Short answer – both are grovellers (definition in a moment). The president of the United States of America grovels to the Zionist lobby and its neo-con and Christian fundamentalist allies. The Palestinian “president” grovels to Obama as well as Israel’s leaders more often than not.
Barack Obama and Mahmoud Abbas are, one could say, grovelling twins, but if there was the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for grovelling, it would have to be awarded to Obama. (If when he leaves office Israel is still able to impose its will on the occupied and oppressed Palestinians, I think he should hand back the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded.)
The idea for this article was inspired by Daud Abdullah in a piece he wrote for theMiddle East Monitor. His main point was that the Palestinian national reconciliation talks have become a “process” and that, like the peace process, “they are without progress and an apparent end… As long as Abbas continues to grovel to the Americans and Israelis, it [a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and unity] will remain an illusion.”
Grovelling – a definition
The Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1843-81) had one of his characters say that the choice was “either to be a hero or grovel in the mud – there was nothing in between”.
I’ll get to my suggestion about what Abbas could do to become a hero in a moment but first let’s explore the terminology.
The notion of grovelling apparently comes from the Old Norse language – a grufumeaning face down. (The Norsemen were early Scandinavians and during the Mediaeval period some of them travelled to the British Isles to trade, raid and settle. In the final decade of the 8th century, Norse raiders attacked a series of Christian monasteries located in the British Isles.)
In the most literal sense grovellers are face down, lying or crawling on the ground in abject humility or fear.
To end his grovelling, Mahmoud Abbas could say: “If President Obama is coming here without a concrete plan to get a real peace process going, I regret to say there will be no point in me meeting with him.”
As perceived by people today who use the terminology, a groveller is one who behaves in a demeaning and servile (slave-to-master) way, often apologizing when no apology is needed. Put another way, when an American says, “Kiss my arse” (which is more or less what the Zionist lobby says to Obama from time to time), the groveller is one who responds positively and says, “I’ll do whatever you want.”
So to the question: what could Abbas do to end his grovelling and become a hero?
In the coming days, and the sooner the better, he could say, in the most polite and gentle way possible, something like the following.
“If President Obama is coming here without a concrete plan to get a real peace process going, I regret to say there will be no point in me meeting with him.”
I would also have Abbas say in his statement that a concrete plan to get a real peace process started would not be enough on its own. And I would have him explain why as follows.
How to be serious with Israel
To give a concrete plan real meaning Obama would have to indicate when he presented it that if Israel remained committed to defying international law and UN Security Council resolutions, the US would have no choice but to use the leverage it has to cause (or try to cause) Israel to be serious about peace on terms that would provide justice for the Palestinians and security for all.
Such an approach would require Obama to say in public what President Kennedy said to Golda Meir in a private conversation with her in Florida two days before his last Christmas. Kennedy defined what he called the “limitations” of America’s relationship with Israel, a relationship, he said, that was “a two-way street.” (The story of Kennedy’s secret conversation with Golda, much of what was said is still classified, is contained in “Turning Point: The Assassination of President Kennedy”, Chapter 11 of Volume Two of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, which is sub-titled “David Becomes Goliath”. If Kennedy had been allowed to live, he was intending in a second term to require Israel to be serious about peace. After his assassination America’s relationship with Israel became what it still is – a one-way street).
In my view Abbas as hero would go much further than saying there will be no point in meeting with Obama if he is not coming with a concrete plan to get a real peace process going and a commitment to do whatever is necessary to make it work.
Abbas would also say that if the coming days proved that there’s nothing of real substance to negotiate about because Israel’s leaders are not interested in peace on terms the Palestinians could accept, and can’t be stopped from continuing the colonization of the occupied West bank (ongoing ethnic cleansing slowly and by stealth), there would be no point in the continued existence of the Palestine National Authority (PNA), and it will be dissolved, handing full responsibility and accountability for the occupation back to Israel.
Abbas is no hero
There is no reason to believe that Abbas will end his grovelling to Obama. (In Daud Abdullah’s account of why the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and unity talks are going nowhere, there was a secret meeting in Ramallah between the US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, and Abbas and other Palestine Liberation Organization leaders, Shapiro requested that they “freeze the reconciliation talks until after President Obama’s visit to the region.” Abbas, Daud Abdullah noted, “dutifully complied”.)
…I find myself wondering if Abbas would be assassinated if he ended his grovelling to America, and if President Obama would suffer the same fate as JFK if he ended his grovelling to the Zionist lobby and its allies.
But what if Abbas did end his grovelling by putting Obama on notice that there would be no point in the two of them meeting if the president was not coming with the commitment to get a real peace process going, and that a continuation of the status quo would result in the dissolution of the PNA – would that be enough to cause Obama to think seriously about ending his grovelling to the Zionist lobby and its neo-con and Christian fundamentalist allies?
In my view that’s an interesting question. While I think about possible answers to it, I find myself wondering if Abbas would be assassinated if he ended his grovelling to America, and if President Obama would suffer the same fate as JFK if he ended his grovelling to the Zionist lobby and its allies…
Members of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (file photo)
A bipartisan group of US congress members has met with the anti-Iran terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in France.
The congressional team led by Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, met the MKO terrorists in Paris on Sunday and expressed strong support for the group.
The US congress members called for the immediate transfer of the MKO terrorists to Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala Province. The American legislators even threatened to declare Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maleki a sponsor of terrorism after an attack on the terrorist members inside another camp in Iraq.
The mortar attack, which happened earlier this month on Camp Liberty near Baghdad, left at least seven members of the terrorist group dead and more than 50 others wounded.
Members of the MKO terrorist group are being transferred from Camp New Iraq, formerly known as Camp Ashraf, which is situated about 120 kilometers (74 miles) west of the border with Iran, to Camp Liberty near Baghdad Airport.
The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community.
On September 28, the terrorist group was taken off the US State Department’s terrorism blacklist a week after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified memo about the move.
The MKO fled to Iraq in 1986, where it received the support of Iraq’s executed dictator Saddam Hussein, and set up its camp near the Iranian border.
The MKO has carried out numerous acts of violence against Iranian civilians and government officials.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hinted that the U.S. may be behind a “very strange” bout of cancer affecting several leaders aligned with him in South America.
Chavez, speaking a day after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchnerwas diagnosed with thyroid cancer, said the Central Intelligence Agency was behind chemical experiments in Guatemala in the 1940s and that it’s possible that in years to come a plot will be uncovered that shows the U.S. spread cancer as a political weapon against its critics.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gives a speach during the swearing in of the People’s Guard to strengthen the fight against crime in Caracas. Photographer: Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images
“It’s very difficult to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America,” Chavez said in a nationally televised speech to the military. “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?”
Chavez, who was diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer in June and had a baseball-sized tumor removed in Cuba, has called for a regional summit of leaders who have battled cancer including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva and Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo.
“I’m just sharing my thoughts, but it’s very, very, very strange,” Chavez said. “Evo take care of yourself, Correa, be careful, we just don’t know,” he said, referring to Evo Morales and Rafael Correa, the leaders of Bolivia and Ecuador.
Thomas Mittnacht, press director at the U.S. embassy in Caracas, declined to comment when reached by telephone.
Chavez, a former tank commander who has led South America’s largest oil producer since 1999 and will seek a third consecutive six-year term in October elections, says that the U.S. was involved in a coup against him in 2002 that briefly ousted the socialist leader before he was reinstated by the military and supporters.
The 57-year-old leader also accuses the U.S. of plotting an invasion of Venezuela to capture its oil reserves.
Chavez, who continues to send the U.S. more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day, said that former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has warned him about assassination attempts after surviving what he has claimed are hundreds of plots by the U.S. since he took power in 1959.
“Fidel always tells me, ‘Chavez be careful, they’ve developed technology, be careful with what you eat, they could stick you with a small needle,’” the Venezuelan leader said today. “In any case, I’m not accusing anyone, I’m just using my freedoms to reflect and issue comments on very strange events that are hard to explain.”
As Congress struggles through one budget crisis after another, it is becoming increasingly evident that austerity doesn’t work. We cannot possibly pay off a $16 trillion debt by tightening our belts, slashing public services, and raising taxes. Historically, when the deficit has been reduced, the money supply has been reduced along with it, throwing the economy into recession. After a thorough analysis of statistics from dozens of countries forced to apply austerity plans by the World Bank and IMF, former World Bank chief economistJoseph Stiglitz called austerity plans a “suicide pact.”
Congress already has in its hands the power to solve the nation’s budget challenges – today and permanently. But it has been artificially constrained from using that power by misguided economic dogma, dogma generated by the interests it serves. We have bought into the idea that there is not enough money to feed and house our population, rebuild our roads and bridges, or fund our most important programs — that there is no alternative but to slash budgets and deficits if we are to survive. We have a mountain of critical work to do, improving our schools, rebuilding our infrastructure, pursuing our research goals, and so forth. And with millions of unemployed and underemployed, the people are there to do it. What we don’t have, we are told, is just the money to bring workers and resources together.
But we do have it! Or we could.
Money today is simply a legal agreement between parties. Nothing backs it but “the full faith and credit of the United States.” The United States could issue its credit directly to fund its own budget, just as our forebears did in the American colonies and as Abraham Lincoln did in the Civil War.
Any serious discussion of this alternative has long been taboo among economists and politicians. But in a landmark speech on February 6, 2013, Adair Turner, chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, broke the taboo with a historic speech recommending that approach. According to a February 7th article in Reuters, Turner is one of the most influential financial policy makers in the world. His recommendation was supported by a 75-page paper explaining why handing out newly-created money to citizens and governments could solve economic woes globally and would not lead to hyperinflation.
Our Money Exists Only at the Will and Pleasure of Banks
Government-issued money would work because it addresses the problem at its source. Today, we have no permanent money supply. People and governments are drowning in debt because our money comes into existence only as a debt to banks at interest. As Robert Hemphill of the Atlanta Federal Reserve observed in the 1930s:
We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money, we are prosperous; if not, we starve.
In the U.S. monetary system, the only money that is not borrowed from banks is the “base money” or “monetary base” created by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve (the Fed). The Treasury creates only the tiny portion consisting of coins. All of the rest is created by the Fed.
Despite its name, the Fed is at best only quasi-federal; and most of the money it creates is electronic rather than paper. We the people have no access to this money, which is not tur ned over to the government or the people but goes directly into the reserve accounts of private banks at the Fed.
It goes there and it stays there. Except for the small amount of “vault cash” available for withdrawal from commercial banks, bank reserves do not leave the doors of the central bank.According to Peter Stella, former head of the Central Banking and Monetary and Foreign Exchange Operations Divisions at the International Monetary Fund:
[I]n a modern monetary system – fiat money, floating exchange rate world – there is absolutely no correlation between bank reserves and lending. . . . [B]anks do not lend “reserves”. . . .
Whether commercial banks let the reserves they have acquired through QE sit “idle” or lend them out in the internet bank market 10,000 times in one day among themselves, the aggregate reserves at the central bank at the end of that day will be the same.
Banks do not lend their reserves to us, but they do lend them to each other. The reserves are what they need to clear checks between banks. Reserves move from one reserve account to another; but the total money in bank reserve accounts remains unchanged, unless the Fed itself issues new money or extinguishes it.
The base money to which we have no access includes that created on a computer screen through “quantitative easing” (QE), which now exceeds $3 trillion. That explains why QE has not driven the economy into hyperinflation, as the deficit hawks have long predicted; and why it has not created jobs, as was its purported mission. The Fed’s QE money simply does not get into the circulating money supply at all.
What we the people have in our bank accounts is a mere reflection of the base money that is the exclusive domain of the bankers’ club. Banks borrow from the Fed and each other at near-zero rates, then lend this money to us at 4% or 8% or 30%, depending on what the market will bear. Like in a house of mirrors, the Fed’s “base money” gets multiplied over and over whenever “bank credit” is deposited and relent; and that illusory house of mirrors is what we call our money supply.
We Need Another Kind of “Quantitative Easing”
The quantitative easing engaged in by central banks today is not what UK Professor Richard Werner intended when he invented the term. Werner advised the Japanese in the 1990s, when they were caught in a spiral of “debt deflation” like the one we are struggling with now. What he had in mind was credit creation by the central bank for productive purposes in the real, physical economy. But like central banks now, the Bank of Japan simply directed its QE firehose at the banks. Werner complains:
[A]ll QE is doing is to help banks increase the liquidity of their portfolios by getting rid of longer-dated and slightly less liquid assets and raising cash. . . . Reserve expansion is a standard monetarist policy and required no new label.
The QE he recommended was more along the lines of the money-printing engaged in by the American settlers in colonial times and by Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The colonists’ paper scrip and Lincoln’s “greenbacks” consisted, not of bank loans, but of paper receipts from the government acknowledging goods and services delivered to the government. The receipts circulated as money in the economy, and in the colonies they were accepted in the payment of taxes.
The best of these models was in Benjamin Franklin’s colony of Pennsylvania, where government-issued money got into the economy by way of loans issued by a publicly-owned bank. Except for an excise tax on liquor, the government was funded entirely without taxes; there was no government debt; and price inflation did not result. In 1938, Dr. Richard A. Lester, an economist at Princeton University, wrote, “The price level during the 52 years prior to the American Revolution and while Pennsylvania was on a paper standard was more stable than the American price level has been during any succeeding fifty-year period.”
The Inflation Conundrum
The threat of price inflation is the excuse invariably used for discouraging this sort of “irresponsible” monetary policy today, based on the Milton Friedman dictum that “inflation is everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon.” When the quantity of money goes up, says the theory, more money will be chasing fewer goods, driving prices up.
What it overlooks is the supply side of the equation. As long as workers are sitting idle and materials are available, increased “demand” will put workers to work creating more “supply.” Supply will rise along with demand, and prices will remain stable.
True, today these additional workers might be in China or they might be robots. But the principle still holds: if we want the increased supply necessary to satisfy the needs of the people and the economy, more money must first be injected into the economy.Demand drives supply. People must have money in their pockets before they can shop, stimulating increased production. Production doesn’t need as many human workers as it once did. To get enough money in the economy to drive the needed supply, it might be time to issue a national dividend divided equally among the people.
Increased demand will drive up prices only when the economy hits full productive capacitys. It is at that point, and not before, that taxes may need to be levied—not to fund the federal budget, but to prevent “overheating” and keep prices stable. Overheating in the current economy could be a long time coming, however, since according to the Fed’s figures, $4 trillion needs to be added into the money supply just to get it back to where it was in 2008.
Taxes might be avoided altogether, if excess funds were pulled out with fees charged for various government services. A good place to start might be with banking services rendered by publicly-owned banksthat returned their profits to the public.
Taking a Lesson from Iceland: Austerity Doesn’t Work
The Federal Reserve has lavished over $13 trillion in computer-generated bail-out money on the banks, and still the economy is flagging and the debt ceiling refuses to go away. If this money had been pumped into the real economy instead of into the black hole of the private banking system, we might have a thriving economy today.
We need to take a lesson from Iceland, which turned its hopelessly insolvent economy around when other European countries were drowning in debt despite severe austerity measures. Iceland’s president Olafur Grimson was asked at the Davos conference in January 2013 why his country had survived where Europe had failed. He replied:
I think it surprises a lot of people that a year ago we were accepted by the world as a failed financial system, but now we are back on recovery with economic growth and very little unemployment, and I think the primary reason is that . . .we didn’t follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls; we let the banks fail; we provided support for the poor; we didn’t introduce austerity measures of the scale you are seeing here in Europe. And the end result four years later is that Iceland is enjoying progress and recovery very different from the other countries that suffered from the financial crisis. [Emphasis added.]
[W]hy do [we] consider the banks to be the holy churches of the modern economy? . . . The theory that you have to bail out banks is a theory about bankers enjoying for their own profit the success and then letting ordinary people bear the failure through taxes and austerity, and people in enlightened democracies are not going to accept that in the long run.
The Road to Prosperity
We are waking up from the long night of our delusion. We do not need to follow the prevailing economic orthodoxies, which have consistently failed and are not corroborated by empirical data. We need a permanent money supply, and the money must come from somewhere. It is the right and duty of government to provide a money supply that is adequate and sustainable.
It is also the duty of government to provide the public services necessary for a secure and prosperous life for its people. As Thomas Edison observed in the 1920s, if the government can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. Both are backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States.” The government can pay for all the services its people need and eliminate budget crises permanently, simply by issuing the dollars to pay for them, debt-free and interest-free.
If you listen to the Obama administration and corporate media propaganda campaign, you’ll learn that North Korea is acting provocatively and aggressively by conducting a nuclear weapons test — but the new propaganda blitz against North Korea is as contrived as Bush and Clinton’s campaign of regime change against Iraq.
It is the United States that is provoking a new crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
The United States possesses the largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world and has been staging massive war exercises along with the South Korean military close to North Korea’s territory in recent days, simulating the invasion and bombing of North Korea. The United States and South Korea have been staging such exercises every few months.
The U.S. government has imposed draconian economic sanctions designed to undermine North Korea’s ability to live.
North Korea was invaded by the United States in 1950 and millions of Koreans died.
Having learned the lesson of the Iraq invasion, the North Korean government decided to resume its nuclear weapons program and prepare for war. But what North Korea really wants is a peace treaty ending the Korean War of 1950-53, an end to economic sanctions and a normalization of relations with the United States.
AFP has reported that a recent NATO airstrike in Afghanistan has killed over 10 civilians in an all-too-familiar headline glossed over by the Western media in an exercise of both depravity and hypocrisy. RT’s article, “NATO airstrike kills 10 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children – officials,” notes in particular that up to 11,864 civilians were killed in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2011, and that civilian deaths before 2007 were not even tracked by the UN.
Such facts reveal alarming hypocrisy as the UN keeps almost daily, inflated tallies of civilian deaths elsewhere, in particular, in nations like Libya and Syria where Western interests have been heavily involved in regime change and in dire need of manipulating public perception worldwide. The United Nations had in fact pieced together a dubious report crafted from “witness accounts” compiled not in Syria, or even beyond its borders in a refugee camp, but instead, in Geneva by “witnesses” supplied by the so-called Syrian “opposition.”
Worse yet, that UN report was co-authored by Karen Koning AbuZayd, a director of the US Washington-based corporate think-tank, Middle East Policy Council. Its board of directors includes Exxon men, CIA agents, representatives of the Saudi Binladin Group (Osama Bin Laden’s family business), former ambassadors to Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, US military and government representatives, and even the president of the US-Qatar Business Council, which includes amongst its membership, Al Jazeera, Chevron, Exxon, munitions manufacturer Raytheon (who supplied the opening salvos during NATO’s operations against Libya), and Boeing.
In other words, the very underwriters of the armed militancy that is consuming Syria are sitting along side the head of the UN commission producing reports portraying the Syrian government as guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The hypocrisy does not end there. The pretense the US and NATO have used for over a decade to occupy, subjugate and slaughter the people of Afghanistan – in a conflict increasingly creeping over both Afghanistan’s borders with Pakistan and Iran – is supposedly to fight “terrorism.” Western interests have been allowed to fight this “war on terrorism” with impunity, and even without UN monitoring for years, while Syria was immediately condemned for fighting against Al Qaeda terrorists overtly flooding into their nation with NATO assistance.
Indeed, as NATO claims to fight terrorism in Afghanistan, it has already handed over the North African nation of Libya to Al Qaeda terrorists, specifically the the US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The US in particular oversaw the rise of the Al Qaeda terror-emirate Benghazi, even having a US ambassador slain there by the very terrorists it had armed, funded, trained, provided air support for, and thrust into power.
These same terrorists have been documented extensively as spearheading the invasion of northern Syria via NATO-member Turkey, with NATO cash and weapons in cooperation with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The glaring hypocrisy of so-called “international law” and “international institutions” is on full display. Nations like Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil, and many others should give serious thought to peeling away from the United Nations, the compromised International Criminal Court, and other corrupt, Western-serving institutions that will, and in many cases already are, being turned against them, their interests, and national sovereignty.
For the people of the world, we must realize that these institutions were created for and by big-business special interests, and the legitimacy they are portrayed as having is a mere illusion created by the corporate media. We must begin identifying these special interests, boycotting and replacing them permanently at a local level. If it is peace we want, it is clear that the UN, NATO, and all institutions in between, sow only death and destruction amidst a myriad of hypocrisy, double standards, and immeasurable corruption, and we must move into the future without them.
Obama’s State of the Union address didn’t surprise. It reflected rogue leadership. It was beginning-to-end demagogic boilerplate.
Defending the indefensible took center stage. Rhetoric substituted for progressive policies. Bombast assured business as usual.
Priorities include waging war on humanity, force-fed austerity, ignoring public needs, institutionalizing a repressive police state apparatus, and cracking down hard on non-believers.
Doing so assures growing despotism, lawlessness, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and deprivation.
Obama’s address targeted Medicare. He called “medical care for the aged….the biggest cause of the nation’s longterm debt.”
He lied. Military spending, imperial wars, Wall Street bailouts, other corporate handouts, and tax cuts for the rich and business bear full responsibility.
Falsely blaming Medicare for Washington’s malfeasance reveals bipartisan rogue leadership. It’s indicative of what’s to come.
In 2009, Obama prioritized cutting healthcare costs and “restoring fiscal discipline.” He made doing so the top “pillars” of his agenda, saying:
We’ve “kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further.”
“We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.”
“The big problem is Medicare.” Its cost is “unsustainable.”
“Let’s not kid ourselves and suggest that we can solve this problem by trimming a few earmarks.”
The “biggest cost drivers in our budget are entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, all of which get more and more expensive every year.”
“If we want to get serious about fiscal discipline – and I do – we will have to get serious about entitlement reform.”
Medicare and Social Security aren’t entitlements. They’re insurance programs. They’re funded by worker/employer payroll tax deductions. They’re contractual federal obligations to eligible recipients who qualify.
Obama did what he does best. He lied. He’s a serial liar. He supports wealth and power. He’s beholden to powerful monied interests. They own him. He spurns popular needs. He prioritizes letting them go begging on his watch.
He proposed massive Medicare cuts. In 2010, 2011, and last November he urged more. He’s waging class war on Americans.
He wants fundamental social benefits destroyed. He wants ordinary people hung out to dry. He wants them on own sink or swim.
In 2010, his Simpson-Bowles National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRF) recommended deep Medicare cuts, higher Medicaid co-pays, and restrictions on filing malpractice suits.
It urged other ways to end Washington’s responsibility for healthcare. Obama’s address reiterated support. Implementation assures disaster for millions.
Healthcare for millions already is unaffordable. Implementing Simpson-Bowles makes it more so when most needed. Illnesses will go untreated. Pain, suffering, and early deaths will follow. Rogue leadership assures it. Obama reflects the worst of irresponsible lawless leaders.
His jobs proposals reveal more. His address rehashed old schemes. His September 2011 “American Jobs Act” promised “putting more people back to work” with no plan to do it.
It showed contempt for ordinary households. It was same old, same old. It concealed another thinly veiled wealth transfer scheme.
It included a laundry list of corporate handouts. Excluded were ways to create jobs, stimulate growth, reinvigorate Main Street, strengthen America’s middle class, and help growing millions of impoverished, disadvantaged households most in need.
Obama’s address claimed trade deals offshoring jobs to low wage countries create them. He urge support for current ones being negotiated.
He wants the nearly completed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) adopted. It’s a trade deal from hell. It’s a secretive, multi-nation agreement.
Adoption assures unrestricted trade in goods, services, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers, government procurement and competition policies, and intellectual property (IP).
Obama wants secretive provisions established with no public oversight or knowledge of their destructive harm. TPP aims to rewrite global IP enforcement rules. It includes numerous other anti-populist mandates.
National sovereignty is at stake. Signatory countries must change domestic laws, regulations, and other policies to comply.
What’s known subverts US laws. Congress is left powerless. Supranational TPP authority overrides national sovereignty. Investor rights are prioritized over public ones.
Obama called for replicating TPP with EU countries. He urged establishing a Trans-Atlantic Partnership. He prioritizes corporate empowerment over human rights and needs. He’s got much more in mind.
He supports extrajudicial killing. He’s got kill list authority. It’s official US policy. Drones are his weapon of choice. He appointed himself judge, jury and executioner.
He wants anyone he targets assassinated. US citizens are included. Rule of law protections don’t apply. Summary judgment has final say. No one’s safe anywhere. There’s no place to hide.
His address made clear where he stands, saying:
“Where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.”
Police states operate that way. Murder, Inc. is official policy. He claimed he “forge(d) a durable legal and policy (enforceable) framework.” He usurped diktat authority.
Doing so subverts fundamental international, constitutional, and US statute laws. They’re null and void. His say overrides them. Unchecked power is policy. Full-blown tyranny’s a hair’s breath away. Congressional leaders are supportive.
Obama’s entire address reflected rogue leadership. He wants public schools modernized by privatizing them. His immigration proposal mocks notions of welcoming tired, poor, wretched masses yearning to breathe free.
His energy program prioritizes drill, drill, drill. His cybersecurity scheme involves no-holds-barred cyberwar. His notion of economic prosperity is greater corporate empowerment and enriching America’s privileged.
His housing program lets bankers scam ordinary people. His minimum wage proposal falls way below the poverty line. His Afghanistan plan is permanent occupation.
His budget-cutting program targets vitally needed domestic programs. His entire agenda reflects rogue leadership.
He’s got much more in mind. He’s got four more years to wage war on humanity. Expect him to take full advantage.
History is commonly regarded as an attempt to produce a structured account of the past. It proclaims to tell us what really happened, but in most cases it fails to do that. Instead it is set to conceal our shame, to hide those various elements, events, incidents and occurrences in our past which we cannot cope with. History, therefore, can be regarded as a system of concealment. Accordingly, the role of the true historian is similar to that of the psychoanalyst: both aim to unveil the repressed. For the psychoanalyst, it is the unconscious mind. For the historian, it is our collective shame.
Yet, one may wonder, how many historians really engage in such a task? How many historians are courageous enough to open the Pandora Box? How many historians are brave enough to challenge Jewish History for real? How many historians dare to ask why Jews? Why do Jews suffer time after time? Is it really the Goyim who are inherently murderous, or is there something unsettling in Jewish culture or collectivism? But Jewish history is obviously far from being alone here: every people’s past is, in fact, as problematic. Can Palestinians really explain to themselves how is it that after more than a century of struggle, they wake up to find out that their current capital has become a NGO haven largely funded by George Soros’ Open Society? Can the Brits once and for all look in the mirror and explain to themselves why, in their Imperial Wars Museum, they erected a Holocaust exhibition dedicated to the destruction of the Jews? Shouldn’t the Brits be slightly more courageous and look into one of the many Shoas they themselves inflicted on others? Clearly they have an impressive back catalogue to choose from.
The Guardian vs. Athens
The past is dangerous territory; it can induce inconvenient stories. This fact alone may explain why the true Historian is often presented as a public enemy. However, the Left has invented an academic method to tackle the issue. The ‘progressive’ historian functions to produce a ‘politically correct’, ‘inoffensive’ tale of the past. By means of zigzagging, it navigates its way, while paying its dues to the concealed and producing endless ad-hoc deviations that leave the ‘repressed’ untouched. The progressive subject is there to produce a ‘non- essentialist’ and ‘unoffending’ account of the past on the expense of the so-called ‘reactionary’. The Guardian is an emblem of such an approach, it would, for instance, ban any criticism of Jewish culture or Jewishness, yet it provides a televised platform for two rabid Zionist so they can discuss Arab cultureand Islamism. The Guardian wouldn’t mind offending ‘Islamists’ or British ‘nationalists’ but it would be very careful not to hurt any Jewish sensitivities. Such version of politics or the past is impervious to truthfulness, coherence, consistency or integrity. In fact, the progressive discourse is far from being ‘the guardian of the truth’, it is actually set as ‘the guardian of the discourse’ and I am referring here to Left discourse in particular.
But surely there is an alternative to the ‘progressive’ attitude to the past. The true historian is actually a philosopher – an essentialist – a thinker who posits the question ‘what does it mean to be in the world and what does it take to live amongst others’? The true historian transcends beyond the singular, the particular and the personal. He or she is searching for the condition of the possibility of that which drives our past, present and future. The true historian dwells on Being and Time, he or she is searching for a humanist lesson and an ethical insight while looking into the poem, the art, the beauty, the reason but also into the fear. The true historian is an essentialist who digs out the concealed, for he or she knows that the repressed is the kernel of the truth.
Leo Strauss provides us with a very useful insight in that regard. Western civilization, he contends, oscillates between two intellectual and spiritual poles – Athens and Jerusalem. Athens — the birthplace of democracy, home for reason, philosophy, art and science. Jerusalem — the city of God where God’s law prevails. The philosopher, the true historian, or the essentialist, for that matter, is obviously the Athenian. The Jerusalemite, in that regard, is ‘the guardian of the discourse’, the one who keeps the gate, just to maintain law and order on the expense of ecstasies, poesis, beauty, reason and truth.
Spielberg vs. Tarantino
Hollywood provides us with an insight into this oscillation between Athens and Jerusalem: between the Jerusalemite ‘guardian of the discourse’ and the Athenian contender – the ‘essentialist’ public enemy. On the Left side of the map we find Steven Spielberg, the ‘progressive’ genius. On his Right we meet peosis itself, Quentin Tarantino, the ‘essentialist’.
Spielberg, provides us with the ultimate sanitized historical epic. The facts are cherry picked just to produce a pre meditated pseudo ethical tale that maintains the righteous discourse, law and order but, most importantly, the primacy of Jewish suffering (Schindler’s List and Munich). Spielberg brings to life a grand epic with a clear retrospective take on the past. Spielberg tactic is, in most cases, pretty simple. He would juxtapose a vivid transparent binary opposition: Nazis vs. Jews, Israeli vs. Palestinians , North vs. South, Righteousness vs. Slavery. Somehow, we always know, in advance who are the baddies and who are the goodies. We clearly know who to side with.
Binary opposition is indeed a safe route. It provides a clear distinction between the ‘Kosher’ and the ‘forbidden’. But Spielberg is far from being a banal mind. He also allows a highly calculated and carefully meditated oscillation. In a universalist gesture of courtesy he would let a single Nazi into the family of the kind. He would allow the odd Palestinian to be a victim. It can all happen as long as the main frame of the discourse remains intact. Spielberg is clearly an arch guardian of discourse – being a master of his art-form, he will certainly maintain your attention for at least 90 minutes of a historic cinematic cocktail made of factual mishmash. All you have to do is to follow the plot to the end. By then the pre-digested ethical message is safely replanted at the hub of your self-loving narcissistic universe.
Unlike Spielberg, Tarantino is not concerned with factuality; he may even repel historicity. Tarantino may as well believe that the notion of ‘the message’ or morality are over rated. Tarantino is an essentialist, he is interested in human nature, in Being and he seems to be fascinated in particular in vengeance and its universality. For the obvious reasons, his totally farfetched Inglorious Bastards throws light on present Israeli collective blood thirstinessas being detected at the time of Operation Cast lead. The fictional cinematic creation of a revengeful murderous WWII Jewish commando unit is there to throw the light on the devastating contemporary reality of Jewish lobbies’ lust for violence in their relentless push for a world war against Iran and beyond. But Inglorious Bastards may as well have a universal appeal because the Old Testament’s ‘eye for and eye’ has become the Anglo American political driving force in the aftermath of 9/11.
Abe’le vs. Django
What may seem as a spiritual clash between Jerusalemite Spielberg and Athenian Tarantino is more than apparent in their recent works.
The history of slavery in America is indeed a problematic topic and, for obvious reasons, many aspects of this chapter are still kept deeply within the domain of the concealed. Once again Spielberg and Tarantino have produced a distinctively different accounts of this chapter.
In his recent historical epic Lincoln, Spielberg, made Abraham Lincoln into a Neocon ‘moral interventionist’ who against all (political) odds, abolished slavery. I guess that Spielberg knows enough American history to gather that his cinematic account is a crude Zigzag attempt, for the anti slavery political campaign was a mere pretext for a bloody war driven by clear economical objectives.
As one may expect, Spielberg peppers his tale with more than a few genuine historical anecdotes. He is certainly paying the necessary dues just to keep the shame shoved deep under the carpet. His Lincoln is cherished as a morally driven hero of human brotherhood. And the entire plot carries all the symptoms of contemporary AIPAC lobby assault within the Capitol. Being one of the arch guardians of the discourse, Spielberg has successfully fulfilled his task. He added a substantial cinematic layer to ensure that America’s true shame remains deeply repressed or shall we say, untouched.
Needles to mention that Spielberg’s take on Lincoln has been cheered by the Jewish press. They called the president Avraham Lincoln Avinu(our father, Hebrew) in The Tablet Magazine. ‘Avraham’, according to the Tablet, is the definitive good Jew. “As imagined by Spielberg and Kushner, Lincoln’s Lincoln is the ultimate mensch. He is a skilled natural psychologist, an interpreter of dreams, and a man blessed with an extraordinarily clever and subtle legal mind.” In short, Spielberg’s Lincoln is Abe’le who combines the skills, the gift and the traits of Moses, Freud as well as Alan Dershowitz. However, some Jews complain about the film. “As an American Jewish historian, writes Lance J. Sussman, “I’m afraid I have to say I am somewhat disappointed with the latest Spielberg film. So much of it is so good, but it would have been even better if he had put at least one Jew in the movie, somewhere.”
I guess that Spielberg may find it hard to please the entire tribe. Quentin Tarantino, however, doesn’t even try. Tarantino is, in fact, doing the complete opposite. Through a phantasmic epic that confesses zero interest in any form of historicity or factuality whatsoever, he manages, in his latest masterpiece Django Unchained, to dig out the darkest secrets of Slavery. He scratches the concealed and judging by the reaction of another cinematic genius Spike Lee, he has clearly managed to get pretty deep.
By putting into play a stylistic spectacle within the Western genre Tarantino manages to dwell on every aspect we are advised to leave untouched. He deals with biological determinism, White supremacy and cruelty. But he also turns his lens onto slaves’ passivity, subservience and collaboration. The Athenian director builds here a set of Greek mythological God like characters; Django (Jamie Fox), is the unruly king of revenge and Schultz (Christoph Waltz) the German dentist turned bounty hunter is the master of wit, kindness and humanity with a giant wisdom tooth shining over his caravan. Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the Hegelian (racist) Master and Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) is the Hegelian Slave, emerging as the personification of social transformation. To a certain extent, the relationships between Candie and Stephen could be seen as one of the most profound yet subversive cinematic takes on Hegel’s master-slave dialectic.
In Hegel’s dialectic two self-consciousness’ are constituted via a process of mirroring. In Django Unchained, Stephen the slave, seems to convey the ultimate form of subservience, yet this is merely on the surface. In reality Stephen is way more sophisticated and observant than his master Candie. He is on his way up. It is hard to determine whether Stephen is a collaborator or if he really runs the entire show. And yet in Tarantino’s latest, Hegel’s dialectic is, somehow, compartmentalized. Django, once unchained, is clearly impervious to the Hegelian dialectic spiel. His incidental liberation induces in him a true spirit of relentless resilience. When it comes to it, he kills the Master, the Slave and everyone else who happens to be around, he bends every rule including the ‘rules of nature’ (biological determinism). By the time the epic is over, Django leaves behind a wreckage of the Candie’s plantation, the cinematic symbol of the dying old South and the ‘Master Slave Dialectic’. Yet, as Django rides on a horse towards the rising sun together with his free wife Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington), we are awakened to the far fetched cinematic fantasy. In reality, I mean the world out of the cinema, the Candie’s plantation would, in all likelihood, remain intact and Django would probably be chained up again. In practice, Tarantino cynically juxtaposes the dream (the cinematic reality) and reality (as we know it). By doing so he manages to illuminate the depth of misery that is entangled with the human condition and in Black reality in America in particular.
Tarantino is certainly not a ‘guardian of the discourse.’ Quite the opposite, he is the bitterest enemy of stagnation. As in his previous works, his latest spectacle is an essentialist assault on correctness and ‘self-love’. Tarantino indeed turns over many stones and unleashes many vipers into the room. Yet being a devout Athenian he doesn’t intend to produce a single answer or a moral lesson. He leaves us perplexed yet cheerful. For Tarantino, I guess, dilemma is the existential essence. Spielberg, on, the other hand, provides all the necessary answers. After all, within the ‘progressive’ politically-correct discourse, it is the answers that determine, in retrospective, what questions we are entitled to raise.
If Leo Strauss is correct and Western civilization should be seen as an oscillation between Athens and Jerusalem, truth must be said – we can really do with many more Athenians and their essentialist reflections. In short, we are in a desperate need of many more Tarantinos to counter Jerusalem and its ambassadors.
At the heart of the conflict in Israel/Palestine is the relationship between Israeland America. The statistics – billions in aid and loans, UN vetoes, etc., etc. need not be repeated here – American support for Israel seems limitless. But what is the nature of this support? For many, perhaps most, the answer is relatively simple. Israel is a client state of America, serving American interests or, more particularly, the interests of its power elites. This view is underpinned by the obvious importance of oil, the huge strategic importance of the region and the fact that, if Israel did not further the interests of those who controlAmerica, then we can be sure America would not support Israel. Also, there is no doubt that, in the IDF, America has found a marvellously flexible and effective force, easily aroused and let loose whenever any group of Arabs get a little above themselves.
But is this the whole story? Does Israel really serve America’s interests and is their relationship wholly based on the sharing of these interests? Consider how much in terms of goodwill from other nations America loses by its support for Israel, and consider the power and influence of the “Jewish”, “Zionist” or “pro-Israel” lobby, as when many an otherwise responsible lawmaker, faced with the prospect of an intervention in their re-election campaign from the Jewish lobby, seems happy to put his or her re-election prospects way in front of what is good for America.
The details of the workings of AIPAC and others, and the mechanics by which these groups exert pressure on America’s lawmakers and governors, have been dealt with elsewhere; we need only note that this interest group is undoubtedly extraordinarily effective and successful. Not just a small group of Jews supporting Israel, as its supporters would have us believe, these are powerful and committed ideologues: billionaires, media magnates, politicians, activists and religious leaders. In any event, the power of the Jewish lobby to make or break pretty well any public figure is legendary – not for nothing is it often referred to simply as “The Lobby”.
But again, there may be far more to the Israel/U.S. relationship than just a commonality of interest and the effectiveness of certain interest groups. That support for Israel must be in the interests of those who control America is certainly true, but who controls America? Perhaps the real relationship is not between Israel and America but between Jews and America.
The overwhelming majority of Jews in America live their lives just like any other Americans. They’ve done well and are undoubtedly pleased that Americasupports their fellow Jews in Israel but that’s as far as it goes. Nonetheless, an awful lot of Jews certainly do control an awful lot of America – not the industrial muscle of America - the steel, transport, etc., nor the oil and arms industries, those traditional money-spinners. No, if Jews have influence anywhere in America, it’s not over its muscle and sinew but over its blood and its brain. It is in finance and the media that we find a great many Jews in very influential positions. Lists abound (though you have to go to some pretty unpopular websites to find them) of Jews, prominent in financial and cultural life: Jews in banks; Jews in Forbes Magazine’s Richest Americans; Jews in Hollywood; Jews in TV; Jewish journalists, writers, critics, etc., etc.
Nor have Jews been slow in exploiting their position. Jews have not hesitated to use whatever resources they have to advance their interests as they see them. Nor does one need to subscribe to any conspiracy theory to note how natural it is for Jews in the media to promote Jews and their values as positive and worthy of emulation. When did anyone last see a Jew portrayed in the mainstream media in anything other than a favourable light? Jews are clever, moral, interesting, intense, warm, witty, complex, ethical, contradictory, prophetic, infuriating, sometimes irritating, but always utterly engaging. Nor is it any wonder that Jews in influential positions are inclined to promote what they see as Jewish collective interests. Is it really all that incredible that Jewish advisers around the Presidency bear Israel’s interests at heart when they advise the President on foreign affairs?
But so what? So there are a lot of Jews with a lot of money, and a lot of Jews with a lot to say and the means to say it. If Jews by virtue of their ability and use of resources promote what they perceive as their own collective interest, what’s wrong with that? First, with some notable exceptions, the vast majority of Jews can, in good faith, lay hands on hearts and swear that they never take decisions or actions with collective Jewish interests in mind, certainly not consciously. And even if they did, they are acting no differently from anyone else. With a few exceptions, Jews have earned their advantageous positions. They came with little, played according to the rules and, if they use their influence to further what they perceive as Jewish interests, what’s so special about that? Do not the Poles, the Ukrainians, the Gun lobby, the Christian Evangelicals also not work to further their group interests?
The difference between Jews and other groups is that they probably do it better. Jews are, by pretty well any criteria, easily the most successful ethnic group in America and, for whatever reason, have been extraordinarily successful in promoting themselves both individually and collectively. And there would probably be nothing wrong with this were it not for the fact that these same people who exert so much control and influence over American life also seem to refuse to be held accountable. It is the surreptitiousness with which Jews are perceived to have achieved their success which arouses suspicion. Jews certainly seem cagey about the influence they have. Just breathe the words “Jewish power” and wait for the reaction. They claim it’s because this charge has so often been used as a precursor to discrimination and violence against them, but never consider the possibility that their own reluctance to discuss the power they wield arouses suspicion and even hostility.
But there is another claim, subtler and more worrying. This is that it doesn’t exist; that Jews do not wield power, that there is no Jewish lobby; that Jews inAmerica do not exert power and influence to advance Jewish interests, eventhat there are no such things as Jewish interests! There were no Jewish interests in the war in Iraq, there are no Jewish interests in America; most amazing, there are no Jewish interests even in Israel and Palestine. There is no Jewish collective. Jews do not act together to advance their aims. They even say that the pro-Israeli lobby has actually not all that much to do with Jews, that the Jewishness of Israel is irrelevant and the Public Affairs Committees (PACs) which lobby so hard for Israel are in fact doing no more than supporting an ally and thus looking after America’s best interests even to the extent of concealing their true purpose behind names such as “American for Better Citizenship”, “Citizen’s Organised PAC” or the “National PAC” – none of which make one reference in their titles to Israel, Zionism or Jews. Similarly, Jews and Jewish organisations are said to be not so much furthering Jewish interests and values as American, or, even, universal interests and values. So, the major Holocaust Museum, styled as a “Museum of Tolerance”,focuses not only on anti-Semitism, but on every kind of intolerance known to mankind (except that shown by Jews to non-Jews in Israel and Palestine).Similarly, the Anti-Defamation League is but an organisation for the promotion of universal principles of tolerance and justice, not just for Jews but for everyone.
This conflation of Jewish interests with American interests is nowhere more stark than in present American foreign policy. If ever an image was reminiscent of a Jewish world conspiracy, the spectacle of the Jewish neo-cons gathered around the last presidency and directing policy in the Middle East, this must be it. But we are told that the fact that the Jewish neo-cons, many with links with right wing political groups within Israel, are in the forefront of urging a pro-Israel policy, was but a coincidence, and any suggestion that these figures might have been influenced by their Jewishness and their links with Israel is immediately marginalised as reviving old anti-Semitic myths about Jewish dual loyalty. The idea that American interventions in Iraq, the one viable military counterweight to Israeli hegemony in the Middle East and therefore an inspiration to Arab and Palestinian resistance, primarily serves Israeli rather than American interests has also been consigned to the nether world of mediaeval anti-Semitic myth. The suggestion that those Jews around the president act from motives other than those to promote the interests of all Americans is just anti-Semitic raving. And maybe they’re right. Perhaps those who promote Jewish interests are in fact promoting American interests because, for now at least, they appear to be one and the same.
In Washington, D.C. is a memorial to a terrible tragedy. Not a memorial to a tragedy visited on Americans by a foreign power as at Pearl Harbour or 9/11, nor to a tragedy visited by Americans on Americans such the sacking ofAtlanta. Nor is it a memorial of contrition to a tragedy inflicted by Americans onto another people, such as to slavery or to the history of racial injustice inAmerica. It is to none of these. The Holocaust memorial is to a tragedy inflicted on people who were not Americans, by people who were not Americans, and in a place a very long way from America. And the co-religionists or, even, if you like, the co-nationals, of the people on whom the tragedy was visited and to whom the memorial is built make up around two percent of the American population. How is it that a group of people who make up such a tiny percentage of the overall American population can command such respect and regard that a memorial to them is built in the symbolic heart of American national life?
The Jewish narrative is now at the centre of American life, certainly that of its cultural and political elites. There is, anyway, much in the way that Americans choose to see themselves and their history which is quite naturally compatible with the way Jews see themselves and their history. What more fitting paradigm for a country founded on immigration, than the story of the mass immigration of Jews at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? For many Americans, the story of those Jews who came to their Goldenes Medina, their Golden Land, with nothing and, through hard work and perseverance, made it to the very top of American society, is also their story. And what could be more inspirational for a country, if not officially but still viscerally, deeply Christian than the story of the Jews, Jesus’ own people and God’s chosen people, returning to their ancient homeland and transforming it into a modern state. And for a nation which sees itself as a beacon of democracy in the world, what better international soul-mate than the state ofIsrael, widely promoted as ”the only democracy in the Middle-East”? Finally what greater validation for a country itself founded on a narrative of conquest and ethnic cleansing than the Biblical narrative of the conquest and ethnic cleansing of the Promised Land with the addition of the equally violent settlement of modern Palestine with its own ethnic cleansing and then “making the desert bloom”?
Most resonant, of course, is the notion of Jews as a suffering people. The fact that this “suffering people” is now enjoying a success beyond the dreams of any other ethnic group in America seems irrelevant. Also ignored is how American Jews have made it to the very top of American society whilst, every step of the way, complaining about how much they’re being discriminated against. Nonetheless, to America, Jews have an enduring and ongoing history of suffering and victimhood. But this history has rarely been examined or even discussed.