Bernie Sanders, Independent and Socialist Senator from Vermont, has just suggested it would be a good thing if President Obama had to face a primary opponent. Not that it matters much, but I agree completely. While I believe Obama has done a number of good things so far during his tenure as President, there are many things he has not done, or not done well. It has become obvious that he is much too directly connected with Wall Street and the Banks. He obviously receives much financial support from them and he equally obviously failed to investigate or prosecute their blatant wrongdoings. Much of what he has accomplished seems to me mostly cosmetic. Doing away (finally) with DADT, for example, an issue I’m pretty certain neither Wall Street nor the Banks give a damn about, nor do they care about Gay marriages or even the pro’s and con’s of abortion. Equal pay for women, while commendable, I think is also irrelevant to his “minders.” I suspect he is free to mess about with issues on the periphery as long as he doesn’t interfere with profits. His signature achievement, the Health Care Bill, left the Insurance companies still in charge and, indeed, added many new customers for them. Obama didn’t even try for a single-payer system, nor did he seriously champion any public option. Similarly, he has continued the Bush “wars,” and even added some of his own, so-called “wars” that as far as I can see serve no purpose other than keeping the military/industrial/political complex in bigger and bigger bucks. Even worse, from my perspective, is his failure to even consider investigating and potentially prosecuting the Bush/Cheney war crimes. For the past couple of years I have defended him (at least in my mind) by assuming he knows so much more than I do about what is happening and perhaps if I knew what he did it would make sense to me. But increasingly it doesn’t, and I am particularly upset over his apparent inability to negotiate anything without selling out the values that I treasure. His constant capitulation to the moronic demands of Republicans is bad enough, but his failure to curb Israeli colonialism and war crimes I simply cannot tolerate.
I not only believe he should have to face a credible opponent for the Democratic nomination, I would hope it would be a serious, well-funded, completely qualified individual who might even begin to lead a meaningful third party, a “Progressive Party” for want of another term. As it currently stands we do not in fact have two separate political parties, but merely two versions of the same bought and paid for goons who simply do the bidding of those who finance them. Our political system is so corrupt there is little hope for reform without a new and credible opposition willing to return government to the people, for the people, and by the people. As it is now, on either side of the aisle, it is government for the corporations and the wealthy and screw everyone else. It reminds me of the saying I once heard about life: “Get rich, sleep until noon, and screw ‘em all.” That seems to sum up the Republican philosophy fairly well. Failing a credible third party candidate we will be faced with the usual “Morton’s Fork,” two candidates who will both be undesirable but the only ones available. Obama has moved so far to the right as to be virtually useless to progressives or the poor and middle class, but at the same time will surely be far better than any Republican candidate. So, once again, we either vote for Obama or refuse to vote at all, thus essentially a vote for the other one, whomever he or she may turn out to be. I wait impatiently to see what new Republicans have been “called” to run and suspect that god may be running some kind of lottery up there. But seriously, if there was a well-funded, well-qualified, third party candidate, and if the current progressives in the House and Senate would quickly get on board, and with the American public in favor of such a movement (which I believe they would be), I should think a third party attempt at this time would have a real chance of success. It would also help if the candidate was an outspoken anti-war, anti-empire spokesperson (unless someone at long last could explain to us what the hell we are doing in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and so on, which at this point seems unlikely). I know it has something to do with oil, but for the money we have wasted we could easily have cornered the market for that commodity long ago.
We have just witnessed another fine example of the anti-Muslim paranoia that seems to be so common these days. The terrible explosion and shootings in Oslo were immediately assumed to be the work of Muslim terrorists, or at least people associated with al Quaida. It turns out they were apparently the work of a single right-wing anti-Muslim, a young, blond Norwegian fundamentalist (at least I think he was a fundamentalist), angry with liberals for their multiculturalism. So now what happened is not described as “terrorism” but, rather, as an example of “extremism.” It now appears that terrorism is something only engaged in by Muslims, if anyone else does it, it’s something else.