Posted 5 years ago on Aug. 29, 2012, 9:03 p.m. EST by PeterKropotkin
from Oakland, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Too much agreement between Republicans and Democrats has always been bad news for those at the bottom of America's class and racial totem poles.
Back in 1875, Frederick Douglass observed that it took a war among the whites to free his people from slavery. What then, he wondered, would an era of peace among the whites bring us? He already knew the answer. Louisiana had its Colfax Massacre two years earlier. A wave of thousands upon thousands of terroristic bombings, shootings, mutilations, murders and threats had driven African Americans from courthouses, city halls, legislatures, from their own farms, businesses and private properties and from the voting rolls across the South. They didn't get the vote back for 80 years, and they never did get the land back. But none of that mattered because on the broad and important questions of those days there was at last peace between white Republicans and white Democrats --- squabbles around the edges about who'd get elected, but wide agreement on the rules of the game.
Like Douglass, the shallow talking heads who cover the 2012 presidential campaign on corporate media have noticed out loud the remarkable absence of disagreement between Republican and Democratic candidates on many matters. They usually mention what the establishment likes to call “foreign policy.” But the list of things Republicans and Democrat presidential candidates agree on, from coddling Wall Street speculators, protecting mortgage fraudsters and corporate wrongdoers to preventing Medicare For All to so-called “foreign policy,” “free trade,” “the deficit” “clean coal and safe nuclear power” and “entitlement reform,” is clearly longer and more important than the few points of mostly race and style, upon which they disagree.
Although unemployment is the highest it's been since the Great Depression, the federal government should NOT enact any sort of WPA-style program to put millions of people back to work. Under Democrat Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, Depression-era unemployment was tackled head on by direct federal hiring to dig subways, build roads, schools, parks, sewers, recreational facilities and public buildings. Oblivious of this history, Democrat Barack Obama maintains that only the private sector can or should create jobs.
Medicare, Medicaid and social security are “entitlements” that need to be cut to relieve what they call “the deficit.” Republicans have been on record for this since forever, though they claim not to want to mess with the Medicare people already over 65 are getting. One of the first acts of the Obama presidency was to appoint a bipartisan panel stacked with “deficit hawks” like Republican Allan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles to recommend raising retirement ages and cutting back Medicaid, Medicare and social security, and pass a law directing Congress to have an up or down no-amendments vote on its recommendations. Fortunately the “cat food commission”, as it was called, was deadlocked and offered none. But Obama and top Democrats, most recently House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi continue to express their readiness for some kind of “grand compromise” with Republicans on this issue.
Climate change treaties and negotiations that might lead to them should be avoided at all costs. The differences between them are only style. Democrats admit that climate change exists and is man-made, Republicans say it's a myth. But both ignored the Kyoto protocol and Obama like Bush before him, has worked tirelessly to delay, derail and boycott any actual talks that might lead to constructive international climate change agreements.
NAFTA was such a great thing it really should be extended to Central and South America and the entire Pacific rim. Again, there are differences in style. On the 2008 campaign trail, Obama sometimes mumbled about renegotiating parts of NAFTA, and such. But even before the primaries were done, press reports had him assuring the Canadian government this was only campaign rhetoric, raw meat for the rubes. In four years he has pushed NAFTA-like “free trade” corporate rights agreements with South Korea, most of Central America and is now secretly hammering out something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Banksters and Wall Street speculators deserve their bailouts and protection from criminal liability, but underwater and foreclosed homeowners deserve nothing. Well, maybe not exactly nothing. Republicans think underwater homeowners deserve blame for forcing banksters to offer millions of fraudulent high-interest loans were then re-sold to investors around the world. Democrats think underwater homeowners deserve empty promises of help that never quite arrives for most of the foreclosed, the about-to-be foreclosed, their families and communities. But both agree on free money for banksters and speculators but no moratorium on foreclosures and no criminal investigations of mortgage and securities fraud.
Palestinians should be occupied, dispossessed and ignored. Iran should be starved and threatened from all sides. Cuba should be embargoed, and Americans prohibited from going there to see what its people have done in a half century free of Yankee rule. Black and brown babies and their parents, relatives and neighbors should be bombed with drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and similar places. The politicians and corporate commentators have a misleading name for this. They call it “foreign policy.” The realistic term for it is global empire.
Africa should be militarized, destabilized, plundered and where necessary, invaded by proxy armies like those of Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi or Kenya, or directly by Western air and ground forces, as in Libya. President Georgia Bush announced the formation of AFRICOM, the US military command for the continent which has officially swallowed all US civilian diplomatic presence. But only a black US president, even under the cover of “humanitarian war” could have invaded an African nation and openly dispatched special forces to Central Africa.
US Presidents can kidnap citizens of their own or any nation on earth from anyplace on the planet for torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial or murder them and neighboring family and bystanders at will. To be perfectly fair, there are distinctions between Republicans and Democrats here that don't amount to differences. Republicans Cheney and Bush got their lawyers to say these things were OK and did them. Democrat Obama got Congress to enact “laws” giving these acts a veneer of fake legality, something a Republican probably could not have done.
Oil and energy companies, and other mega-polluters must be freed to drill offshore almost everywhere, and permitted to poison land and watersheds with fracking to achieve “energy independence”. The Republicans say “drill baby drill” but it seems only Democrats can chill out enough supposed “environmentalists” to make this happen. Obama campaigned on restricting offshore drilling four years ago, and reversed himself just before the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. The White House cooperated with BP in lying to the public about the extent of the disaster and has shielded BO from paying anything like the value of actual damages incurred to livelihoods, human lives and the environment.
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