[Marxism] John Pilger: Beware Of Obama's Groundhog Day

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Dec 13 03:08:28 MST 2008


Louis has often commented he feels like GROUNDHOG DAY around here,
though in a different context. That notion resonates with the
Australian John Pilger as well. Two particularly astute points:

(Obama's victory is historic, not only because he will be the first
black president, but because he tapped in to a great popular movement
among America's minorities and the young outside the Democratic
Party. In 2006 Latinos, the country's largest minority, took America
by surprise when they poured into the cities to protest against
George W Bush's draconian immigration laws. They chanted: "Si, se
puede!" ("Yes we can!"), a slogan Obama later claimed as his own. 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Obama's victory is historic, not only because he will be the first
black president, but because he tapped in to a great popular movement
among America's minorities and the young outside the Democratic
Party. In 2006 Latinos, the country's largest minority, took America
by surprise when they poured into the cities to protest against
George W Bush's draconian immigration laws. They chanted: "Si, se
puede!" ("Yes we can!"), a slogan Obama later claimed as his own. 
--------------------------------------------------------------------

WALTER CONCLUDES:
Obama is going to find, and more likely sooner than later, that the
same people who gave him a majority in the recently-concluded voting,
will expect that their hopes for change are brought to fruition and
if he does not deliver, at a time of profound social and economic
crisis, those who vote for him will soon be protesting against him. 

And at the same time, the Republican Party, very bitter at its loss,
will try to tar and feather him, through corruption and other kinds
of scandals to the extent they can. Already there's a fairly obvious
attempt to link Obama to the Illinois gubernatorial scandal which is
currently unfolding. So far, they haven't been able to make it stick,
though efforts to hand it on him should be expected to continue for
some time to come. The bitter resentment of some in the political
establishment against this upstart hasn't gone away, though it has
suffered a momentary setback. Obama came up in the Chicago school 
politically, so he ought not to be surprised at much of anything.
Micheal Moore and Mumia will help us to understand and to clarify
the situation as it relentlessly unfolds.

We are living in interesting times.


Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California. 
====================================================================

Beware Of Obama's Groundhog Day
Dec 12, 2008 By John Pilger
John Pilger's ZSpace Page / ZSpace

One of the cleverest films I have seen is Groundhog Day, in which
Bill Murray plays a TV weatherman who finds himself stuck in time. 
At first he deludes himself that the same day and the same people and
the same circumstances offer new opportunities. Finally, his naivety
and false hope desert him and he realises the truth of his
predicament and escapes. Is this a parable for the age of Obama?

Having campaigned with "Change you can believe in", President-elect
Barack Obama has named his A-team. They include Hillary Clinton, who
voted to attack Iraq without reading the intelligence assessment and
has since threatened to "totally obliterate" Iran on behalf of a
foreign power, Israel. During his primary campaign, Obama referred
repeatedly to Clinton's lies about her political record. When he
appointed her secretary of state, he called her "my dear friend".

Obama's slogan is now "continuity". His secretary of defence will be
Robert Gates, who serves the lawless, blood-soaked Bush regime as
secretary of defence, which means secretary of war (America last had
to defend itself when the British invaded in 1812). Gates wants no
date set for an Iraq withdrawal and "well north of 20,000" troops to
be sent to Afghanistan. He also wants America to build a completely
new nuclear arsenal, including "tactical" nuclear weapons that blur
the distinction with conventional weapons.

Another product of "continuity" is Obama's first choice for CIA
chief, John Brennan, who shares responsibility for the systematic
kidnapping and torturing of people, known as "extraordinary
rendition". Obama has assigned Madeleine Albright to report on how to
"strengthen US leadership in responding to genocide". Albright, as
secretary of state, was largely responsible for the siege of Iraq in
the 1990s, described by the UN's Denis Halliday as genocide.

There is more continuity in Obama's appointment of officials who will
deal with the economic piracy that brought down Wall Street and
impoverished millions. As in Bill Murray's nightmare, they are the
same officials who caused it. For example, Lawrence Summers will run
the National Economic Council. As treasury secretary, according to
the New York Times, he "championed the law that deregulated
derivatives, the... instruments - aka toxic assets - that have spread
financial losses [and] refused to heed critics who warned of dangers
to come".

There is logic here. Contrary to myth, Obama's campaign was funded
largely by rapacious capital, such as Citigroup and others
responsible for the sub-prime mortgage scandal, whose victims were
mostly African Americans and other poor people.

Is this a grand betrayal? Obama has never hidden his record as a man
of a system described by Martin Luther King as "the greatest purveyor
of violence in the world today". Obama's dalliance as a soft critic
of the disaster in Iraq was in line with most Establishment opinion
that it was "dumb". His fans include the war criminals Tony Blair,
who has "hailed" his appointments, and Henry Kissinger, who describes
the appointment of Hillary Clinton as "outstanding". One of John
McCain's principal advisers, Max Boot, who is on the Republican
Party's far right, said: "I am "gobsmacked by these appointments.
[They] could just as easily have come from a President McCain."

Obama's victory is historic, not only because he will be the first
black president, but because he tapped in to a great popular movement
among America's minorities and the young outside the Democratic
Party. In 2006 Latinos, the country's largest minority, took America
by surprise when they poured into the cities to protest against
George W Bush's draconian immigration laws. They chanted: "Si, se
puede!" ("Yes we can!"), a slogan Obama later claimed as his own. 
His secretary for homeland security is Janet Napolitano who, as 
governor of Arizona, made her name by stoking hostility against Latino
immigrants. She has militarised her state's border with Mexico and
supported the building of a hideous wall, similar to the one dividing
occupied Palestine.

On election eve, reported Gallup, most Obama supporters were
"engaged" but "deeply pessimistic about the country's future
direction". My guess is that many people knew what was coming, but
hoped for the best. In exploiting this hope, Obama has all but
neutered the anti-war movement that is historically allied to the
Democrats. After all, who can argue with the symbol of the first
black president in this country of slavery, regardless of whether he
is a warmonger? As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, Obama is a "brand"
like none other, having won the highest advertising campaign accolade
and attracted unprecedented sums of money. The brand will sell for a
while. He will close Guantanamo Bay, whose inmates represent less
than one per cent of America's 27,000 "ghost prisoners". He will
continue to make stirring, platitudinous speeches, but the tears will
dry as people understand that President Obama is the latest manager
of an ideological machine that transcends electoral power. Asked what
his supporters would do when reality intruded, Stephen Walt, an Obama
adviser, said: "They have nowhere else to go."

Not yet. If there is a happy ending to the Groundhog Day of repeated
wars and plunder, it may well be found in the very mass movement
whose enthusiasts registered voters and knocked on doors and brought
Obama to power. Will they now be satisfied as spectators to the
cynicism of "continuity"? In less than three months, millions of
angry Americans have been politicised by the spectacle of billions of
dollars of handouts to Wall Street as they struggle to save their
jobs and homes. It as if seeds have begun to sprout beneath the
political snow. And history, like Groundhog Day, can repeat itself.
Few predicted the epoch-making events of the 1960s and the speed with
which they happened. As a beneficiary of that time, Obama should know
that when the blinkers are removed, anything is possible.


=========================================
     WALTER LIPPMANN
     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
=========================================




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