Obama has told Progressives to pipe down, accept the compromises and focus on other tasks that must be accomplished before all those rabid teabaggers take office in January. Everybody knows that compromises are necessary in Congress; however, capitulation is not compromise. The trouble I have with the whole episode is that it’s hard to tell where Obama really stands on any issue because he starts off with high minded, idealistic rhetoric then tells his constituents he won’t be held to abstract ideals. At least we all know Republicans stand with the wealthy. As a politician, Obama depends on contributions from millionaires and their PACs as much as anyone, but he needed Progressive votes to get elected. His speeches were so seductive that we thought, for one brief shining moment, that he actually cared about us before we got screwed.
What I can’t understand is how this country can have a serious debate about the budget and the deficit without bringing up The War. In May 2010, USAToday reported that we have been spending around $12 billion per month in Afghanistan and Iraq, and cumulative spending was well over $1 trillion. Some of that money, around $2,000,000,000, went to a military contractor called DynCorp who proceeded to host bacha bazi parties. The Houston Press provides this description:
Bacha boys are eight- to 15-years-old. They put on make-up, tie bells to their feet and slip into scanty women’s clothing, and then, to the whine of a harmonium and wailing vocals, they dance seductively to smoky roomfuls of leering older men. After the show is over, their services are auctioned off to the highest bidder, who will sometimes purchase a boy outright. And by services, we mean anal sex: The State Department has called bacha bazi a “widespread, culturally accepted form of male rape.” (While it may be culturally accepted, it violates both Sharia law and Afghan civil code.)
The State Department may have called bacha bazi “culturally accepted,” but I call it child abuse.
It would be convenient to blame the bacha bazi parties on independent contractors, but we cannot forget that our own government authorized water boarding, which is against the Geneva Convention, and US Army personnel were involved in every facet of the abuses perpetrated at Abu Ghraib. So it looks like a lot of policy makers in Washington are cool with funding child abuse but have issues with funding school lunches.
The Washington editor for the National Review, Kate O’Beirne, has said publicly:
The federal school lunch program and now breakfast program and I guess in Washington DC, dinner program are pretty close to being sacred cows… broad bipartisan support. And if we’re going to ask more of ourselves, my question is what poor excuse for a parent can’t rustle up a bowl of cereal and a banana? I just don’t get why millions of school children qualify for school breakfasts unless we have a major wide spread problem with child neglect (Crooks & Liars, 12.06.2010)
Although this statement shows that Kate is sadly out of touch with the realities facing many, many Americans today, at least we know where she stands. Obama never said he would stop the war. In fact, he made his intentions to move troops to Afghanistan clear during the campaign. However, when it comes to working families, Obama talks like a Progressive even though he works for the Plutocrats.
I never doubted that Obama is a politician first and foremost, but I really did think he would represent working people. It’s become increasingly obvious that We The People are swinging in the breeze. Since we have very few legislators speaking for us in Congress, we may have to organize and speak for ourselves kind of like the coal miners in Harlan County, Kentucky back in the 1930’s. In those days, mine owners hired deputies to beat, jail or kill union organizers. One night deputies went to the home of Sam Reece, but friends took him to safety before the gang got to his home. His wife Florence was alone with their seven children when the thugs arrived. They busted up the whole house, then waited outside ready to shoot Sam if he returned. Legend has it that Florence tore a sheet from a wall calendar and wrote down the words to “Which Side Are You On?”
Florence Reece was just a mom, worried about her husband and children like so many of us are these days. Parents in Afghanistan are worried about their families, too. The main difference between America today and 1931 when Florence wrote that song is that the hired thugs are doing the Owners’ dirty work in Congress instead of roaming the country side.
PENolan has developed a reputation as a theologian and subversive due to her blog, Menopausal Stoners. She is a contributing writer on Black Magpie Theory, and she reads regularly in the humor series Drunken! Careening! Writers! at KGB Bar in New York City’s East Village. One of those appearances resulted in a clause in her divorce decree that requires her to write under a pseudonym, so she decided to use the maiden name of her Granny the Ho, who had five husbands. Tricia has been teaching preschool for more than twenty years and holds Masters Degrees in both Early Childhood and Secondary Education.