Catching up with Noam

I do not like the idea of privatizing what is in the public domain.

I am for instance against privatizing our schools and Social Security.  I think that is a rip-off.  One leads to teaching for profits and even more brainwashing of American students.  The other would lead to the greatest transference of wealth in the history of man, from regulation by the U.S. government to manipulation by Wall Street bankers.

It was not until I watched today the documentary, “Noam Chomsky:  Rebel Without A Pause,” that I considered another black star against privatization.   According to Chomsky, sometimes referred to as the rock star of intellectuals even now at age 84, it is a way our government and particularly the right-wing of America tries to control us, its citizens.

“It is,” Chomsky says, “part of an effort to break down human solidarity and sympathy.”

Divide and conquer, promote selfishness is the idea here.

Take schools.  Chomsky says privatization encourages us to focus on our children, not someone else’s child from, say, across the street or in another part of town.  Why, then, should we pay taxes to educate someone we don’t care about?

Privatizing Social Security is much the same.  Worry only about our nest egg.  Why should we pay into a system that helps others, even those who are destitute and ill?

If we the millions care nothing about others, we are at the mercy of the few, the controllers.

I am many long years behind on Chomsky.  But I figure it is better to catch up with his ideas now than never.


Here’s a flash: It was George Bush, not Obama, who nailed Bin Laden

We now know the right-wing marching orders for discrediting President Obama’s role in the assassination yesterday of Osama bin Laden.  Those “talking points” come straight from the king of right-wing propaganda, Rush Limbaugh.  Limbaugh said this morning on his radio show that Obama deserves credit only for following the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush.   In addition Limbaugh attacked the President for exaggerating his role in the planning and the decision to kill the perpetrator of 9/11.

Listening, you got the sense that what is great news to most Americans is disappointing to the Limbaugh bunch. 

Obama, Limbaugh said, should be congratulated on “continuing the Bush policies in the Mideast.”    Obama “deserves credit for not disassembling them.”   Translation:  President Obama’s chief role in the Bin Laden operation was to step aside and allow those old Bush policies to do their work.   George Bush’s fingerprints were all over the corpse of Bin Laden. Not Obama’s, the mere bystander.

The truth is that Bush policies had little to do with bringing Bin Laden “to justice, ” as President Obama described it, and putting an end to America’s secret shame.   

In fact it was Bush policies that turned America’s focus away from Bin Laden, cooking the books on WMD and starting a tragic and unnecessary war in Iraq.  It was Bush who said at news conference in March of 2002 in regard to Bin Laden:  “I truly am not concerned about him.”  Now it is time for Limbaugh to rewrite history. 

In truth it was President Obama who never forgot, who returned focus where it should’ve been after 9/11.  On Bid Laden.  A war in Iraq could wait but didn’t.  Bush should’ve taken care of business in Afghanistan, in Tora Bora, at all costs.  But he did not.    And going along with that decision, even promoting it, was Limbaugh and his crowd. 

It was this President, Obama, who said even before the election in 2008 that he would consider going after Bin Laden on Pakistani soil if need be, with permission or without.  His mind was already on the correct target.  Obama has his faults, but at this moment in history he was focused on resolving America’s shame.  To let someone attack our country and not pay, it was unthinkable.  President Obama was focused and made a courageous decision, a decision George Bush failed to make and thus failed the American people. 

Limbaugh also continued the old attack  on President Obama’s character, portraying him as a megalomaniac, a delusional figure infatuated with his power and god-like qualities.   To prove his point, Limbaugh and his staff parsed President Obama’s Sunday night speech this way:  The President used the word “I” 10 times, “me” three times, “mine” five times and “my” three times.  Limbaugh said facetiously over and over how Obama “single-handedly” was the one who nailed Bin Laden, doing everything alone but firing the killing shot. 

If this was megalomania what is to be made of George Bush “piloting” a jet onto the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 after U.S. forces deposed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein,  strutting in his talor-made flight suit to the podium to make his speech and proclaiming “Mission Accomplished”?    

You can bet had the Bin Laden mission failed on Sunday, Limbaugh and the right would have screeched and blamed no one else but President Obama.  With the Limbaugh crowd Obama is damned any way you cut it.

One of the great things about America is that everyone has a right to speak out  That means it is Limbaugh’s right to distort truths, even to tell  lies.   The sad thing is that not only do so many Americans on the loopy right  listen to these untruths, but they actually believe them and treat them as gospel.   Limbaugh, despite what he says, in no way searches for truth.  The search is always for the political edge.

For the rest of us, it’s a great day to be an American.  Fly those flags, baby.  The exuberance, the spontaneous celebrations that popped up last night after the news that Bin Laden was finally killed, and killed by American soldiers, was in their own way a denunciation of Bush’s policies and visions for America. He and his neo-con brethern did not understand the shame most of us felt, or worse, did not care.   Beneath our festive mood is a relief that, despite the soured economy, we can at last do something right.

Hopefully, those dark years of the Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld era are receding.  For me, they can not recede fast enough.

`Pudd’nhead’ Obama?

Color me confused. 

I was listening last night on the car radio to one of those ultra-right wing propaganda radio shows, Savage Nation.  The host, Michael Savage, was ranting as usual about our “radical” president, Barrack Obama.  In so doing, he brought up a short novel of Mark Twain’s called “Pudd’nhead Wilson.”  That’s when I lost the thread.

Savage began describing, even reading from, one of the scenes in the book’s first chapter.  It was the part about “half”  the dog. 

David Wilson, a young lawyer from New York, had just arrived in the small Mississippi River town of Dawson’s Landing, “a slaveholding town” somewhere south of  St. Louis, Twain wrote.

In a joke to locals about the howling, unseen animal, Wilson said he wished he owned half of that dog.  In that case, he would kill his half.  That threw the locals for a loop.  How could you kill half a dog without killing all of it?  After long debate, they decided Wilson was a fool and began to call him Pudd’nhead. Savage’s take was that Obama was like Wilson.  “Pudd’nhead Obama,” Savage said.  Or a fool.

But why would Savage say that?  By the end of the book, Wilson is vindicated and it was proven the locals were the pudd’nheads, not he.  Why then would Savage in essence compliment Obama as being a purveyor of anything good? 

It is possible Savage and his staff had never read the book and did not know how it ended.  But it is also possible, maybe even probable, that they had and lifted only part of the story to fit what Savage wanted to say.   Why?  Perhaps to say, see, even a famous author like Twain thinks as we do, that “outsiders” like Obama are bad for America.  Confusing, I admit.

And to pick a book like `Pudd’nhead Wilson’ that is clearly an indictment of slavery and the harm it did to all, whites and blacks alike?  It goes against my understanding of what the loony right wing is all about.  It goes against what I think they want.  An all-white society.  Revolution.  Secession from the union.  Another Civil War.

What Savage does, what Limbaugh and Hannity do too, is called propaganda.  They do it like Pravda and TASS did it.  Smoke and mirrors.  A little fact here, a little fact there.  But in toto, a huge lie.

Anyway, what I’m wondering is this.  Could it be, if we’re extrapolating modern characters from Twain’s fictitious ones, could the invisible dog that, as Twain put it, “began to yelp and snarl and howl and make himself very comprehensively disagreeable,”  could that dog be seen as Michael Savage?