Obama Courts the Lobby

I will tell you having visited Israel just a month and a half ago, their general attitude is, ‘We will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.’ My job as president would be to try to make sure we are tightening the screws diplomatically on Iran, that we mobilize the world community to go after Iran’s nuclear program in a serious way. … We have to do it before Israel feels its back is against the wall.

– Barack Obama, August 25, 2008

The candidate of “change,” having just selected the ultimate Washington insider as his running mate, again makes clear how thoroughly he embraces the Lobby and the foreign policy establishment.

He might have said:

Well, as I understand it, the National Intelligence Estimate of November 2007, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies including the CIA, stated with a high degree of confidence that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Some Bush administration officials, especially those around Vice President Cheney, act as though they know that there is one and it threatens the whole world. But they’ve pulled that act before, haven’t they?–scaring us all about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction which, it turned out, didn’t exist.

I visited Israel a month and a half ago, and I know there are some people there who see Iran as their main enemy. They’d like the U.S. to bomb Iran. But I frankly question their judgment. My foreign policy will be based upon my administration’s assessment of America’s interests, which do not include antagonizing more Muslim nations or reinforcing the perception that the U.S. gives Israel everything it wants, even as it ceaselessly expands illegal settlements on the occupied West Bank and— lets’s speak frankly—treats Palestinians as blacks in South Africa were treated under apartheid.

I’d like to remind you that in the summer of 2003 the Iranian government through the Swiss ambassador to Tehran proposed talks with the U.S. The Iranians were willing to exchange support for the Arab League proposal for a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine, withdrawal of military support for Hamas and Hizbollah, and resolution of U.S. concerns about its nuclear program in exchange for normalized diplomatic and trade relations with the U.S. Although Secretary of State Colin Powell was interested in the offer, Vice President Cheney rejected it out of hand. The initiative was not even reported in the press at the time.

We need to revisit that moment. We need to engage the Iranians. We need to question the neocon propaganda machine which, having circulated so much disinformation about Iraq is now doing the same about Iran. We need to call these guys out on their fear-mongering, their wild references to World War III and a ‘nuclear holocaust.’ Some say we need to ‘tighten the screws’ diplomatically. But we really need to question the premises behind the sanctions we’ve enacted to date. There hasn’t been any debate in this country about how to relate to Iran. It hasn’t been possible, politically, to say: ‘Maybe Iran is not a threat to U.S. security.’ It hasn’t been popular to point out the obvious: Iran supports the al-Maliki government in Iraq, just as we do, and the Karzai government in Afghanistan, just as we do.

Rational analysts point out that even if the entire U.S. intelligence community is wrong, and Iran is poised to acquire nuclear weapons soon, it wouldn’t use them against Israel. Iran is a long ways from Israel, has no territorial issues with Israel, no national interest in attacking Israel. Reports of anti-Semitism in Iran appear exaggerated, for political reasons. (Iran’s Jewish community is the largest outside of Israel in the Middle East and has representation in the Iranian parliament.) Israel unlike Iran is a nuclear power. Unlike Iran it hasn’t signed the Nonproliferation Treaty and refuses IAEA inspections. It has about 200 nuclear weapons that could respond to an Iranian attack with apocalyptic ferocity.

Frankly I think the Israeli leaders are hypocritical in saying that they ‘can’t allow’ Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Whoever allowed them to get theirs? They may feel that their backs are against the wall, but how do you suppose the Iranians feel, when the Bush administration has been saying for years it reserves the right to attack them, even using nukes?

Advocates of a ‘preemptive’ attack on Iran charge that Iranians are somehow suicidal, irrational, willing to suffer millions of deaths of their countrymen in order to annihilate Israel. But this is an irrational and indeed racist characterization of the Iranian people.

My job as president will be to make a clean break with the Bush administration’s foreign policy based on lies and fear-mongering. I would do our Israeli friends no favor if I capitulated to the propaganda and paranoia and continued this disastrous neocon strategy of regime change throughout the Middle East. I stand for change in foreign policy, change in how we think about foreign relations. I stand for mutual respect and dialogue, not the arrogance of the Bush White House summed up in Cheney’s statement, ‘we don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat it.’

We have to humbly understand that many people around this world think the United States is evil–for going to war and killing hundreds of thousands for no good reason. We need to understand that Iranians and Russians a whole lot of other folks think their backs are up against the wall because of reckless, provocative U.S. actions. As the candidate of change, I repudiate the strategy of aggression and culture of lies that have undermined American democracy. I ask you to vote for me as the candidate of peace.

Of course he can’t do that. Because in this “democracy” his hands are tied. No powerful news editor in the mainstream media, employed by General Electric, Time-Warner, Murdoch, Verizon or Disney would treat such a statement as anything other than an expression of wild-eyed leftwing extremism (if not anti-Semitism). Real debate is not possible outside the catacombs of the internet. It’s an iron law of the system: any candidate of change, having acquired an enthusiastic mass base through the raising of false hopes, has to at some point become the standard-bearer of the status quo. The candidate flushed with victory cynically expects serious supporters to stay on board the program—even as the program looses all but symbolic and rhetorical content.

The ultimate message: Voting for me is the best you can do. Forget any immediate withdrawal from Iraq, which I see as a strategic blunder, but not a war crime. Forget any rapprochement with Iran, or rethinking of Middle East policy, because I, like my vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, am intimidated by the Israel Lobby. Settle for a Bush Lite administration—no surprises, nothing radical, more troops to the real war in Afghanistan and maybe Pakistan.

This is a country of 300 million people, many of us really paying attention to events. We’re presented with a choice. One presidential candidate who’s unable to answer a question about how many homes he owns; states publicly that Iran is supporting al-Qaeda; and surrounds himself with neocon advisors who want a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq, want to bomb Iran, and want to provoke conflict with Russia. Another candidate (there being two, under our system) who boasts that he opposed the Iraq War but hedges on the issue of withdrawal, talks hawkish on Afghanistan, threatens to assault Pakistan, wants to “further isolate Russia,” and keeps an Iran attack “on the table” because he thinks Israel’s back is against the wall.

In fact it’s we, the American people, who have our backs against the wall. The screws are tightening on us—we who get screwed every four years, routinely. The candidate of “change” and the candidate of “country” stand together in pledging allegiance to a conception of reality the Israel Lobby endlessly promotes although it clashes at every turn with the actual world. Candidates cannot say what needs to be said.

There is something fundamentally wrong here. We are in one of those “times of universal deceit” in which, as George Orwell put it, “telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” You just can’t do it if you’re running for election, urging the masses to observe the voting rite, demanding they cast their ballots as a statement of compliance and acceptance, while offering us such meager choice. If the goal were democracy, we could do so much better. There’s no way Obama’s going to be accused of being revolutionary, no way the Congress is going to investigate and punish the liars whose hands are covered in blood, no way the mainstream press is going to acknowledge near term what for so many of us are obvious truths. It falls to others to tell the truth and act against the universal deceit.

Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu. Read other articles by Gary.

25 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozhidar balkas said on August 29th, 2008 at 8:25am #

    in an ocean of lies only the liars swim in the right direction; the rest of us swim around and then either drown or beg the liars to lead them to whereever liars are swimming to.
    organized thieving had been with us for ages. warfare by a gang of people (usually called “state”) is actually a raid for other peoples’ land, gold, silver, forest, etc.
    95% of amers cried in march ’03, Lead us, lead us please. 95% still repeat the same refrain; all of them want to be with the uncle and not against.
    none of these followers want to be left behind.
    nevertheless, tho uncle has 95% support, he will not attack iran. it is obvious that the sanest thing to do is not to wage a war against iran.
    let the jews scream all they want, it will not work. thank u

  2. John Hatch said on August 29th, 2008 at 2:47pm #

    This snivelling pandering to an Israel which is conducting its very own holocaust, which owns 200 nuclear weapons and has threatened to blow up the whole Middle East, this threatening posture toward an Iran who has threatened no one but who has long been threatened by Israel and America (and of course Iraq), who has had its internal politics invaded by the US who installed and supported the despised and murderous Shah and his US trained torturing and murdering secret police (Savak), it has to stop. In toeing the neo-con line, Obama gives the lie to his claims of ‘change’, and instead offers more of the dreadful ‘same’. He speaks to the audacity of bullshit.

  3. Gliscameria said on August 29th, 2008 at 3:19pm #

    Why don’t we just come out and say it was Israel all along. All the intelligence was contaminated, and Israel is the source of all of the terrorists, everywhere. History should prove that Jews make excellent scape-goats. Why bother being allies with such a pain in the ass when we can just label them as terrorists and take thier country? We tell Russia we won’t be installing the missle defense in Poland anymore (as we’ll be installing it in Israel), and we say we’ll remove the nukes from Israel to make Iran happy. There, everyone is happy. =)

    Seriously though… I get the feeling we’ll be turning on Israel soon enough. They’ve been our friends long enough to be an enemy by now.

  4. Susan. said on August 29th, 2008 at 3:52pm #

    To understand the root cause of some of these plagues and the way out, I discovered this article helpful:
    http://democracyandsocialism.com/Articles/VivaGlobalSocialism.html

  5. Deadbeat said on August 29th, 2008 at 4:36pm #

    I would say that the self-destruction of the American left has a lot
    to do with our current problems. When an opportunity to build a
    nation-wide leftist movement was squandered by miseducated
    “Marxist-Leninists”, naturally there will be relative quiescence.
    That in fact is one of the reasons I am so committed to building this
    mailing list, so as to avoid future feet-shooting possibilities in the future.

    – Louis Proyect, founder of Marxmail

  6. Tennessee-Socialist said on August 29th, 2008 at 7:23pm #

    I was banned from http://www.informationclearinghouse.info for posting communism articles, yet they post articles from reformist bourgeosie such as Naomi Klein, Jesse Jackson and Ron Paul, like if they are real revolutionaries

    i revolt against the bourgeosie conspiracy theory websites !!

  7. Tennessee-Socialist said on August 29th, 2008 at 7:25pm #

    DeadBeat: US Left is not self destroyed like you claimed. The US left is weak and destroyed because the right-wing, and not because of the mistakes of the left. The thing is that the USA is such a dictatorial totalitarian ultra-right wing system that it’s very hard environment for the left

  8. Tennessee-Socialist said on August 29th, 2008 at 7:31pm #

    An open e-mail to Obama:

    Dear Obama: Congratulations in winning the Democratic Party nomination for President. I am writting you this e-mail to throw my 2 cents on a very important subject for the United States. I would like to humbly suggest for you to consider reading the book “The power of Israel in the United States.” by James Petras, which talks about the negative impact of the Israeli Lobbies inside the United States, and many other authors on the subject about the negative impact of the Israeli Lobby and Israeli inside the United States government and private sector.

    I think that it is time for a real change in middle-east policies by the USA, and we must break our satanic matrimony with Israel elites, and lobbies. This country cannot keep on waging wars on behalf of Israel. I don’t hate Israel and Israelites. I love the country of Israel and all Israelites. What i hate is some Israeli wealthy elites, AIPAC and other zionist jewish lobbies, destroying our economic, and political freedoms.

    It is time for Israel to stop oppressing and killing Palestines. The real danger in the Middle East is not Iran, Syria or Pakistan, but Israeli Occupation Forces, and not Iran.

    It is time for US to dissarm Israel out of its 300 Nuclear Bombs. Ron Paul said that the real danger in the middle east is Israel. Not to mention the 3 billion dollars a year from our tax dollars

    Iran must be our friend, not our enemy, whatever Bill O’rilley, Glenn Beck and the corporate media whores claim. They won’t be presidents of the USA. You will be the president, and i have faith indeed that you would change Washington, DC indeed

    Iran doesn’t have any nuclear weapons, but nuclear energies.

    Thanks and i hope you listen to my humble opinions about the fascist state of Israel and what we should do about it

  9. Tennessee-Socialist said on August 29th, 2008 at 7:33pm #

    But of course we all know that Obama works for AIPAC so that open letter i wrote to Obama means nothing, we are doomed. Only a socialist revolution could save us from impending doom

  10. Tennessee-Socialist said on August 29th, 2008 at 7:44pm #

    The movement towards factory occupations and workers’ control in Latin America shows that the workers, through their own experience, are moving in the direction of socialism. The reformists are alarmed by this movement, which threatens to go beyond the limits of capitalism and calls into question the sacred rights of private property.

    We must achieve socialism legally or illegally

    Machiavelli said: “Because the man who wants to be good as a profession among all things, will sow his own ruin among so many men that are not good”

  11. Tennessee-Socialist said on August 29th, 2008 at 7:55pm #

    This is why i hate Middle classes. The petty bourgeois (Middle class folks) envies and hates the big capitalists who are crushing them through unequal competition, but they also hate the poor peasants, the poor working classes, and the oppressed under classes

  12. jim Bush said on August 29th, 2008 at 8:34pm #

    WELL SAID,
    America is transforming from democracy to a total hypocrite, deceitful devil. All that just for the interest of Israel! I hope once we the people wakeup, we would be able to overthrow our fake government along with all the lobby groups. As everyone knows, when someone keep asserting a past point, it means that the asserter knows it is not true, but keeps repeating himself like a broken record to convince people that it is true. I am starting to have my doubts about holocaust. They have take advantage of everyone, everywhere, and when you wakeup and try to stop it, before you know it you are branded as an anti-Semitic and they have massed a whole country or two against you. Well if they want to portray it this way (they are master of deceive for thousand of years anyway) and this is what it take to kick them out of our government, big corporate and MSM. Then it is time for the whole America to be an anti-Semitic. When are these people going to find out that people just do not believe them anymore and they have lost their dignity, soul and humanity?

  13. Al said on August 29th, 2008 at 11:34pm #

    Looks like the AIPAC vermin have got themselves a new houseboy!

  14. naro said on August 30th, 2008 at 5:27am #

    It is fascinating to read the here the melding of far left with the Nazis is an unholy alliance against the Jews as well as Israel. This is a recapitulation of the twentieth century’s history of Stalinist and Hitlerian antisemitism. One would have thought that 40 million dad body would have been enough to change these ideologies. But here they are. Led by the college professors of course.

  15. Max Shields said on August 30th, 2008 at 9:10am #

    Tennessee-Socialist said: “DeadBeat: US Left is not self destroyed like you claimed. The US left is weak and destroyed because the right-wing, and not because of the mistakes of the left. The thing is that the USA is such a dictatorial totalitarian ultra-right wing system that it’s very hard environment for the left”.

    Until we are willing to face and understand who and how the raw American elite power works, there will never be any real change in the warmachine and its preditory outcomes it spews at all levels of society.

    The elite are so powerful, that the double speak is every where confusing the “right/left” distinction. The sounds are muffled. The Democratic Party, it is repeated over and over IS the Progressive Left in Amerika.

    There is no issue too big which cannot be sanitized by this resounding response to progressive change. Sure, many know otherwise, but so WHAT? Remember power controls the predominant narrative. It has all the levers…and as Denzel Washinton says in Training Days.. “And YOU JUST LIVE HERE!”

    It is not hopeless. But it is worthless and energy sapping to “blame the left”. There is pure unadulterated bare-knuckled POWER and than there’s the rest of us.

    But, if you think smart, even the largest bolder can become a pebble.

  16. Deadbeat said on August 30th, 2008 at 11:43am #

    Max Shields says …

    But it is worthless and energy sapping to “blame the left”.

    I disagree. The ANALYSIS is not “blame the left” but IDENTIFYING where the real problems lie. To use dismissive descriptors as “blame the left” is used to OBSCURE where the REAL PROBLEM lie and to DENY and to DEFY analysis.

    What it means is that BEFORE you can challenge “bare-knuckled POWER” you have to CLEAN HOUSE and GET ORGANIZED. Getting organized means building the institutional structured needed to challenge the power structure. Unfortunately the LEFT was thoroughly responsible for the diffusion of the anti-war movement and had NOT adhere to its own principles that is vital in order to build solidarity. And without solidarity there is no chance in hell of any real challenge to POWER.

    What does SOLIDARITY means. Solidarity is the CORE of my critique of the left. SOLIDARITY means that if I put my ass on the line that I know you got my back.

    When the Left diffuses the anti-war movement it is a betrayal solidarity. When the Left rallies behind Cynthia McKinney and not hold her accountable for her war vote the Left’s motives are questionable. When the Left obscure a heinous political ideology rather than challenge it head on it reflects an ability to betray their purported principles.

    With these undercurrents, the Left’s only strategic hope to increase its ranks is the worsen of conditions and “blaming ALL the Democrats”. However this is a rather weak strategy and why the Left is rather agitated with Obama. Obama “temporarily” disrupts the plan. The irony however is that Obama rise is due directly to the Left’s failure. But most importantly worsening of conditions will be felt by those traditionally on the lowest economic rungs — people of color particularly African Americans.

    This is also why ironically the McKinney/Clemente ticket by the Greens needs to be watched carefully. However Ralph Nader on Democracy Now! was asked by Amy Goodman why he didn’t run as a Green. His response:

    RALPH NADER: Because it’s just too disorganized. They can’t—they can’t put it together. They bicker a lot, and they drive out a lot of good Greens who want to focus on agendas. I wish them well. I wish Cynthia McKinney well. I wish people would continue to support us and send contributions to votenader.org. But the liberal, progressive press, if they do not support those of us who are taking their agenda inside the presidential election arena—a propos my letter to Jim Hightower, Bill Greider and Bob Kuttner—they’re going nowhere. They’re just whistling in the dark. And most of them, with the exception of John Nichols, have been ignoring or actually undermining the Nader-Gonzalez campaign. So we’re going to generate this kind of debate within what I like to call the liberal intelligentsia.

    McKinney/Clemente is either positioning the Green to attract disaffected people of color into their ranks especially when Obama betrays their interest. It is clear that Obama’s Achilles heal is going to be Zionism and that may undo his administration as it did Jimmy Carter.

    Or McKinney/Clemente is going to attract these disaffected people of color into a disorganized institution that will eventually retard these disaffected folks that need solutions NOW.

    Analyzing these issues, problems and failure of the Left rather than obscuring them as Max would like means understanding the real underpinnings of the Obama phenomenon. It means understanding that his support by the African American community is simply more than race. Even as race plays a huge role in this election.

    The Left’s failure provided THE opportunity for Obama while the Left remains flatfooted. The Left’s blew the opportunity provided by the anti-war movement to attract the very PEOPLE that is now attracted into the Obama campaign. The unraveling of the anti-war movement by the Left in 2004 created this predicament. The Left’s failure to confront Zionism on the homefront is why both parties continues cowtow to AIPAC and to militarism.

    Most importantly understanding history means understanding how to proceed forward. This isn’t something that should be obscured which is Max’s preference. This is something that demand clarity.

  17. Deadbeat said on August 30th, 2008 at 11:44am #

    Max Shields says …
    But it is worthless and energy sapping to “blame the left”.
    I disagree. The ANALYSIS is not “blame the left” but IDENTIFYING where the real problems lie and what to do about them. To use dismissive descriptors as “blame the left” is a device to OBSCURE where REAL PROBLEMS lie and to DENY and to DEFY analysis.

    What it means is that BEFORE you can challenge “bare-knuckled POWER” you have to CLEAN HOUSE and GET ORGANIZED. Getting organized means building the institutional structured needed to challenge the power structure. Unfortunately, the LEFT was thoroughly responsible for the diffusion of the anti-war movement and had NOT adhered to its own principles that are vital in order to build solidarity. And without solidarity there is no chance in hell of any real challenge to POWER.

    What does SOLIDARITY mean? The lack of solidarity is the CORE of my critique of the Left. SOLIDARITY means that if I put my ass on the line that I know you got my back.

    It is a betrayal of solidarity when the Left diffused the anti-war movement. When the Left rallies behind Cynthia McKinney and not hold her accountable for her war vote the Left’s motives are questionable. When the Left obscure a heinous political ideology rather than challenge it head on it reflects an ability to betray their purported principles.

    These undercurrents leave the Left with the strategic hope of rhetorically “blaming all Democrats” and the worsening of conditions to increase its ranks. However this is a rather weak strategy and why the Left is rather agitated with Obama. Obama “temporarily” disrupts this Machiavellian plan. The irony however is that Obama’s rise is due directly to the Left’s failure. But most importantly worsening of conditions will be most felt by those traditionally on the lowest economic rungs — people of color particularly African Americans.

    This is also why ironically the McKinney/Clemente ticket by the Greens needs to be watched carefully. However Ralph Nader on Democracy Now! this week provides the best analysis when asked why he didn’t run as a Green:
    RALPH NADER: Because it’s just too disorganized. They can’t—they can’t put it together. They bicker a lot, and they drive out a lot of good Greens who want to focus on agendas. I wish them well. I wish Cynthia McKinney well. I wish people would continue to support us and send contributions to votenader.org. But the liberal, progressive press, if they do not support those of us who are taking their agenda inside the presidential election arena—a propos my letter to Jim Hightower, Bill Greider and Bob Kuttner—they’re going nowhere. They’re just whistling in the dark. And most of them, with the exception of John Nichols, have been ignoring or actually undermining the Nader-Gonzalez campaign. So we’re going to generate this kind of debate within what I like to call the liberal intelligentsia.

    McKinney/Clemente is either positioning the Green Party to attract disaffected people of color into their ranks especially when Obama betrays their interest. It is clear that Obama’s Achilles heel is going to be his appeasement to Zionism and that may undo his administration as it did Jimmy Carter before him.

    Or McKinney/Clemente is going to attract these disaffected people of color into a disorganized institution that will eventually retard these disaffected folks and sap their energy. These folks cannot wait 4, 8, 16, or 20 years for the Green Party to become a real force. They need solutions NOW. Therefore they will vote for the “least worst” since the Left is intuitionally weak.

    Analyzing the issues, problems and failure of the Left rather than obscuring those means understanding the real underpinnings of the Obama phenomenon. It means understanding that his support by the African American community and young people is simply more than race. Even as race plays a huge role in this election.

    The Left’s failure provided THE opportunity for Obama while the Left remains flatfooted. The Left’s squandered the opportunity provided by the anti-war movement to attract the very PEOPLE that are attracted into the Obama campaign. The unraveling of the anti-war movement by the Left in 2004 created this predicament. The Left’s failure to confront Zionism on the homefront is why both parties continue cowtow to AIPAC and to militarism.

    Most importantly understanding these failures means understanding how to proceed forward. This isn’t something that should be obscured which is Max’s preference. This is something that demand clarity.

  18. Max Shields said on August 30th, 2008 at 5:02pm #

    Deadbeat this is what you quoted: “I would say that the self-destruction of the American left has a lot
    to do with our current problems. When an opportunity to build a
    nation-wide leftist movement was squandered by miseducated
    “Marxist-Leninists”, naturally there will be relative quiescence.
    That in fact is one of the reasons I am so committed to building this
    mailing list, so as to avoid future feet-shooting possibilities in the future.

    – Louis Proyect, founder of Marxmail”

    If that is not “blaming” than I don’t know what is. The problem with you pointing this and that finger at a “left” is that the left is “amorphous”. Is the left what the media think Obama is? Or what the PDA or Nation Magazine purports to be? Or is it the National Green Party, or Labor Party or Socialist Party?

    Exactly who are you talking about when you say the “left” have “self-destruct[ed]“. Maoists? Black Panthers? SDS?

    Give me someBODY. Is there a spokesperson?

    You see every time I ask you these kinds of questions you either ignor them or simply turn the argument around and act like your getting somewhere.

    I’m willing to listen, but be specific.

  19. bozhidar balkas said on August 31st, 2008 at 5:11am #

    speaking of the Left. are we speaking of the Left in ‘rica or ‘rican Left?
    if i understand correctly, posters on dv say that the Left in US is the democratic party; now also called “progressives”.
    i do not know what the progressives stand for.
    if dems are Left to most or some amers, one might just as well be for the Right. i only see minor differences betwn them. thank u

  20. Max Shields said on August 31st, 2008 at 8:23am #

    Deadbeat, First I do take what your saying here, and elsewhere as a consistent position you strongly believe in. I do not mean to belittle what you’re saying as much as disagree with your analysis.

    You say, for example, “It means understanding that his support by the African American community and young people is simply more than race.”

    Why African American’s support in huge voting numbers the Dems regardless of color is a mix of Dem machine in those communities coupled with the 1964 Civil Rights Bill (which was signed into law by a Dem president and voted for in mix bipartisan fashion). The Dems have been able to parlay that with the New Deal, the myth of John Kennedy and the legacy of Robert Kennedy into a “no brainer” for minority electorate. That’s sweeping but Obama brings nothing to this equation that’s different from Kerry or Gore, Mondale or Dukakis, with the exception of color.

    Solidarity is an issue, but movement is the biggest issue. I agree with Green values and most of the candidates they put up align with those. But Parties are instruments which can be readily bought and undermined.

    Bigger still is the center of power and the System that swallows dissention for breakfast. Still, and here, I believe in the words of Mead:

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
    Margaret Mead

    The neocons and neoliberals are not large groups and yet in almost every aspect of American life they affect domestic and foreign policy like no other group.

  21. bozhidar balkas said on August 31st, 2008 at 11:23am #

    of course m. mead was overgeneralizing when she said a small group of people can change the world.
    the answers true and false do not apply to generalizations.
    the question to be asked about this generalization is to ask, where, when, how, for better or worse, on which level.
    on intranational level just about everywhere small or even large number of people haven’t changed the structure of governance in US, and in many lands an iota.
    one or few doctors can change the world for better. a carpenter may alos change the world for better.how about better governance/election/government? let’s say in US?
    the answer is clear! it may be getting even worse. than k u

  22. Max Shields said on August 31st, 2008 at 1:56pm #

    bozhidar balkas

    I didn’t mean to imply changing US governance.

    The US is an oversized behemoth loosely connected by an income tax and interstate highway system. The POTUS is primarily a Commander In Chief of War Incorporated. Such is the USA….

    So, no. That is not even worthy of my energies. What I mean is that the System is equipped to command and control, morph and coopt and turn topsey turvey (weeee goes Alice down the rabbit hole) talking points and whatever is needed to keep the Washington Concensus moving forward with it’s blended coalition of the elite and it’s Commander In Chief of War Incoporated. The rest is window dressing on how to keep the little people happy enough so they don’t do anything natsty, like revolt.

    The real change, the kind that matters to are daily life, not the abstract nation-state upseydaisy stuff, happens at ground level where Margaret Mead’s quote can effectivley apply.

    You cannot fight, head on, the System. It absorbs and contorts and makes you dizzy with Orwellian speak so that left is right is left…and we all go home a winner – don’t ya know!! For the the hallucinated voyageurs to Convention city – god bless and good night.

    The real work is right in front of us.

  23. bozhidar balkas said on September 1st, 2008 at 3:40am #

    max,
    to me, changing US or any other governance, is by far more important than changing any other phenomenon.
    there is no doubt in my mind that in US you have a one-party system.
    add to this the fact that US is governed by plutos.
    and with much help from sacerdotal class which always or almost always sides with the ruling class, and you have what you have.
    thanx

  24. Max Shields said on September 1st, 2008 at 5:23pm #

    bozhidar balkas

    Let’s see if this analogy works – keep hitting the body and the head will fall…

  25. Max said on September 24th, 2008 at 4:40pm #

    Beautiful article. I laughed as I read the fake Obama speech. It was very forthright, rational, honest, and actually fairly conservative. There was nothing controversial in it. I won’t hold my breath for it though. Unfortunately a lot of Americans have chosen to be fooled by Obama’s public relations campaign. We’ll see what happens as policy continues its hawkish form under either candidate. That is guaranteed.