Thomas Paine could just as well have been writing about why the liberal hand-wringing "resistance" to Donald Trump is so ineffectual. What is really needed is not just a so-called Blue Wave in the congressional midterms, but a global revolution against the whole rotten global tyranny of finance capitalism. No matter that Paine was talking about the revolution against Louis XVI of France, who actually was more a weakling than true corrupt despot in the mold of his Trump-like ancestor, Louis XIV.
The "revolution" and freedom we're supposedly celebrating today was actually one group of rich men - the "Founders" - disentangling themselves from another group of rich men in Great Britain. Their aversion to taxes and their embrace of the institution of slavery, which was already well on the way to abolition in the British Empire, was at the heart of the Declaration of Independence. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would not be granted to enslaved people in America for nearly a century. And it was only granted on paper, and only for a little while, until the Jim Crow laws superseded both the "aspirational" Declaration and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
The pursuit of happiness for the owners of capital has always been contingent upon their freedom to oppress, enslave and even kill those they consider disposable. America has been at war, at one place or another, for a grand grotesque total of 223 years since the Declaration was signed in 1776. So Paine was right when he wrote:
"To establish any mode to abolish war, however advantageous it might be to nations, would be to take from such government the most lucrative of its branches."
"Each government accuses the other of perfidy, intrigue, and ambition, as a means of heating the imagination of their respective nations, and incensing them to hostilities. Man is not the enemy of man, but through the medium of a false system of government."All courts and courtiers are alike. They form a common policy (or "narrative") which is separate and detached from the rights of people and nations. It's commonly known in the US as the Duopoly, or the good cop/bad cop two party system, or perhaps even more accurately, the Duplicity.
"And while they agree to quarrel, they agree to plunder. Nothing can be more terrible to a Court or a Courtier than the Revolution....They tremble at the approach of principles, and dread the precedent that threatens their overthrow."While we don't have the hereditary succession of a monarchy, we do have an aristocracy. We do have both political and media dynasties, which have more and more consolidated power unto themselves.
And it's no accident that this American aristocracy, besides its orgy of violent wars both at home and abroad, has waged a virtual war on public education in recent years. And that is because, as Paine wrote: "The more ignorant the country, the better it is fitted for this species of Government" (of hereditary succession, or what's today euphemized as the "meritocracy" of the elites).
As we celebrate 241 years of freedom, The Duopoly is currently in a virtual storm of overreaction to the "shock" primary election of 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who unseated one of the most powerful congressional Democrats in the country. But unlike the establishment's open disdain for Bernie Sanders during his own primary battle against Hillary Clinton in 2016, they're treating Ocasio-Cortez like a comparative rock star. She's young, she's charismatic, she's attractive, and she's Latina. So the pundits are sadly unable to fall back on attacking her as too old, too white, too crabby and too sexist as they did Bernie, despite the fact that her platform is nearly identical to his. They therefore will try to celebritize her into watered-down ineffectiveness. Her "story" will outweigh the policy proposals they find so dangerous to their self-interest.
They're obviously trying to co-opt and monetize her for their own ends, inviting her on all the political talk shows and plastering her picture all over the front pages. It seems to me that they're trying to make the best of a bad (for them) situation, in hopes that her popularity will spur more disaffected young people to pull the lever for Democrats across the board in the November midterms. Once she arrives in Washington, they'll try to relegate her to the sidelines. They will definitely order her, as they do with all her fellow reps, to immediately hit the phones and fund-raise for the Party for at least half of every working day.
A prime example of this attempted co-option is a Tweet sent out Tuesday by one of Barack Obama's closest and most trusted advisers, tamping down the notion that Ocasio-Cortez is even a lefty:
Valerie JarrettVerified account @ValerieJarrettIf you need more proof of the game that is afoot, the corporate media's chief liberal Bernie Bro-basher, Paul Krugman, posted a column on Tuesday very tepidly reversing his negative position on Medicare For All and limply applauding Ocasio-Cortez, insofar that it's unfair to compare her to a Tea Partier as some of those other centrist pundits are so unfairly doing. She is a "reasonable Democratic radical" as opposed to an insanely independent radical like Bernie. In other words, Krugman is falling in Obama/Clinton/Party line, and patting her on the head. He helpfully links to her campaign website, which to his passive-aggressive satisfaction entirely omits any wonkish details of her platform. And then he sneakily equates Medicare for All with the bait-and-switch "public option" being proffered by centrist Democrats posing as progressives for purposes of re-election.
Valerie Jarrett Retweeted Alexandria Ocasio-CortezLove seeing
@Ocasio2018 define herself rather than letting others do it for her. Seems like the right North Star to meValerie Jarrett added,
So, about Ocasio-Cortez’s positions: Medicare for all is a deliberately ambiguous phrase, but in practice probably wouldn’t mean pushing everyone into a single-payer system. Instead, it would mean allowing individuals and employers to buy into Medicare – basically a big public option. That’s really not radical at all.Krugman is disingenuous, if not downright duplicitous. My published response:
Well, this piece from Paul Krugman is certainly an improvement over his nay-saying re Medicare For All around the time that Bernie Sanders was giving Hillary Clinton such a run for her Wall Street money.
Even so, there's still that lingering "but where are the details?" little dribble of cold water implicit in his defense of this good and sane and non-radical proposal. So I would suggest that anyone interested in the details visit the Physicians for a National Health Plan website for links to both Medicare For All bills now in Congress, as well as a wealth of other helpful info:
For those who still insist we must retain the austerian "pay-go" method of financing things that will help make people's lives better, Modern Monetary Theory is finally entering the mainstream. More here:
The politicians who have no qualms about mindlessly appropriating more than a trillion dollars to our endless war machine and surveillance state should absolutely be called out on their hypocrisy every time they insist that there is just no money for Single Payer or a federal jobs guarantee, or that we have to rob from the poor to pay for the poor. The politicians who spout such nonsense are in thrall to the big money interests running this show. It's high time that the tycoons of unfettered capitalism get booed off their self-serving propaganda stage.