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“Plus ça change…” We Can Believe In December 14, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in A: Roger's Original Essays, About Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Iraq and Afghanistan.
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(Photo lawanddisorder.org/2006/09/)


©Roger Hollander, 2008



 More “Plus ça change…” We Can Believe In: Update on Obama’s continuation of Bush Agenda, April 2009:

 Iraq: Obama lies to American people about total withdrawal in that he is leaving up to 50,000 combat troops but calling them by another name; paramilitaries to stay; the mega-Embassy in Baghdad to stay, military bases to stay.  Some withdrawal.


Pakistan: Obama accelerates bombing of border areas with unmanned missiles, causing numerous civilian injuries and deaths and what local officials are calling a humanitarian crisis.Pakistan


Economic Crisis: Obama’s Treasury Secretary and economic advisors are the same financial and banking industry officials (Summers, Rubin, Geithner, etc.) who are responsible for the financial disaster in the first place.  They are giving trillions of taxpayer dollars to their criminal buddies in the industry.


Labor: After gigantic welfare handouts to wall Street, Obama is set to let the auto industry go into bankruptcy, thereby wiping out workers’ pensions and virtually destroying the union.


Bush Administration Crimes: Neither Obama or his Attorney General, Eric Holder, have had the guts to go after Bush, Cheney and company for their war crimes and gross violations of the US Constitution (leaving the task to courageous Spanish Judge, Balthasar Garzon); Obama’s Justice Department has used the pernicious “state secrets” privilege (as did Bush) to protect Bush administration criminals with respect to torture and warrantless spying.


Afghanistan: Obama is timidly allowing Bush appointees, Defence Secretary Gates and General Petraeus, to call the shots on an escalation that is destined to fail, cost thousands of lives and be a major recruiting boon for the Taliban and al Qaeda.


     (here’s the original “Plus ça change…” We Can Believe In article)



“In response to questions from audience members after his formal remarks, Mr. Gates said that although the Pentagon would be sending thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan over the next months, he was ultimately worried about the size of the American presence on Afghan soil. The United States plans to add some 20,000 troops in Afghanistan in 2009.

“’I am more mindful than most that with 120,000 troops the Soviets still lost, because they never had the support of the Afghan people,’Mr. Gates said. ‘I think that after we complete these troop increases that we’re talking about, we ought to think long and hard about how many more go in.’”

These, according to a December 13, 2008 New York Times article (“Troops to Stay Longer in Iraq as Support, U.S. Says”), are the words of the Bush/Obama Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, “speaking at a conference on regional security.”

Observe that Gates takes note of the Soviet failure in Afghanistan and attributes it to their lack of support of the Afghan people.  Is there a better description of the situation as it exists for the United States in Afghanistan today (not to mention Iraq)? 

Gates tells us that he thinks we need to think “long and hard” about how many more American young men and women are sent into Afghanistan to kill and be killed in Afghanistan AFTER we send in the first batch of cannon fodder.  Apparently President-Elect Barack didn’t think that long and hard before appointing this veteran of the Iran Contra debacle and who, according to the same Times article, has served under seven U.S presidents, which makes him, of course, an expert on failed foreign policy.

It gets curiouser and curiouser, and it would be laughable but for the fact that so many hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake.

Plus ça change we can believe in.



Posted by rogerhollander in About Barack Obama, About George Bush, About War, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Iraq and Afghanistan.
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(“C’est La Guerre,” Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1988)


War on Drugs, War on Terrorism, Pre-emptive War,

Targeted Assassination, the Bush Doctrine:



Soon-to-be-President Obama:



“Well, maybe not such a quick withdrawal from Iraq


after all.”


“Send more to kill and die in Afghanistan.”







My Ideal Cabinet and Congressional Leadership November 21, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in A: Roger's Original Essays, About Barack Obama, Political Commentary.
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I have posted this under “political commentary,” but many, I suppose, will argue it should have been posted under “humor.”

Chief of Staff: Ralph Nader

Secretary of State: Noam Chomsky

Secretary of Defense: Cindy Sheehan

Attorney General: Ramsay Clark (my first choice would have been the Spanish Judge, Baltazar Garzon, he who tried to prosecute Pinochet, and I see nothing in the Constitution to prevent a Spanish citizen being Attorney General; but I don´t want anyone to think I am being frivoulous here).

Environment: Al Gore (who else?)

Homeland Security (I would abolish this position, but if it stays my choice would be Robert F. Kennedy Jr.)

Senate Leader: Barbara Boxer

House Leader: Dennis Kucinich

Dog Catcher: Joe Lieberman

Secretary of the “Interior”: Joe the Plumber

CIA: Bill Ayers

Surgeon General: Jocelyn Elder (bring her back!)

If you have Obama´s ear, I would appreciate your passing this on to him.  He´s going to need some sound advice from those who elected him (as opposed to the Party establishment).

What if Obama Had Lost? Did He Have a Concession Speech Ready? November 5, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in About Barack Obama, U.S. Election 2008.
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Either Obama was going to win, or there were going to be riots.  Here is one of the articles describing the kinds of preparations police were making in serveral US urban centers.

article imagePolice Nationwide Bracing for Possible Civil Unrest on Election Night


African Americans and other minorities voted overwhelmingly for Obama.  The Black vote was probably over 90%.  White America did not elect Barack Obama, they would have preferred McCain/Palin.  We should not forget that.  It is a scary statistic.

If McCain had won, it was common wisdom that this would have to had been a result of massive electoral fraud.  The presidency was stolen in 2000 and 2004.  There was no reason — perhaps apart from Obama’s large lead in the polls (although even there there were discrepancies) — to believe it couldn’t happen again.

Imagine a McCain victory and riots in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Newark, Detroit, etc.  There can be no doubt (or can there?) that Obama would be on the air urging the rioters (insurgents?) to cease and desist.  But what could he promise them other than eight more years of White racist neo-Fascist rule?

Thankfully, as we celebrate this historic moment, we do not have to live that imagined nightmare.

Obama, Yes, a Thousand Times Yes, of Course, But … October 29, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in About Barack Obama, U.S. Election 2008.
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© Roger Hollander, October 29, 2008


In 1964 I worked full time on the Johnson/Humphrey campaign, motivated in a large part by the hawkishness of Barry Goldwater vis-à-vis Vietnam.  We elected Lyndon Johnson, and he proceeded to escalate the War beyond our wildest nightmare.


That was the last time I bothered to vote in a presidential election until 2004, when the prospect of a second Bush term was so unthinkable that even the notion of supporting the candidate for the latter day Democratic Party of Clinton and Bush Democrats did not come close to overriding my fear of such an outcome.  We all know the outcome.


My absentee ballot for Obama/Bidden was in the mail some time ago, going to the key state of Pennsylvania.  The thought of a McCain/Palin victory is so beyond the pale that even as the democratic socialist that I am, who sees a fatally truncated democracy in play in capitalist America, I find myself as close to praying for an Obama victory as an agnostic can get.


But …


Let’s keep things in perspective.  Eight years of Cheney/Bush (yes, in that order) has moved the country so far in the direction of patriarchal militarized fascism, that even a moderate like Barack Obama appears to be nothing less than a Saviour.


I am aware that Obama is generally considered to be a Liberal Democrat.  Labels aside, the country has so drifted (drifted like an avalanche) to the right that our political perceptions tend to be somewhat skewed.  We have seen, for example, candidate Obama shifting away from his original audacity (unconditional dialogue with Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea), as mild as it was, towards today’s apparently obligatory Republocrat hard line orthodoxy.  He wants to take the troops out of Iraq and send them into the Afghanistan quagmire.  You will not hear Obama utter the phrase that classically came from the lips of Dwight David Eisenhower in his farewell address: military industrial complex.


I would like to believe that an Obama presidency would begin to dismantle militarized armed-to-the-teeth America, but I have seen nothing in him to suggest that he either understands the need or has the intention.  I would like to believe that an Obama presidency would take on the health insurance industry and give us genuine universal health care on a single payer basis (a la Canada), but I do not see that coming either.  I would like to believe that an Obama presidency would genuinely take on Wall Street, the Banks, the corporate media, and re-negotiate NAFTA out of existence, but I don’t see that happening either.  Do you? 


[I hope I will be proved wrong.]


Nonetheless I do not discount the Obama “phenomenon.”  Tom Hayden said that he doesn’t necessarily endorse Obama, but he does the Obama Movement.  I have predicted all along that President Obama will provoke profound disappointment amongst his most committed followers; that he has raised expectations that he cannot possibly fulfill.  This is good.  Other good things coming out of an Obama presidency should include more balanced judicial appointments, an end to know-nothing anti-environmentalism, reversing the scandalous tax cuts to the rich, and perhaps a breather from the attacks on Roe v. Wade. 


Of course, electing its first Afro-American president, something that would have been inconceivable not that many years ago, will be of enormous moral and political significance in a country whose original constitution considered African slaves as nothing more than chattel property.


Will an Obama presidency and a Democratic Congress hold the Cheney/Bush gang accountable for their various crimes?  I seriously doubt it.  Presidential lying about extra marital sex?  Yes.  Taking the country to war based on conscious lies?  Ask Nancy Pelosi.


Nevertheless, no sane, informed, intelligent and good willed American will do other than vote for Obama/Bidden.  As I stated earlier, I have already.  The level of disaster that will result from a McCain/Palin victory is almost beyond imagination.


But let’s consider that possibility (shudder).  My thesis is that the only way McCain can win at this point is by again stealing the election via electoral fraud and voter disenfranchisement, as the current incumbent did in 2000 and 2004.  In such circumstances, how will the Obama Movement react?  With the same relative passivity as in the previous two stolen elections?  I doubt it, but I don’t foresee the possibility of a reversed outcome or anything resembling an uprising.  And we should not forget that to deal with whatever dissent and civil disobedinece that may be mounted against a stolen election, Bush/McCain will be armed with the Military Commissions Act, which in effect gives the president carte blanche to detain without habeas corpus.


If contemplating such a possibility doesn’t keep you up at night and get you out to the polls on November 4, I don’t know what will.