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SHOCK AND AWE OVER GAZA — Jonathan Cook reports from the West Bank on How the Media and Human Rights Groups Cover for Israel’s War Crimes; Jeffrey St. Clair on Why Israel is Losing; Nick Alexandrov on Honduras Five Years After the Coup; Joshua Frank on California’s Water Crisis; Ismael Hossein-Zadeh on Finance Capital and Inequality; Kathy Deacon on The Center for the Whole Person; Kim Nicolini on the Aesthetics of Jim Jarmusch. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the Faltering Economic Recovery; Chris Floyd on Being Trapped in a Mad World; and Kristin Kolb on Cancer Without Melodrama.
The Return of Tom Daschle

Obama’s Crony Democracy

by TRACY McLELLAN

Tom Daschle at Health and Human Services?  Why?  What are his qualifications?  Are they better than say, Joycelyn Elders’?  No to the last two.  Do you see a clear image crystallizing here?  Could it be, yes I think it is, Obama’s crony democracy.

Remember Daschle’s stellar as opposition leader in the Senate while Bush committed 177 international war crimes and crimes against humanity?  I think the extent of Daschle’s opposition, the Senate Minority Leader, was to grunt, yes Mr. President, thank you.  Daschle’s college degree is in Political Science, not health.

It amounts to cause and effect.  The cause?  Obama’s captivation by the power of the office.  The effect?  Crony democracy.

I’ve heard the name of Hilary Clinton bandied about for Secretary of State.  Her husband wasn’t bad enough?  Do I need to remind you of President Clinton’s record?  Apparently I do.  First off, in all seriousness, the highlight of his presidency, its greatest virtue, was getting a blowjob from Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office.  For that, typical of United Statesean politics, he was impeached.  This is the technique of those in power in the United States of purporting to address an issue by dodging it. 

Clinton’s dozens of impeachable offenses included: presiding over two-thirds of the twelve year sanctions, a tyranny on Iraq and the American people, that killed as many as 1.5 million Iraqis, half of them children under the age of five.  Aren’t you proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free?  The Plan Colombia boondoogle.  Didn’t take no Republican to institute this piece of insanity.  Only this year, the land under cultivation for cocaine in Colombia has increased 37%.  In Bolivia, in contrast, a democracy the proud United States ought to grovel in the dust before, land under cultivation for cocaine, which the peasants use by chewing the innocuous leaves – not distilled into the powerful narcotic the CIA imported into the United States to devastate inner cities, to give them stamina to do tough work in extreme elevations, as a cultural artifact, and do I need to mention, to alter and elevate consciousness, has increased by only 5%.  Therefore, but primarily because Morales is a true democrat – small d – the Bush regime, no doubt in collusion with the alleged opposition Democrats – big D –like Salvador Allende before Morales, would be content to murder, but in any event, to depose.

NAFTA.  It took a Democrat to give us NAFTA, the shipping of the entire industrial and technology base of the United States overseas, and the current economic crisis.  Do you think we’ll have a depression?  The Republicans could never have passed NAFTA.  It was too obviously a gift to the already filthy rich elite.  That took Democratic collusion, their specialty.  Ditto “the end of welfare as we know it,” i.e., the completion of the Reagan Revolution.  It tossed welfare queens, and their Cadillacs off the welfare rolls, and into the streets picking cigarette butts off the pavement for less than the minimum wage, where they belonged.  And their children?  Who cares.  Let them buy childcare.

Kosovo?  The unceasing bombing of Yugoslavia for 72 straight days.  Could you imagine living in a country where you had to fear for your life, not for just one day at the strafing of nuclear “capable” F-15s and F-16s, but for 72 straight days without let up, and in which the entire infrastructure of your country – schools, hospitals, bridges, communications stations – the purpose of the raids, was obliterated?  Everything’s hunky dory here in the United States.  You can tell that by the peace and quiet – and the clinical depression – of United Stateseans.  The rest of Earth’s 6.1 billion?  Who cares?

How about Haiti?  Remember the Clinton’s complicity in deposing the democratically elected peoples’ president of the desperately poor of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide?  You don’t remember?  Why am I not surprised given the state of the corporate media in the United States, owned by the same casino capitalists who have just been bailed out of their financial crimes by the Bush regime, thanks in no small part to the lack of leadership on the part of Obama – which is to say his active lobbying for passage of the bill – to the tune of almost a trillion dollars.  Where’s the democratically elected President of Haiti today?  Somewhere in the heart and depth of Africa where his voice is effectively silenced. 

The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the precursor to the Patriot Act was another of Clinton’s gifts to crony democracy and the economic elite.  The Telecommunications Act, in which Clinton gave away tens of billions of dollars worth of the American people’s digital frequencies to the already stinking rich purveyors of pig slop and disinformation to the corporate media.  Thanks Big Bill, with your sheepish grin and gargantuan bank accounts. 

Clinton did next to nothing to alleviate the US and Israeli tyranny over the Palestinians.  And Daschle, before he became Bush’s enabler, led the charge in the Senate for Clinton.  And this is supposed to be a part of Obama’s hope and change?  How long before people who should know better are not fooled by rhetorical bromides?

I suppose Daschle’s greatest gift for Health and Human Services is his easy-going equanimity, the same equanimity he displayed as Bush took the country to at least two unnecessary, catastrophic wars, and shredded the Constitution.  Is that really what we need right now?

TRACY McLELLAN can be reached at: mclellan.tracy@gmail.com