Sucker bait or the politics of smoke and mirrors By William Bowles

3 December 2008

To say that I’m amazed at all those liberal/lefties who claim that somehow Barack Obama has ‘deserted’ them is somewhat of an understatement. Amazed? Gobsmacked would be closer to the truth. But then it points to a political system based not on politics but on personalities and glib, throwaway lines geared to a populace who have been kept not only ignorant of the facts but raised on a diet of throwaway one-liners.

“He’s suckered himself into believing that we need a bipartisan foreign and military policy.”‘With Gates, Obama Opts for Empire’ By Matthew Rothschild

Oh really? Does Barack Obama really decide policy? Who is being suckered here? For that matter did George Bush decide policy? We’re talking about a ruling class who will do anything to hold on to power. But we’ve been fooled into thinking that a president or prime minister actually decides policy, but policy is something that stretches into the dim and distant past, it’s part of a continuum of action the basis of which stems from over-arching economic and political strategies that literally span the generations.

Or, Jeremy Scahill’s “The people do matter! (Why no anti-war appointment?)”. Why not indeed?

As Danny Schecter says over at MediaChannel:

“The assembly of Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Susan Rice and Joe Biden is a kettle of hawks with a proven track record of support for the Iraq war, militaristic interventionism, neoliberal economic policies and a worldview consistent with the foreign policy arch that stretches from George HW Bush’s time in office to the present.”

Danny, it stretches back as far as the Spanish-American War, but okay, you’ve made your point.

So who is kidding who here? What on Earth led anyone to believe that Barack Obama promised anyone, anything, aside that is from the vacuous ‘change’ meme? Does anyone really believe that the ruling political class would select anyone remotely recognizable as progressive? Get real folks!

Yes, we’re all glad that Bush is gone but his policies and those of the class he represents are still firmly in place. Dammit, they’re still being administered by the same people! This is wishful and deluded thinking on a massive scale.

But to give it all a gloss of 21st century thinking Obama has tapped into the MySpace generation, so it’s to be government by the Web through the Web, well at least that’s the illusion that’s been created by Obama’s ‘wired’ advisors:

“One effort aiming to give Obama’s millions of grassroots supporters post-election input into the 2009 leadership in DC is “Ideas for Change in America” from and MySpace. The effort launched November 24.

“Visitors to either or MySpace can submit ideas on specific public policy areas, such as energy, the environment, and gay rights, as well as vote on their favorite ideas. The initiative will create a list of top 10 and top 100 ideas, which will be presented to an Obama administration representative prior to inauguration day, January 20, 2009, and supported by grassroots lobbying efforts by various partners, including Public Citizen and People for the American Way.

“With traditional grassroots lobbying, you get contacted maybe once to take some specific action or contribute money,” said founder and CEO Ben Rattray. “This keeps people actively and continually involved? The partners can leverage [their] existing resources with lobbying in Congress.”” The News Dissector

Imagine if you will that one of the Top Ten Ideas is immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan or throwing all those bankers in jail, or perhaps throwing Bush and his murderous gangster accomplices in jail. Dream on folks, this is more smoke and mirrors and if it runs true to form, the mere act of ‘having a say’ will be sufficient to assuage those who think they might have been suckered.

Now when it comes to fooling the people pretty well all the time, the Brits have got it down. This is how it works:

A Tory government is elected, it screws up trying to do things the electorate ain’t too keen on like abolish the National Health Service so a Labour government gets elected and just because it’s Labour it gets to do all the things the Tories couldn’t do just because they were Tory. It’s brilliant and that’s exactly what the Obama administration is already doing, but because he’s a ‘nice guy’, he’ll get away with it, again. It’s called revolving door democracy, you go in one door as a reactionary and come out another as a progressive but still pushing the same policies only they’re dressed up in different clothes.

So Labour gets to privatize the National Health Service only it does it through the back door with a lot of guff about ‘choice’, like I care if I get operated on by one surgeon as opposed to another. I mean, think about it, either you get the right treatment or you don’t, choice has nothing to do with it.

Effectively, it’s the commercialization of the political process, ‘democracy’ reduced to an advertizing campaign, ‘new and improved, contains the miracle ingredient Obamatron™, the result of years of research by our dedicated scientists.’ Too true, the decision to select Obama as the snake oil salesman for capitalism was made many years ago.

But then it stands to reason that a population immersed in a culture of consumption and reared on a diet of television adverts promising paradise here on earth if only we bought the latest and the greatest, find nothing amiss with the idea of a candidate who actually offered nothing of substance, nothing except the chance to dream of what might be possible. But then that’s the stuff of advertizing or as John Berger put it in ‘Ways of Seeing’, ‘the fantasy of the skin, the fantasy of the faraway place, the fantasy of being somebody else.’

The really scary thing about this process is what will happen if and when people realize that they’ve been played for suckers, their dreams, desires and especially their fears and insecurities exploited in order to preserve a way of life that is destroying the planet.

3 thoughts on “Sucker bait or the politics of smoke and mirrors By William Bowles

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