. . .
I was more than displeased with Dennis’ comments and wish he would just shut the hell up. I can’t believe Dennis had the nerve to agree they were "accomplishments."
For those of you who don’t know what happened the White House Press Secretary, Gibbs, went off on "professional leftists" and said they need to be drug tested and that they wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was elected and even if we had Canadian health insurance and the Pentagon was closed down.
First off, Gibbs never said who these "professional leftists" are, though he did say he was referring to cable news pundits. Yikes. There are no professional leftists on cable news, certainly none calling for Canadian health insurance or the shutting down of the Pentagon.
Clearly Gibbs was getting defensive over Obama’s pathetic corporate welfare masked as healthcare reform.
Jebus Christ Amighty, I have a hard time believing Mr. Stephanopoulos doesn’t understand that our "healthcare crisis" is due to the private system and mandating that we buy from the private system will do nothing to contain costs and bankruptcies. Canadians and the rest of the developed world with singlepayer system pay half as much as we do per capita and everyone is covered and no one files bankruptcies to medical bills. That Obama passed something that was way to the right of what Nixon proposed is telling. The healthcare bill is not something to applaud as Stephanopoulos would like us to do.
And the Pentagon should be closed down. Abso-feckin-lutely. We spend about $1 trillion a year on the Military Industrial Complex. We are 5% of the world but we account for 50% of global military expenditures and it doesn’t make us safer. In fact, our jingoism is the main cause in our vulnerability. Being the World Bully doesn’t ensure our security. Invading countries for oil is not going to protect us from "terrorists."
George asked, "What more could the President have done?" and I got more than a few suggestions. . .
For starters I don’t expect "the President" to do anything but hook for the Lords of Capital. We all know our political system is rigged in favor of the rich. What the Investment Theory of Politics says about our electoral market system is that blocs of investors, i.e. the Lords of Capital, will pour money into campaigns to ensure their interests are catered to. What we choose from on voting day are the filtered candidates approved by the business community. It will remain like this until we organize the working class into a popular revolutionary movement that compels the government and the Lords of Capital to relent to us.
You may say, "Well I will vote third party candidates!" but that doesn’t take into consideration a couple of other things. Consider the Propaganda Model as proposed by Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman. What this model says is that the media responds to five "filters" that distort the content of the press. Those filters are: (1) ownership; (2) funding; (3) sources; (4) flak; and (5) ideology. Voters, like most people, tend to get their information from the mainstream media and don’t realize that what they are consuming is biased propaganda in favor of the ruling class. At random pick any mainstream media source and whatever their top news item is I guarantee you it is so distorted that it’s meaningless and would take considerable research to make head from tail of it, an activity most people simply don’t do.
Considering the above let’s move on to the Ellsberg Paradox. What this says is that people have a natural aversion to ambiguity. Given a Devil they know and a Devil they don’t know most people will choose the former. They know he’s a devil but at least they know what’s in store for them. What does this have to do with elections? Quite a bit. When you have a biased media system and an electoral system that permits private campaign donations then the rich can saturate their preferred candidates allowing them to reduce their competitors to ambiguity. You will be inundated with campaign ads for those who get lots of funding from the Lords of Capital and, again considering the media’s bias against alternative candidates, a near total lack of knowledge of the "third party candidates." That’s why we can predict who will win elections so easily. Just follow the money.
This is why Obama won in 2008. He hooks for the Lords of Capital. He is not a "socialist" like the right-wing demagogues pretend he is and he is not the progressive "change we can believe in" that the mush-minded liberal morons pretend he is.
But this doesn’t answer what Obama could have done and what he could have done was:
- Level with people. Be honest. Don’t hide behind empty slogans and lofty rhetoric. Not on one issue has he been articulate in explaining anything. Not the economy, not the wars, not healthcare, nothing. If he did his support and the opposition to Capitalism and Imperialism would greatly increase. He would make Hugo Chávez look like George W Bush.
- Push aggressively for EFCA. Obama campaigned on it to get Big Labor’s support but he bailed on it in late January 2009.
- Join the rest of the world in opposition to the Cuban embargo and end it. There is no reason we should be punishing Cuba for not being subservient to us. The claim about democracy and human rights is transparent and absurd when we look at our support for Colombia and the coup-government in Honduras.
- Free the Cuban Five. These five intelligence officers are guilty of nothing but trying to stop terrorism and while we applaud Cuba’s releasing of "political prisoners" (guilty of being agents of our government to destabilize theirs) we should free them. . . and Leonard Peltier and Mumia!
- Speaking of Honduras, we should cut ties with the government until Zelaya is returned and allow the people of Honduras to consider if they want to rewrite their constitution.
- Cut the bullshit with Israel. We are selling them advanced weaponry and giving them all kinds of political and economic support while settlements continue to crop up on stolen Palesitnian land and international law is violated and even after they admit that the Gaza Flotilla Massacre was a "planned provocation" the Obama administration has supported them. It is time we allowed the conflict to come to an end and pressure Israel to adhere to international law and accept the peace agreements that have been offered time and time again over the last few decades.
- Leave Iraq and Afghanistan. These illegal wars must end now. We are not bringing democracy or liberation to either country and we can’t. It’s something only they can do and so long as we are arming belligerents or imposing our military presence they cannot do this.
- Close the torture centers. Not just Gitmo but all of them.
- Quit sabotaging the NPT. We are obligated to disarm and we are not doing that. Even in Obama’s NSS he argued for the continuation of nuclear weapons because, wait for it, nuclear weapons exist!
- Leave Iran alone. Despite the fact that there isn’t any credible evidence they are trying to get a nuclear weapon it is clear the only reason they would want to do so is to deter us! We need to face that there are independent countries in the world and that we can’t impose our way in the Middle East in order to dominate the energy reserves. They have made peace officers and they have shown support for FISSBAN. Turkey and Brazil have tried to diffuse the situation. We just need to back the fuck off.
- Stop sabotaging climate change talks. The stunt Obama pulled in Copenhagen last December was disgraceful. It was exclusionary and undemocratic. We should be pushing for a binding international treaty that has no grandfathering clauses in it and that auctions off 100% of permits and compliments the Kyoto Protocol, especially the annex-1 and annex-2 part of it. This pretending to be for change while doing business as usual just doesn’t cut it; this run from the left but rule from the right bullshit.
- Push for singlepayer healthcare reform. It’s the only way to reduce costs, maximize coverage and save lives. The private system is the problem. Get rid of private insurance and allow the government to negotiate drug prices with Big Pharma. NOW!
- Reign in the banks. Passing meaningless legislation that leaves the banks and their structure in place and calling it "Consumer Protection" may fool the liberals but it won’t fix the problem. Our economy is tanking and Obama is only bullshitting.
- Push and pass an economic stimulus package that keeps the state and local governments out of bankruptcies and puts Americans to work. This so-called "jobless recovery" nonsense is really pissing me off. And don’t try giving Spain another $13 billion for a rail system when we need one here and have unemployed autoworkers who would love to build it.
- If we need money to pay for it then start with the military budget. I already dealt with that above.
- We should also tax derivatives and investment income as earned income.
- And while speaking of earned income and how states are going broke due to loss of tax revenue here is a bright idea: put the income rate for the rich back to 91% like it was during the Golden Age of Capitalism when the economy was as strong as it has ever been. (Another thing in regards to this that irritates the hell out of me is that we are more than 360 times as productive as we were then yet we are in the economic shape we are in – what this says is that all of the productive gains are being sucked up to the rich, playing a big part in our growing income inequality!)
- Both parties need to get their goddamn hands off Social Security unless they aim to remove the cap for individuals and big businesses. The program will continue to take in more than it gives out till the late-2030s and that’s with no change. Remove the cap so Warren Buffet no longer sees less than half of one percent of his annual income taxed for the program, but 100% like the singlemom who works doubleshifts at IHOP and not only will its solvency extend past 2100 but we could increase the benefits so the retired can actually live on it – which when considering over half of the recipients rely on it as their main source of income then this should be the obvious solution, not privatizing it or cutting the benefits or increasing the retirement age.
If Obama did these things I would be his number one fan.