I'm a Common Ills community member since March 2005. I've been talking about starting a site but never did and then this week approached. That's when TCI was supposed to go dark.
C.I.'s not sure how long it will continue and says "maybe six months, maybe more" but that was my excuse in July for not starting, "Everyone's about to go dark." So while they're still up, I want to do my part and start my site.
Thanks to C.I. for talking me through on this.
Not really sure what to write or sure of much of anything.
Background. I'm 28. I'm African-American. My name is Stan.
Marcia's the person who introduced me to The Common Ills. We're distant cousins. Like cousin of a cousin of a . . . sort of thing. And we met for the first time about ten years ago at a big family reunion with a bunch of family none of us knew. We took up an entire convention center.
How'd I end up meeting her among all those people? Someone was acting the fool.
Someone was acting the fool, fanning herself and acting like it was the end of the world over a death from three months before and that's the short version. (Long version includes the woman was never married to the man but her sister was.) Anyway, I didn't know the woman and was rolling my eyes when I hear someone say, "Oh, give it up already." That's Marcia and she's about two or three feet from me. I grin at her and nod and she nods back.
Despite having the entire convention center, there was no room at the tables. I end up in a corner eating in a chair with my plate on my lap and Marcia and her folks came up and ate with me.
So that's how I met my distant cousin Marcia.
We usually e-mail and we also call a lot too. She's the one who said, "Check out The Common Ills!" And I did. Best site online.
So she started her site at the end of January and I kept thinking, "That sounds like fun. " But put off starting mine and only thought seriously about it around April and really serious around July. I know it was also a pain in the rear to do so I'm not expecting it to be a breeze.
Hope that gives you an idea about me. I'm not sure how often I will blog but I'll try to figure that out by the next time I do.
If I do this right, I'm ending with C.I.'s "Iraq snaphot:"
Wednesday, November 5, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the empire gets a new ruler, Nouri al-Maliki claims credit, the treaty remains stalled, Iraqis are far from overwhelmed and more.
Yesterday the US elected a new ruler for the empire, War Hawk Barack Obama. David A. G. Fischer (Dissident Voice) reports on an election night panel independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader took part in:
He goes on to contrast his campaign with that of Obama as not having any hoopla, hope or rhetoric; Ralph continues to campaign on the real issues affecting the people in spite of overwhelming odds -- he is a champion despite Obama's victory.
Along the same line and with applause, his lack of hoopla and rhetoric is still so out-of-sync with the media cartel's disinformation campaign that he was once again ignored by the mainstream. What we have here is a man who refuses to sell out and complacently surrender to the status quo, he is a man based on strong principle who perceives reality for what it is -- a sham directed by the controlling institutions of power, of which Obama is just another cog in their finely-tuned machine.
But what do we really know about Mr. Barack Obama? Here we have a candidate who received hundreds of millions in campaign donations by corporate America and Wall Street. Nader sensibly asks something I've pointed out many times, "Why are the corporations investing in Obama?" By looking at his voting record it is obvious who he supports with approbation for illegal surveillance, a permanent presence in Iraq with a potential spread to neighboring countries, offshore drilling which he used to be against, an economic bailout lacking oversight and transparency, and so forth. Where is this great change that he has been spewing forth to the public for the past twenty months? It is likely just more of what the public wants to hear, but it's apparent by voter turnout that they fail to feel the hot air blowing by them.
Part of the problem with Obama, as Nader points out, is that while Obama is pulled to the right by the corporate establishment, there are no demands being put on him by organized groups such as labor and unions to pull him the other direction and thus "make him better."
Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) notes this refusal to make demands on Barack as well:
We have learned that Black politicians and activist-poseurs have an infinite capacity to celebrate not having engaged in struggle with Power, and that the Black masses can be made drunk by the prospect of vicariously (through Obama) coming to power. Having failed to make even the mildest of demands on Obama in return for unquestioning support, Black misleadership vowed they would press for firm commitments on issues of importance to African Americans once Obama had passed the final hurdle. (White progressives who were similarly self-neutered during the campaign also promise to begin acting like real people's advocates, any day now...just you wait and see.) We have already learned that "Progressives for Obama" of all ethnicities, who failed to put pressure on the candidate early on, when it might have made a difference, are full of crap.
Yes, they are full of crap. Including the Agency-fronted political closet case who has already shown up with a pep-talk about how the economic crisis is a good thing, a really, really good thing! Those in the closet politically might want to check their language so they don't expose themselves by accident. But lets' move to the economy. The San Francisco Business Times observes, "A day after the United States made history by electing Barack Obama president, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 486 points Wednesday, ending at 9,139.27." The Phoenix Business Journal notes that news as well: "The election is over and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has taken a dive of nearly 500 points." No, there was no magical 'cure' nor was there going to be. Any zowie-wowie article on the election today notes in cautionary tales how things will have to be scaled back or dropped. That's your preparation for expecting nothing from the man who promised even less. Larry Pinkney (Information Clearing House) offers a list of things to expect:
In relative short order - inside the United States itself - under a Barack Obama presidency, the living conditions of the majority of Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples will continue to steadily and massively deteriorate while the corporate Wall Street barons prolong their glut of the every day people's finances, resources, hopes, and dreams. Under an Obama presidency those non Blacks who stand in opposition to Barack Obama's de facto pro Wall Street backers and their blood-sucking policies will be branded as racists and traitors, while those Blacks who oppose Obama's policies will be ignored and/or branded as fringe radicals and traitors. Thus, the horrors of the U.S. Empire will continue unabated, and in many respects, under Barack Obama, actually worsen. The blame for the deteriorating economy and continued war will of course quickly be laid by the Obama / Biden regime and the Democratic Party Republicrats on the previous Bush / Cheney regime, despite the fact that it was the complicity of the Democratic Party itself with the Bush / Cheney Republican Republicrat regime that facilitated the despicable policies and practices of the Bush / Cheney regime. The fact is that the Democratic and Republican Parties are de facto Republicrats with the objective of exploiting the majority of people and maintaining U.S. Empire abroad.
After the Democratic Party Republicrats so-called election euphoria and celebrating is over, the Obama / Biden Republicrat regime will get down to the business of placing the ongoing exploitation of the every day people of this nation on fast track. The masses of Black Americans, along with the oppressed and exploited Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples of this nation will learn first hand that, notwithstanding the deceptive Obama rhetoric, exploitation nationally and internationally will be intensified. The "clash between those who want freedom, justice, equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation" about which Malcolm X referred, will be intensified under Barack Obama, with Obama representing the interests of the oppressors. The political contradictions in this regard will also be increasingly obvious.
Those so-called leftist and progressives who were and are collaborators with U.S. Empire will, for a time, try to pretend that their support of Barack Obama was not a sell out, and that they simply need more time to persuade the U.S. Empire's colored corporate emperor to do the right thing. Meanwhile, Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples will be enduring an unprecedented rate of economic and social suffering. The anger of the people will ultimately peak and explode, as a result of having bought into false hope and raised expectations. This is precisely why the U.S. corporate government has already made military contingency plans to contain and massively quash dissention within the United States. Barack Obama will serve to provide his corporate / military masters with colored political cover for political repression in this nation; and he will have already provided a small respite of wiggling room for them in this regard. Nevertheless, as brutal reality forces the proverbial scales of blindness to drop from eyes of the masses, it will become crystal clear that the supposed "change" to which Barack Obama referred in his campaign rhetoric, was nothing more than a vicious ruse of double-speak by him, backed by his corporate and military handlers. Indeed, the emperor will be shown to "have no clothes." But what of the fate of millions of Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples inside the U.S.? How many horrible sacrifices will have been, and will yet need to be made by the people in order to get the boot of economic blood-sucking and political repression off their / our necks?
Emperor Barack gave his victory speech in Chicago. Gary Leupp (Dissident Voice) decodes it:
"And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand."
In other words: Don't worry, world. The bad old days of George Bush are over.
"To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you."
In other words: Under my administration we Americans will continue to simplistically conceptualize the existence of an enemy that is pure evil and wants to destroy the world, and imagine we can "defeat" it through the War on Terror.
Exit polls demonstrate that the economy was the number one issue, ahead of the illegal war. Going unnoticed is how Iraq was taken off the table by All Things Media Big and Small. When the faux activists of CODESTINK are protesting Wall St. -- not for the war machinery they manufacture and sell but over the economic meltdown -- and Jodi's given everything but her uterus to Barack's campaign, don't pretend anyone's being encouraged to give a damn about ending the Iraq War. To really ensure that it be a non-issue, did someone else take it off the table? Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) reports that Nouri al-Maliki is claiming to "close aides" that he gave the election to Barack because "he took the Iraqi issue 'off the table' for Obama by endorsing his timetable during his visit to Baghdad in July." Don't be too angry with al-Maliki, CIA assets tend to face very violent rub-outs when they've exhuasted their usefulness and al-Maliki's pretty much squeezed out. al-Maliki reportedly believes he can get further concessions from Barack on the treaty between the White House and the puppet government. At the US State Dept today, Sean McCormack was asked about the treaty and the spokesperson stated that the US has not yet responded (officially) to the amendments suggested by Iraq and that US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will convey communications to al-Maliki. As for whether the amendments will fly or not, McCormack declared, "Well, again, I go back to what -- you know, what I've said and what Dana Perino has said over at the White House in terms of the bar for any changes. You know, it's a pretty high bar for any changes. But again, we'll take a look at what is suggested. We're formulating our responses. The Iraqis took some time to think through what they wanted to provide us by way of comments, and we're taking our time in providing that response back to them."
One thing Ambassador Crocker already conveyed to the Iraqi government was, "While this historic election has changed a great many things, we will also have full continuity of policy and purpose as we move through our transition." NPR's Corey Flintoff (All Things Considered) reported that today and on the reaction of Iraqis to the election results with Abu Osama stating, "We don't know whether he'll change now that he's elected" and
Rana Sa'ad Diyab stating she's not seen any improvements in six years and "she'll wait and see whether Obama's policies bring any changes in security or her family's standard of living, but she doubts that will happen." Hameed Kamil Hilal tells Leila Fadel and Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers), "We have seen nothing positive from any American president, and McCain and Obama are two faces of one coin, one policy." Meanwhile Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times of London) explains that it's not just Iraqis who are doubtful that any 'change' will take place, "On Iraq, the Illinois senator campaigned on a pledge to remove US combat troops within sixteen months, but some military officers privately argue that he will show more flexibility on timing after assuming responsibility for the war started by George W. Bush."
In some of today's reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing where the driver killed him/herself and 4 people with nine more wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing where three people were wounded and a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed 1 life with three more wounded.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 police officers shot dead in Mosul.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Mosul Tuesday night and, also Tuesday night, 2 corpses discovered outside of Kirkuk.
In peace news, Cindy Sheehan ran for the US Congress from California's 8th district. She lost to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday. While others tried to hop a bandwagon and refused to challenge Democrats, Cindy had the strength to stand up. At Information Clearing House she shares her thoughts:
This past month, I kept on saying to my supporters, staff, interns, volunteers and myself, that no matter what happened on November 4th that we could hold our heads up high and be very proud of our campaign. Until yesterday, I wasn't sure that what I said would be true, but I feel an incredibly sense of peace and pride in our accomplishments. There were so many victories over the last year that the American paradigm of "winner-take all" just doesn't fit.
We moved into San Francisco a little over a year ago with less than nothing. We used savings and credit cards to open our office and sometimes to keep it open. We transformed a former "sex shop" to a fully functioning and vibrant campaign office. Our "natural base" never materialized, so we had to build a foundation in less than a few months.
In August, we historically gained ballot access as only the 6th independent campaign in California history to do so. Our platform based on humane economics was in place long before the recent collapses and resultant bailouts. Our labor platform was hailed all over the world, while unions here in SF supported the corporate "rescuer" Nancy Pelosi.
Cindy for Congress never once sold out our solid principles based campaign and would never sell out the voters of San Francisco like Nancy Pelosi has. Nancy Pelosi ran from my campaign and our demands to debate me and we persevered and did so amazingly well after a near total media black out and several attempts at political intimidation.
We got to the end of this stage with a barrel full of integrity and a boatload of dedication and love. Dozens of activists came from all over the country to be here to help us spread our progressive, peace based message and thousands donated to help keep our campaign afloat.
We have moved right through November 4th because this is a movement for peace and against corporate control of our political system. Movements can't stop, we must keep moving.