(replaced video Mar. 19, 2018)
Steeper33 on Aug 13, 2009
August 12, 2009
Updated: added the transcript
The clever young man who recently made it to the White House is a very fine hypnotist, partly because it is so extraordinary to see an African-American at the pinnacle of power in the land of slavery. However, this is the 21st century, and race — together with gender and even class — can be very seductive tools of propaganda. For what matters, above race and gender, is the class one serves.
George Bush’s inner circle — from the State Department to the Supreme Court — was perhaps the most multi racial in presidential history. It was PC par excellence. Think Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. It was also the most reactionary.
To many, Obama’s very presence in the White House reaffirms the moral nation. He is a marketing dream. Like Calvin Klein or Benetton, he is a brand that promises something special — something exciting, almost risqué, as if he might be a radical, as if he might enact change. He makes people feel good. He’s postmodern man with no political baggage.
In his book, Dreams From My Father, Obama refers to the job he took after he graduated from Columbia University in 1983. He describes his employer as “a consulting house to multinational corporations.” For some reason, he does not say who his employer was or what he did there. The employer was Business International Corporation, which has a long history of providing cover for the CIA with covert action, and infiltrating unions and the left. I know this because it was especially active in my own country, Australia.
Obama does not say what he did at Business International; and there may be nothing sinister, but it seems worthy of enquiry, and debate, surely, as a clue to whom the man is.
During his brief period in the Senate, Obama voted to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He voted for the Patriot Act. He refused to support a bill for single-payer health care. He supported the death penalty. As a presidential candidate, he received more corporate backing than John McCain. He promised to close Guantanamo as a priority and has not. Instead, he has excused the perpetrators of torture, reinstated the infamous military commissions, kept the Bush gulag intact and opposed habeus corpus.
Daniel Ellsberg was right when he said that, under Bush, a military coup had taken place in the United States, giving the Pentagon unprecedented powers. These powers have been reinforced by the presence of Robert Gates, a Bush family crony and George W. Bush’s secretary of defense, and by all the Bush Pentagon officials and generals who have kept their jobs under Obama.
In Colombia, Obama is planning to spend $46 million on a new military base that will support a regime backed by death squads and further the tragic history of Washington’s intervention in Latin America.
In a pseudo event staged in Prague, Obama promised a world without nuclear weapons to a global audience mostly unaware that America is building new tactical nuclear weapons designed to blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional war. Like George Bush, he used the absurdity of Europe threatened by Iran to justify building a missile system aimed at Russia and China.
In a pseudo event at the Annapolis Naval Academy, decked with flags and uniforms, Obama lied that the troops were coming home. The head of the army, General George Casey, says America will be in Iraq for up to a decade; other generals say fifteen years. Units will be relabeled as trainers; mercenaries will take their place. That is how the Vietnam War endured past the American “withdrawal”.
Chris Hedges, author of Empire of Illusion puts it well. “President Obama,” he wrote, “does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of how they can make you feel.” And so you are kept in “a perpetual state of childishness.” He calls this “junk politics.”
from the archives:
Power, Illusion, and America’s Last Taboo by John Pilger (full video and transcript)