“Democracy Uprising” in the U.S.A.?: Noam Chomsky on Wisconsin’s Resistance to Assault on Public Sector, the Obama-Sanctioned Crackdown on Activists, and the Distorted Legacy of Ronald Reagan
World-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky discusses several domestic issues in the United States, including the protests in defense of public sector employees and unions in Wisconsin, how the U.S. deification of former President Ronald Reagan resembles North Korea, and the crackdown on political activists with anti-terror laws and FBI raids. [includes rush transcript]
You’re not going to like this. You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. But in this case, someone’s got to.
On the 100th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, as we suffer a week of Reagan-kitcheria and pukey peons, let us remember:
Reagan was a con-man. Reagan was a coward. Reagan was a killer.
In 1987, I found myself stuck in a crappy little town in Nicaragua named Chaguitillo. The people were kind enough, though hungry, except for one surly young man. His wife had just died of tuberculosis.
On February 3, 2011, three days before the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan, one of the AOL News headlines went: “Why We Still Love the Gipper.” It led to a lengthy gush by one of the well-known Reagan hagiographers, Lou Cannon (can Peggy Noonan be far behind?). It does seem appropriate, doesn’t it, that the headline reference to the man who began the full-blown development of the modern Republican Alternate Reality that has now almost completely taken over the GOP is not to the man himself, but to a fictional character that he played in the movies. It would seem appropriate then at this time to return to a theme that I have dealt with before: who was the real Ron Reagan (the Elder)?
Wikileaks, the United States, Sweden, and Devil’s Island
December 16 … I’m standing in the snow in front of the White House … Standing with Veterans for Peace … I’m only a veteran of standing in front of the White House; the first time was February 1965, handing out flyers against the war in Vietnam. I was working for the State Department at the time and my biggest fear was that someone from that noble institution would pass by and recognize me.
Why? “Well,” as the first political figure discussed in the Commentary, Ronald Reagan, would say, it comes down to three letters. But I’m afraid that you will have to read down to the end to see what they are.
While President, Ronald Reagan did the following:
Firmly established racism as the center of the modern Republican electoral strategy, confirming that the Nixon “Southern Strategy” of 1968 would be permanently ensconced there;
Firmly established anti-choice as the Republican position of choice in the matter of belief as to when life begins;
Where was Peggy Noonan in the 1980s? Because that’s what I was left wondering after reading her recent column in the Murdoch penny dreadful, the Wall Street Journal. The man whose syntax she penned, was perhaps the most integral player in our current state of national disrepair. If you crush the unions, eschew “low value” manufacturing jobs, pursue military Keynesianism, gut regulations of every sort and variety, redistribute wealth upward, and in general get the referees out of the way for the Fortune 500 and private enterprise; what result do you expect to get from that sort of a scenario? Ms. Noonan I hope you didn’t believe all that tripe that old Ronnie spewed to the American public. Don’t you know that was just for the benefit of all of those special interests, and profoundly corrupted individuals and organizations that raised him up there as their spokesperson? I would have thought you were in on the hoodwinking? The wool-over-the-eye-pulling? One of the principle players in the “illustrious” flimflam? Apparently the joke was on you though, Ms. Noonan, because I’m not sure what you thought “Reaganosophy” was all about.
Who cares that millions of children are suffering and dying around the world, in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Gaza, Sudan, the Congo, Colombia, and Mexico, and in the United States?
Why are American voters only given the choice of voting for members of the political, social and economic elite to be their president, rather than for leaders who care for and identify with the needs of ordinary people?
Do presidential candidates supplant their empathy with loyalty to the ruling elites, or do the elites only select pliable candidates with an absence of empathy?
Representative Patrick McHenry, a Republican appropriately enough of North Carolina, has proposed replacing the visage of Ulysses S. Grant with that of Ronald Reagan on the $50.00 bill. This man thus would replace the picture of the man who militarily did more than anyone else to win the Civil War for the Union with that of the man whose current followers want more than anything to tear it asunder. Funnily enough, this man is of course a close namesake of one of the heroes of the American Revolution. By the time of the creation and the adoption of the US Constitution, Patrick Henry was a strong anti-Federalist. Indeed he opposed ratification of the Constitution by his former colony, Virginia. The Constitution begins with the words “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union” and provides for very significant powers to the Federal government. Henry was very definitely against it and them, just as many so-called “Tea Partiers” are today.
I picked up Richard Cook’s Challenger Revealed without expecting too much from it. I’ve never thought that the writing on the space program was either that interesting or well done from the technical side, and on the political/sociological side it mostly all has been P.R. I also had my doubts that anything much worth reading was ever going to get written about as preventable a disaster as the Challenger loss was, particularly this many years on. On reading it, I was greatly surprised. Not just surprised, but shocked, infuriated, stunned, and inspired. Challenger Revealed is one of the best books on the present condition of the American nation’s current social and institutional sicknesses and failures that I’ve come across ever. It has been criminally ignored by the newsmedia and the literary community and it needs reading by every patriotic citizen of this country who is concerned with its present ailments and future prospects.