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Now It Can Be Told (Except in North Carolina)


Attention Progressives. It’s official: Now it can be told.

Three weeks after the Presidential vote. Now it can be told. Norm Chomsky says Joe Biden’s nomination by Obama was a slap in the face (he used stronger words) to Obama’s supporters because of Biden’s positions on foreign policy and his special job of destroying credit card debtors’ pathway of escape by means of loan-shark- friendly bankruptcy reform. Now it can be told. Rob Emanuel is Wall Street’s Guy and the ultimate hawk on the War in Iraq. (Israel? Forget about it.) Now it can be told. The line- up of economic advisors and hedge fund managers who Obama selected to get us out of the mess are the very ones who got us into the mess (along with other lovely kleptocracies like the former Soviet Union). They ought to be indicted, not nominated.

Now it can be told. The Progressives were “intellectually dishonest” when they ignored the role of the Clinton administration in initiating the financial debacle by pressing for deregulation as they joined Obama’s army and sought not a single programmatic debt from the transformational candidate. Now nobody will call you a racist unless you use a metaphor like Nader did. Just say we have a “transformational” candidate who is bringing us Back to the Future.

Now it can be told. That, for Chomsky, Obama is simply “Brand Obama”, sold as a symbol of change without serious inquiry into what changes, domestic or foreign. Marketed like Animal Crackers or Ajax, (the foaming cleanser), in a campaign honored by the advertising profession as even better than Apple’s I Phone? Progressives, beware. “Brand Obama” has, you know, unpleasant historical referents for people treated like property until World War Two (and beyond) by Golem corporations (like US Steel) who enjoyed their own civil rights by treating Blacks leased from sheriffs like property. Norm could be in trouble like that other old, white guy, Nader, for labeling our new leader. Now still may not be the time, so well has this brand been crafted..

Oh yes, Obama’s campaign promises? Now it can be told. Abolishing the Tax Cuts for the Rich. Wait a minute. That’s abandoned now. No more torture! But, wait a minute. The Torturer in Chief is guiding the transition in national intelligence. Some psychologists wrote Obama a letter of complaint for his shredder.

Bush and the Congress turned over trillions (not billions) to the financial sector while Obama appoints all the guys who lost the money to give their former colleagues blank check authority to spend public money to gobble up smaller banks and think about
lending some to the rest of us. “Conflict of Interest?” “Appearance of “Conflict of Interest?” Phrases that are so, so very out of fashion. Who Ya Gonna Call when you your phonebook says “Clinton Administration” on it? Bill Murray or Larry Summers?

Two weeks (not three) after the election Professor Weather Underground pops out of his office and opens his book reissue tour on Democracy Now and then slides over to the morning talk shows because Now It Can Be Told (and there’s a buck to be made).

Then there is the $200 billion infrastructure program, a Nader idea since 2000 when it would have cost less and there was a budget surplus. Where will the money come from now? Probably, we now learn, from the private sector using our Corporate Welfare to make more money for themselves and their shareholders. Buying, and then selling the property along the new rightaways, just like the Robber Barons did when railroads ruled the world. Back to the Future.

And in the meantime, with gold spiking and oil on the way back and the dollar declining against the Pound, the Yen and God knows what else; the new national motto is “How much is that in real money?” Your savings and pension? Butkus in Real Money.

Was that Ralph Nader’s real crime, the one that kept him off the air? That he never got the message, to hide out until the signal was given and to keep his mouth shut? Real Progressives hid under rocks until after election day. Then it could be told. Then they could talk about grand social movements someone should organize like the 1930s to take on Obama’s friends in high places and Obama’s star-struck armies, as they waited for orders like trade unionists in Argentina (Evita was not just a great Broadway show. Now it can be Told).

On the lighter side, (just an expression), North Carolina had 13,942 write-in votes from malcontents who still wanted to hop the barriers the Tar Heel State places in front of candidates who have the audacity to want to have their names on the ballot. Until today, three weeks after the election, the breakouts of those votes were not offered for those silly enough to have voted for third party candidates or independents. But now freedom reigns (or is reined-in, depending on your political preference).. Unfortunately, 88 percent of the write-ins were disqualified by county board of elections, leaving just 1692. Why? Poor penmanship? The ghost of the Jessie Helms still operating at the local level? Who of importance really cares if you didn’t have the good sense to vote for Obama or McCain? Still, 1510 votes for Ralph Nader and 158 for Green candidate, Cynthia McKinney, were apparently readable. These Nader and McKinney voters, out of 13, 942, must have printed in Large Block Letters. My advice to the odd balls in the world famous Research Triangle who want to exercise their franchise by voting for a minority candidate (in the sense of substance, not skin tone), is keep voting where you used to live and just maybe it will get counted. Even Alaska.

In North Carolina, you can get a grilled cheese sandwich and a cherry coke at the counter at Woolworth’s (if you can find one), but in matters of voting against the majority, Now It Still Can’t Be Told.

STEVE CONN lived in Alaska from 1972 until 2007. He is a retired professor, University of Alaska. His e mail is






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