Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rest of world turns as usual

It's been all Honduras here for the last month because for once I feel I can actually contribute something by blogging. I'm no expert, but fifteen years of Central American solidarity work and my (weak, weak) Spanish still put me far ahead of many people likely to be mildly interested but unable or uninclined to seek out information. Connecting with posters who are experts in one way or another, and who're using their skills to provide a solid alternative to the superficial and zombie-lie-filled old media, reminds me that another world is possible.

But maybe, reader, you're looking for an update on how our own democracy continues to be threatened by an out-of-control military in a permanent-war national security mindset, impunity for torture, and an overweening oligarchy. A Lovely Promise is here to serve:

- Peaceful and law-abiding people and organizations continue to be massively spied on by the U.S. military and "fusion centers" that connect the military with intelligence and law enforcement agencies and completely unregulated, unaccountable private database contractors.

- U.S. troops are never going to leave Iraq. The ones who've come home are assaulting and killing other people and themselves, and those who stay alive and out of jail are heading off to that other war. Which is unwinnable and on its way to becoming permanently unpopular.

- No one who ordered or had command responsibility for torture (always illegal) is going to be prosecuted. At most, cases might be brought against some more scapegoats, underlings who went beyond what was "authorized" (impossibly, illegally) in spurious opinions written by Justice and Defense Dept. lawyers.

- Corporate rule of our politics and media means that the very best we can hope for in the way of health care reform is the House bill, H.R. 3200. And it sucks.

- The banks and financial companies own us. That very much includes Pres. Obama, who's helping to keep us from being able to see what's being done with the trillions we've handed over to them.

But there are occasional bright spots: Mohammed Jawad, who was twelve when U.S. soldiers took him prisoner in 2002, has been ordered to be freed next month and returned home to Afghanistan, won't face charges there, and probably won't face U.S. criminal charges (in part because much of the "evidence" against him was produced by torture). Huzzah! [Hat tip Gary Farber]

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At 7:07 PM, August 03, 2009, Anonymous Ovid said...

"The banks and financial companies own us. . . ." Agreed, though there are some other shareholders too.

"That very much includes Pres. Obama, who's helping to keep us from being able to see what's being done with the trillions we've handed over to them."

The beauty of our political system, from the point of view of our rulers, is that it's suicidal to fight both your political enemies AND your political supporters at the same time. It would be pretty hard for Obama to go to war against big pharma, the crazies on the Right, the arms merchants, oil, the military, AND the banks. To do that, he would need massive support. Obama's decisions not to fight Geithner and Summers too much on issues like TARP transparency should not surprise anyone too much.

At 1:47 PM, August 04, 2009, Blogger Nell said...

It was Obama's decision to put Geithner and Summers in their current positions, to retain Gates as Defense Secretary, to make only a few cosmetic changes in the administration of detentions and Guantanamo, to cave to Odierno and other brass on release of the pictures that document how widespread military torture was in Iraq and Afghanistan, to promote known torture-enabler Stanley McChrystal to command the quagmire in Afghanistan...

Obama's not taking on ANY of the forces you mention except the crazies on the right (who are a nice distraction for the liberal base from the fact that almost nothing is changing and many of the worst aspects of the Bush-Cheney regime are being cast in stone).


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