An Election Story

Drama Kid Lit New York City News Politics


What will I do now? I won't have John McCain to kick around anymore. I'll keep this page of McCain tongue images around in case I start to miss him.

Naturally, this has been a big-smile day around New York City. But there are dissenters, including some LitKicks regulars who are pointedly not dancing in the streets. I understand that some Americans think "Obama-mania" is causing our country to abandon its common sense. However, I want to point out that much of what we are celebrating today has nothing to do with the personality or mystique or even the healing historical significance of Barack Obama. Myself, more than any other single thing, I'm celebrating the fact that this nation just effectively voted to end the Iraq War.

This has been a long time coming. I was very disappointed when the American people failed to vote against the war by throwing George Bush out of office in 2004, and I was horrified to think we might do the same thing again by electing John McCain in 2008. By voting for Barack Obama, we just voted for a candidate who opposed the war in 2002 and pledges to bring the troops home in 2009 and 2010. We don't know if Obama will manage to make this a reality -- he may disappoint us, or changing circumstances may make it impossible for him to end the war. But even if this happens, the fact remains that the American people have made their feelings on the war clear. This is a momentous fact in itself, and it's one of many reasons I say I'm proud of us right now.

I'm disappointed about a few election results, though. I was hoping to see what Al Franken would do in the Senate. I'm also surprised and disturbed that California has passed a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. It's amazing that anybody thinks they can promote family values by denying Americans the right to marry.

Okay ... back to the literary scene, and I'm not talking about the poetry of Barack Obama even though, admittedly, his poetry is pretty good. Here's what else is going on:

1. The Institute for the Future of the Book is conducting a close reading of a Doris Lessing novel beginning November 10.

2. Chad Post rediscovers Carlo Collodi's original Pinocchio, which has been republished with an introduction by Umberto Eco.

3. Sarah Weinman reads a long-lost Jack Kerouac/William S. Burroughs collaboration. I'm not too keen on the Beat Generation cottage industry and this one doesn't sound too great, so I'll probably skip it.

4. I've been waiting a long time (a little humor there) to catch a production of Samuel Beckett's much-discussed but little-seen Waiting For Godot. Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin will be clowning it up in a new production on Broadway, while Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are opening in a different production of the same play in London. I hope I'll get a chance to catch Lane and Irwin, and I'd also like to catch the new staging of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel.

5. But first -- big news -- they're putting on a new production of Rodgers and Hart's great Pal Joey, based on John O'Hara's New Yorker sketches at Studio 54. I'm catching a preview in two weeks and of course I'll let you know what I think.
29 Responses to "An Election Story"

by Brad on

I'm with you! I was overjoyed last night when I heard that Obama had won the election. For me and millions of others he is a breath of fresh air.

Now that this election is over, I'm going to have a lot more free time on my hands - since I won't be obsessively watching/reading about election news.

BTW, I love your blog! I have been reading it for a while now and I always look forward to reading your posts. My favorites are the Reviewing the Review posts. Keep up the good work!

Oft have I said that Republican-ism is evil. Not just because idealogically they are puritanical hypocrtical bible belters; warmongering hypocritical defense contractors; gun toting xenophobes; and corporate slavers. It is that Republican politicos never make the world better, because they don't care to. They make themselves better, and that's all that matters.

They don't want world peace because then they couldn't sell arms to both sides of a conflict. They don't want to educate the masses because they fear an absence of minimum wage factory workers. They don't want government health care because then the hospital business might not be a trillion dollar industry. Same for alternative energy sources, same for global warming.

They don't care.

by Levi Asher on

Jeez, Mikael, I just can't agree with "Republican-ism is evil". I don't often find myself arguing the Republican side of an argument, but "Republican-ism is evil" really seems like a useless statement, false from the moment it is uttered.

This gets back to the stuff we were discussing in yesterday's thread, though. It's a very worthwhile debate but I want to ask people here to always keep your rhetoric in check and think about other people's feelings before you post.

by Bill Ectric on

Regarding health care, I'm sad to say, it looks like we're in for more of the same. Despite the incentive to be more competitive, my pussy HMO doctor still refuses to prescribe amphetamines. Do I have to go Libertarian next time?

by stevadore on

Levi, thanks for the tip on Waiting for Godot. I can't wait to check it out when it comes to NY. Nathan Lane, I think, is an incredible actor.

I've been wanting to see that play live ever since my film teacher in high school turned me onto it some 25 years ago. (My God, has it been that long?!)

by Plump Comfort on

Mr Ectric-
Your comment about the pussy in the HMO leads me to wish to ask you what it is you wish to be prescribed amphetamines for? Are you a long distance truck driver? Can't get all the housework done after the 9-5 grind? Morbidly overweight? Attention defecit issues? Or do you just enjoy the buzz? And are you seeking dexedrine, adderal, ritalin, or another stimulant, such as provigil?
Or maybe a magic bullet?
Your expectations of a health care provider may be unrealistic. This will not change becasue we get a single payor system, if it is nationalised, or if physicians start doing housecalls again. What's ailing you?

Yeah Bill. Why can't you just take downers like the rest of us?

by Bill Ectric on

ohhh, I have my reasons.

by Bill Ectric on

Covey, if you know a better way to spy on garden gnomes in the middle of the night, I'd like to hear it.

by rubiao on

I would love to believe that we just voted to end the occupation, but its hard to say. What I think we did finally vote for, and I hope this includes the end of the occupations, is intelligence. I hope that we just voted for intelligence over ignorance, diplomacy over military, decency over petty vindictiveness, and the good of society, not just the aristocracy. Also I would like us to rejoin the global community and regain the moral authority we lost over the last half a century.

That is all I want, an entire paradigm shift in the consciousness of American society. Nothing more.

by Dan on

waiting for godot is NOT a comedy, and i'm disappointed to hear that nathan lane and company will be 'clowning it up'. years ago, a productions starring bert lahr was billed as 'the laff riot of the season' and consequently bombed bigtime, since audiences went expecting big yuks.

i agree with the poster that republicanism is evil. looking solely at their actions and beliefs, one cannot help but come to this conclusion. i will further fan the flames by saying that i don't think there is any such thing as a 'moderate republican,' any more than there is a 'moderate nazi'. if you sign up you take responsibility for their beliefs and actions. i don't know any republicans socially and don't plan to.

I agree with Mikael and Dan. Republicans are evil.

I have said this before - if there is a God, the Republicans will neither have a majority in the House or Senate, nor will there be a Republican president, for the next 100 years.

People, wake up. Has trickle down economics helped you? Has the war on terror been a success?
Have we been deprived of more and more of our civil rights? And ... we now torture people. Torture!

The only thing that the Republicans have been successful in is terrifying the gullible American public into supporting their fascistic policies.

Down with the politics of fear! Up with the polics of hope!

And by the way, Bill if you get a script for amphetamines, you're going to share, right?

by TKG on

Nothing like empty hate mongering rhetoric to make everyone feel good. Warm the cockle's of one's heart.

by panta rhei on

rubiao - yes! you say it.

by Levi Asher on

I am still surprised that any intelligent person can find solace in a meaningless statement like "Republicanism is evil".

You know I stand against almost every position of today's Republican party, but no, I do not think that 49.9% of this country (or any country) is "evil". I also don't think the word "evil" can be pinned down in so broad a sense, not can the word "Republicanism" (see my previous article on Wittgenstein and language games).

If all you see in any modern and broadly popular political party is "evil", I believe you are not looking very hard or thinking very hard.

Like Nietzsche said, it is Beyond Good and Evil.

by Steve Plonk on

As for me, I think reactionary is a good term for the republicans in general. Whatever happened to the Rockefeller republicans? Not all republicans are "flat earthers". Some are moderates, as has been seen. Lately, since Ford ran, republicans have been falling over themselves to kow-tow to the extreme right of their party which controlled the power strings.
Now, I think that the moderate republicans are going to resurge and there is going to be a rethink of the party. The character assassinations "flat earther" and "family values" approach has fallen flat on its collective nose this election.
The republican party,nationally, if they are smart, will veer away from the wingnuts and become more centrist in order to win more elections. There are unfortunately, in the south, a bunch of diehard wingnuts who are afraid of gun licensing, afraid of taxes--we need the taxes--and are afraid of "losing" the war in Iraq. Nationally, we are well rid of the wingnut base of the republican party. Unfortunately, we still have to deal with them down here in "Beulahland".

Levi,

Torturing people is evil.

Lying to the American public and to Congress to press an illegal and immoral war in Iraq is evil.

Holding people in prison for years without charging them, and with no due process is evil.

Hiring merceneries (consultants) to fight an illegal and immoral war is evil.

George W. Bush and his henchmench perpitrated the above acts. They were aided and abetted by the Republican majority (in the beginning). The Republicans also put enormous pressure on the Democrats to play along.

As I see it, that makes the Republicans evil. True, not all of their ideas are evil, but the above despicable acts are evil, and they were done at the bidding of the Republicans, with backing from the Democrats in the beginning.

Certainly not all Republicans are evil, but the leadership of the party is, based on the above evil acts that they comitted.

Is this a case of a Republican party tainted by a few bad people? Perhaps. The vast unpopularity of Bush at the end had many Republicans backing away from him. But when Bush was at his height, the Republicans you can be sure were high-fiving in a rapture of hubris.

The Republican Party finally got what it wanted for so long - control of the legislature and the white house. They wielded tremendous power. Did they do it for good or for evil? Let's review their legacy: The Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, the Wars in Irag and Afghanistan, Torture in Abu Graib, and finally: allowing the Financial sector to completely run amock with derivative products that few understood, so that when the housing market collapsed in the wake of the sub-prime loan crisis, a financial panic ran throughout the world and quite nearly brought Wall Street to its knees, and consequently turned these derivatives into Toxic Assets which we the taxpayers now have to help get off their books.

The Republicans also manipulated public opinion with fear. Election coming up, let's crank up the alert level to orange or red.

Sure, not all Republicans would have done this, but they went along. It's like the Nazis who said "we were just doing our job."

To me, these acts were done by evil men and thus the Republicans are evil by supporting them. The Republican party needs to go back and rethink what it stands for if it is to remain a viable party. Bush shit on it so bad that it will stink for 100 years.

The Democrats have not done much better. But under the leadership of an inspiring president, Barack Obama, they can bring America back and repair the damage. But is will take work. Fortunately, we have a president who is commanding, who inspires people to action.

So, yes, the Republicans are evil. The ideas the party allegedly stand for are debatable, not necessarily evil. But given the opportunity to govern, they chose evil, and it is born out by their actions and by history.

The American people have finally snapped out their fear-induced coma and voted for someone who can lead us out of this mess and get America back on track. We have lost so much credibility with the rest of the world that it is shameful. Particulary our financial institutions, once the envy of all, are now looked upon with suspicion and loathing.

by Levi Asher on

Michael, it's funny that we're arguing about this when we are obviously on the same side regarding torture and Iraq and the Bush presidency. I don't think we have the slightest difference of opinion regarding everything our current administration has done.

Still, I don't throw around words like "evil", because these words cut both ways and often cause more problems than they solve. I could easily engage you in a Wittgenstenian language game regarding the precise definition of the word "evil" which, I bet, would leave both our heads spinning. To do so, though, would be a waste of time. I prefer to think in pragmatic and result-oriented ways. Instead of saying "Bush is evil", I said "Impeach Bush". Instead of saying "Republicans are evil" I said "Vote for Obama". That's the only difference I see between what you're saying and what I'm saying. I am very wary of rhetoric, and I still insist that a sentence like "Republicans are evil" won't help anything. I don't like to call anybody "evil" -- I prefer to solve problems.

by Kevin on

Ron Paul/Levi Asher 2012!

And make Jamelah Press Secretary

by rubiao on

I would also like to throw in that referring to Iran and North Korea as "the axis of evil" is a certain way to make no progress. Calling Republicans evil is another way to avoid taking a big step forward. Wars on ideas like communism and terrorism are as stupid as wars on inanimate objects like drugs.

To get the big things done, and I am not talking about changing the capital gains taxes, we will need Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Socialists, and everyone else to buy into the program. Calling the Republicans evil is as worthless as calling dissenters "unpatriotic."

What I really like about Obama is his ability to rise above the pettiness. He doesn't need to throw out ad hominem attacks like: You are evil. He seems to inherently know that issues like tax structure and oil drilling are things that have been used in campaigns, but at this point in time, don't really matter as much as the bigger ideas. It is so hard not to get sucked in to the trite stuff with all the media coverage and inter-party bickering, but he just did it for two years.

Heres to 8 more...

by Levi Asher on

Kevin, I don't know about that Ron Paul guy ... however, I am available.

Rubiao, well said!

Ok, I agree. Calling Republicans evil doesn't advance the debate any. Still, it felt good to get it off my chest.

We are all in this together, so we all need to work together.

I hope Obama can hit the ground running in January, because there is a lot to do.

by Archie on

I'm English, so my opinion doesn't count, but Ron Paul would have been a better president than I see Obama managing. He's too tied up in money and favours, I'm sure. We've all seen how it works on The Wire, right?? Ugly bidness.

Republicans seem completely barmy to us in England, but not evil. The Dems the lesser not evil. And where was the love from the media for The Greens and The Libertarians, by the moah fuh-in way? Your country is one party away from China, and the way the GOP is looking, y'all need to give props to the a-fo' mentioned. Indeed. Sheeeet.

by TKG on

I have wanted to read And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks for a long time -- ever since I read about it in the various bios more than 20 years ago now.

I know what you mean about the Kerouac cottage industry. Recently another book we first tantalizingly heard about in Charters, McNally, Nicosia (Hi Gerry) was Wake Up. a biography of Buddha. It was one of those mysterious manuscripts that now is there for the taking.

And the memoirs -- a book by Edie Parker. Joan Haverty has had a book published. Two by Joyce Johsnons, memoir and letters. It goes on and on.

And I have no problem with it at all. In fact it is amazing and almost surreal.

Yeah sure, John Sampas pocket gets line more. But in this case James Grauholz is mking some dough. Very rightly so as well as he wrote a nice and failry long afterpiece about the time and place and the events relating to Lucien Carr's killing of David Kammerer. His comments about the novel, as a period piece, were certainly on the mark. It's a thoughtful infomraed and informative pice. Grauerholz was always quite a nice and articulate person (I sound like Joe Biden describing Barack Obama)in my corresponances with him (we discussed -- argued -- OK argued -- over intellectual property and he was completely right and I was wrong.

It's nice to see this being put together and read Grauerholz' afterpiece.

On the cottage industry again, a new 50th anniversary edition of the Dharma Bums is out -- a nice excuse to publish it in hard bok.

The peral in that is an amazing letter by Henry Miller from October 5, 1958 about the book and Kerouac. Miller was quite prescient in talking about how his work would last and be widely inspirational and influencial. Is there anyone today who could either make such a judgment on a newly published writer or a write who could make such a judgement an easy one to make?

I am falling in love with God.

by Levi Asher on

TKG, I am definitely looking forward to rereading Wake Up. I'll be writing about it here. And yeah, James Grauerholz is a good guy, no doubt.

by Catherine on

Well, I hate getting into political debates, so I'm just going to comment on item #5 of your post. I saw in your archives the Pal Joey letters from the New Yorker. Great stuff! I have a picture of the cover of Dell Publishing's book compilation of the New Yorker stories on my blog - www.paljoeyblog.com. Can't wait to see the show in December. If you think about, please visit my blog and let us know your thoughts on the show.

by Archie on

A media alert from Medialens.org, I recommend everyone to subscribe! Apologies to Levi for the length of this post (i've tried to edit as much as poss) and if you judge me to be spamming.

MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

November 13, 2008

OBAMA - WIPING THE SLATE CLEAN

Appearance And Reality In The Relaunch Of Brand America

In 1997, the British media filled with talk of “historic” change. Blair’s victory that year “bursts open the door to a British transformation,” the Independent declared. (Neal Ascherson, ‘Through the door he can begin to create a freer land,’ The Independent, May 4, 1997)
A Guardian leader saluted the nation: “Few now sang England Arise, but England had risen all the same.” (Leader, ‘A political earthquake,’ The Guardian, May 2, 1997)
The editors predicted that, by 2007, Blair’s triumph would be seen as “one of the great turning-points of British political history... the moment when Britain at last gave itself the chance to construct a modern liberal socialist order.” (Ibid)

The Observer assured readers that the Blair government would create "new worldwide rules on human rights" and implement "tough new limits on arms sales." (http://www.antiwar.com/orig/pilger.php?articleid=5063)

This, after all, was the dawn of Blair’s “ethical” foreign policy.

It was a dawn of the dead - Blair left behind him the almost unimaginable horror of Iraq and Afghanistan.

A rare poll conducted by Ipsos last January of 754 Iraqi refugees in Syria found that “every single person interviewed by Ipsos reported experiencing at least one traumatic event in Iraq prior to their arrival in Syria.” (http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/iraq?page=news&id=479616762)

UNHCR estimated that one in five of those registered with the agency in Syria over the previous year were classified as "victims of torture and/or violence." The survey showed that fully 89 per cent of those interviewed suffered depression and 82 per cent anxiety. This was linked to terrors endured before they fled Iraq – 77 per cent of those interviewed reported being affected by air bombardments, shelling or rocket attacks. Eighty per cent had witnessed a shooting... and so on. (Ibid)

John Pilger was a lonely voice in 1997 warning that Blair was a dangerous fraud, a neocon in sheep’s clothing. As Pilger later pointed out, the media could hardly plead ignorance:

“Blair's Vichy-like devotion to Washington was known: read his speeches about a new order led by America. His devotion to Rupert Murdoch, who flew him and Cherie Booth around the world first class, was known. His devotion to an extreme neoliberal Thatcherite economics was known...” (John Pilger, Blair’s bloody hands,’ March 4, 2005; http://www.antiwar.com/orig/pilger.php?articleid=5063)

Over the past two weeks - one decade and three wars later - the same media have been insisting, as one, that US president-elect Barrack Obama is another “new dawn”. A Guardian leader observed:

"They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world...

“Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America's hope and, in no small way, ours too.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/06/barackobama-uselecti...)
>
> In the Guardian’s news section, Oliver Burkeman described the victory as “historic, epochal, path breaking”. But there was more:
>
> “Just being alive at a time when it's so evident that history is being made was elating and exhausting.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/05/uselections2008-barackobama)
>
> In 2003, the Guardian’s foreign editor, Ed Pilkington, told us:
>
> “We are not in the business of editorialising our news reports." (Email, November 15, 2003)
>
> Someone forgot to tell Burkeman, indeed the entire Guardian news team. At times like these, the media’s claims to balanced coverage seem to belong to a different universe. Over the last two weeks, the public has been subjected to a one-way delusional deluge by the media. The propaganda is such that comments made by independent US presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, appear simply shocking:
>
> “What we’re seeing is the highest level of resignation and apathy and powerlessness I’ve ever seen. We’re not talking about hoopla. We’re not talking about ‘hope’. We’re not talking about rhetoric. We’re not talking about ‘rock star Obama’. We’re talking about the question that is asked everywhere I go: ‘What is left for the American people to decide other than their own personal lives under more restrictive circumstances year after year?’ And the answer is: almost nothing.” (Interview, RealNews.com, November 4; http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&It...)
>
> Nader says of Obama: “This is show business what you’re seeing.” The crucial point: “Obama doesn’t like to take on power.” (Ibid)
>
> But our media, passionately committed to ‘balance’ though they claim to be, are not interested. Their view (or so they claim): Obama’s victory is a wonderful, transformational moment for the world.
>
> The message is enhanced by precisely the abandonment of any pretence of impartiality. This might be termed the ‘Get Real!’ stratagem of propaganda swamping. The suggestion is that the truth is so obvious, so marvellous, that it is churlish to be concerned with balance. When the whole media system is screaming at us to be overjoyed, something is wrong - life is just not that straightforward.
>
> The same version of events has been repeated right across the media. The Times’s leading warmonger under Bush-Blair-Brown, Gerard Baker, commented: “there haven't been many days preceded by more energy and freighted with much greater historic significance than this one”. (Baker, ‘Amid the silence, citizens will make history with their sacred rite,’ The Times, November 4, 2008)
>
> The BBC’s Justin Webb wrote:
>
> "On every level America will be changed by this result - its impact will be so profound that the nation will never be the same." (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/)
>
> David Usborne gushed for the non-editorialising news pages of the Independent:
>
> “As tears wetted a thousand cheeks in the Chicago crowd, it was clear that the significance of Mr Obama’s victory may take some while to sink in.” (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/barack-obama-wins-his-p...)
>
> How to communicate the impact?
>
> “Call it the demise of cynicism or the end of apathy. The country that pretends to be the standard-bearer of the democracy and presumes, indeed, to export it to the other countries around the world was living up to its own standards.”
>
> Jon Snow of Channel 4 News did not disappoint:
>
> “Hello history (to use the word of the times). What a staggering and indescribable moment this is. Barack Obama’s graceful acceptance of what had seemed both inevitable and impossible is up there equalling any political event since the downing of the Berlin Wall and the release of Nelson Mandela.” (Snowmail, November 5, 2008)
>
> And the basis for this staggeringly important moment?
>
> “Even after so many months of speech-making it’s still not clear what are the concrete changes that may now ensue and in particular, there are some big foreign policy areas where Obama is not promising a hugely different tack from Bush...” (Ibid)
>
> As we will see below, the amazing fact is that this eruption of media hype is based on essentially nothing. Obama has had little to say about what he will do, and what he has said has been depressing for anyone hoping for genuine change. Matthew Parris summed it up in the Times:
>
> “Here we have a handsome, dashing and intelligent man, a man with generous instincts and a silver tongue; but a man with no distinctive plan for government that he has seen fit to share with us; a daring opportunist; somebody we may one day judge as a sort of Tony Blair with brains. And here we go again, all over again, hook, line and sinker.” (Matthew Parris, ’Calm down! He's not President of the World,’ The Times, November 8, 2008)
>
> The former Europe minister and arch-Blairite, Denis MacShane, also unwittingly supplied a note of caution:
>
> "I shut my eyes when I listen to this guy [Obama] and it could be Tony. He is doing the same thing that we did in 1997." (Tom Baldwin, ‘Blair team look in mirror of history,’ The Times, November 8, 2008)
>
>
> Obama And Iraq
>
> As discussed above, the media’s propaganda swamping on Obama - of which we have sampled only a fraction - is based on almost nothing at all. Tariq Ali commented on Democracy Now:
>
> “As for what the policies are going to be, the situation is pretty depressing. I mean, Obama, during his campaign, didn’t promise very much, basically talked in clichés and synthetic slogans like ‘change we can believe in.’ No one knows what that change is. In foreign policy terms, during the debates, what he said was basically a continuation of the Bush-Cheney policies. And in relation to Afghanistan, what he said was worse than McCain...” (http://www.democracynow.org/2008/11/6/president_elect_obama_and_the_future)
>
> Andrew Rawnsley wrote in the Observer:
>
> “Iraq and Afghanistan are the sharp end of the partnership between Britain and the United States. Senior members of the British government quite candidly confess: ‘We don’t have a particularly clear view about what they want to do.’“ (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/09/obama-administration...)
>
> And yet, in the face of Obama’s silence, and flat rejection of progressive policies, the media has sought to portray him as an all-new “dawn”. Thus, Jonathan Freedland wrote in his open letter to Obama:
>
> “You have promised to... end the war in Iraq.” (Freedland, ‘A few thoughts on how to handle the world's most potent political weapon,’ The Guardian, November 5, 2008)
>
> In the same newspaper, Julian Borger described Obama‘s goals: “US troops will be pulled out of Iraq in the next 16 months...” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/05/uselections2008-barackobama6)
>
> A Times leader asked: “How quickly can the United States military withdraw from Iraq?” (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article5084156.ece)
>
> We doubt any journalist on the Times actually believes Obama is intending to withdraw US troops from Iraq (in the intended meaning of the term).
>
> In the Guardian, Jonathan Steele supplied a more realistic appraisal:
>
> “... his position contains massive inconsistencies... he has not repudiated the war on terror. Rather, he insists that by focusing excessively on Iraq, the Bush administration ‘took its eye off the ball‘. The real target must be Afghanistan and if Osama bin Laden is spotted in Pakistan, bombing must be used there too.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/06/barack-obama-war-on-...)
>
> Steele commented on the number of troops Obama is planning to keep in Iraq:
>
> “Officials on his team say it could number as many as 50,000 troops. Even if much of this force remains on bases and is barely visible to Iraqi civilians (much as the 4,500 British at Basra airfield are), it cannot avoid symbolising the fact that the occupation continues.” (Ibid)
>
>
> Obama - Hawk
>
> John Pilger - who was right about Blair in 1997 and who is surely right about Obama now - also rejects the mainstream consensus:
>
> “Like all serious presidential candidates, past and present, Obama is a hawk and an expansionist. He comes from an unbroken Democratic tradition, as the war-making of presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton demonstrates.” (http://www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partid=492)
>
> Obama, after all, has supported Colombia’s "right to strike terrorists who seek safe-havens across its borders.” (http://www.newstatesman.com/media/2008/06/pilger-obama-truly-bush) He has promised to continue America’s fierce economic strangulation of Cuba. He has promised to support an “undivided Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital.
>
> In August, Obama said he would be willing to attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from the Pakistani government:
>
> “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.” (http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0132206420070801)
>
> He has also said: “We will kill Bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaida.” (http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,24464976-912,00.html)
>
> ZNet’s Michael Albert commented last week:
>
> “My guess is, sadly, that within one week, literally one week, Obama's staff and cabinet choices will make decisively evident that without mass activism forcing new outcomes, change will stop at the surface. I fervently hope I am wrong.” (Albert, ‘Obama Mania?’, ZNet, November 7, 2008)
>
> Albert appears to have been vindicated. Vice-president-elect, Joe Biden, is a pro-war Zionist. Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, helped push through NAFTA and favoured the war on Iraq. Alexander Cockburn writes of him:
>
> “He’s a former Israeli citizen, who volunteered to serve in Israel in 1991 and who made brisk millions in Wall Street. He is a super-Likudnik hawk, whose father was in the fascist Irgun in the late Forties, responsible for cold-blooded massacres of Palestinians.” (www.counterpunch.org/cockburn11072008.html)
>
> In a co-authored book, Emanuel wrote:
>
> "We need to fortify the military's ‘thin green line’ around the world by adding to the U.S. Special Forces and the Marines, and by expanding the U.S. army by 100,000 more troops.” (Ibid)
>
> Nader comments on Obama:
>
> “What he’s basically doing so far is giving the Clinton crowd a second chance. Rahm Emanuel? He’s the worst of Clinton. Spokesman for Wall Street, Israel, globalization.” (Ibid)
>
>
> Conclusion - Relaunching The Brand
>
> We are to believe that the US political system that Ralph Nader accurately describes as “a two-party dictatorship in thraldom to giant corporations,” has produced a staggeringly different, progressive individual. And yet Nader has described how he was himself locked out of the election. He was not allowed to participate in the televised debates and lack of media coverage consigned his campaign to oblivion. He wrote to Obama:
>
> “Far more than Senator McCain, you have received enormous, unprecedented contributions from corporate interests, Wall Street interests and, most interestingly, big corporate law firm attorneys... Why, apart from your unconditional vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, are these large corporate interests investing so much in Senator Obama? Could it be that in your state Senate record, your U.S. Senate record and your presidential campaign record (favoring nuclear power, coal plants, offshore oil drilling, corporate subsidies including the 1872 Mining Act and avoiding any comprehensive program to crack down on the corporate crime wave and the bloated, wasteful military budget, for example) you have shown that you are their man?” (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10809)

It is no accident that the entire media system is so fervently announcing “historic” change. The American and British political brands have been badly battered and bloodied by utter disaster in Afghanistan and Iraq, and by the fiscal chaos of the “credit crunch”. The insanity of greed-driven militarism enforcing catastrophic ‘solutions’ has become all too obvious, as has the provision of socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest of us.

And so the American political brand must be rebirthed, resold, relaunched as a fresh start under new management.

We are being put through a crash-course in “Learning to love America again,” as the Telegraph put it. (Iain Martin, ‘The election of Barack Obama,’ Daily Telegraph, November 6, 2008)

A leader in the Times on November 5 could hardly have stated the message more clearly:

“The American nation will replenish the confidence that it has lately lost. In the eyes of the world, the slate will be clean and the pretext, always spurious, for anti-Americanism has been removed.”

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