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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Obama Family Tree

By Peter Molenaar Did everyone catch the article “Slavery in Obama Family Tree”? I found it fascinating that our President”'s African-American aspect stems, certainly not from his Kenyan father, but very likely from his white mother whose ancestry traces back nearly four centuries to a slave named John Punch. Note: The designation “African-American” has traditionally referred to that nationality which was forged from the very diverse peoples held in bondage together. To the degree that Obama is now conscious of his connection; his identity has become less ambivalent. To continue”¦ “In 1640, Punch, then an indentured servant, escaped from Virginia and went to Maryland. He was captured there and, along with two white servants who had also escaped, was put on trial. His punishment ”“ servitude for life ”“ was harsher than what the white servants received, and it has led some historians to regard him as the first African to be legally sanctioned as a slave, years before Virginia adopted laws allowing slavery.” This was the historic moment when the existing ruling class determined to divide the exploited layer of society along the race line. Leap to 1777-1778”¦ (more…)

The “Laws of War” are the worst idea ever

Just like the “Iraq War”, Obama is now putting a projected “deadline” to end the “Afghan War”, is this even possible? How can he say that the 2014 deadline will mean that “the Afghan War as we understand it is over” --it appears he doesn”'t understand “war”. If he is in a real “war”, then the “war” decides when it is over. If he can “end” the “war” whenever he wants to, and just walk away””what he is partaking in is equal to a video game. And if he does have the power to “end the war” whenever he wants, why not just “end it” now and save a lot of lives and money? They give themselves way too much freedom once they have defined their actions as a “war”. Let”'s say bin Laden attacked New York City and Washington with a military and Bush attacked Baghdad with commercial passenger jets slamming into buildings”¦how would we process it””what it seems to come down to is what we”'re familiar with. If bin Laden attacks America with a military within the “laws of war”, is his violence seen as more legitimate, and if Bush using commercial jets to attack Baghdad, is his violence seen as less legitimate? There is a right way and a wrong way to murder people””bin Laden is a mass murderer, Bush is a “war” starter. Bush murdered people the acceptable way, and Obama is doing the same thing, murdering people the acceptable way within the “laws of war”. (more…)

The “Laws of War” are the worst idea ever

Just like the “Iraq War”, Obama is now putting a projected “deadline” to end the “Afghan War”, is this even possible? How can he say that the 2014 deadline will mean that “the Afghan War as we understand it is over” --it appears he doesn”'t understand “war”.  If he is in a real “war”, then the “war” decides when it is over.  If he can “end” the “war” whenever he wants to, and just walk away””what he is partaking in is equal to a video game. And if he does have the power to “end the war” whenever he wants, why not just “end it” now and save a lot of lives and money?  They give themselves way too much freedom once they have defined their actions as a “war”. Let”'s say bin Laden attacked New York City and Washington with a military and Bush attacked Baghdad with commercial passenger jets slamming into buildings”¦how would we process it””what it seems to come down to is what we”'re familiar with.  If bin Laden attacks America with a military within the “laws of war”, is his violence seen as more legitimate, and if Bush using commercial jets to attack Baghdad, is his violence seen as less legitimate? There is a right way and a wrong way to murder people””bin Laden is a mass murderer, Bush is a “war” starter.  Bush murdered people the acceptable way, and Obama is doing the same thing, murdering people the acceptable way within the “laws of war”. Since day one in Iraq, the only thing they have to claim legitimacy is that they”'re within the “laws of war”””but you cannot get the freedom to kill based on how you kill.  They are now playing the same game with their “drone war”, that they are cutting down “suspected militants and terrorists” and also civilians within the [...]

Against Finger Pointing

by Peter Molenaar Scientific reminder: The totality of existence (i.e. ”˜matter”') is in motion”¦this is true because all phenomena are a manifestation of a self-contradictory unity of opposing forces (i.e. matter is ”˜dialectical”'). So then, to understand something one must begin by uncovering the main contradiction within it. Secondly, one must ascertain the dominant aspect of this contradiction (i.e. the relationship of forces must be examined). Thirdly, one must examine the relative development of the opposing aspects as might be correlated with environmental influences (i.e. external factors are the conditions of change, internal contradictions are the basis of change). Fourthly, one must determine (or judge) the “tipping-point” (i.e. quantitative change) beyond which the dominated aspect becomes the dominant (i.e. qualitative change). To continue”¦ No phenomenon can be fully understood apart from its historic development, potential future development, and interconnection with the totality. Those who proceed otherwise are said to be “metaphysical”. Unfortunately for the human condition, the formal logic derived from a narrow and one-sided approach results in an ”˜idealistic”' departure from rationality. So then, with regard to President Obama”'s “failings”, whose interests are being served by the trendy groundswell of smug indignation which flows now from the ”˜left”'? Readers might recall my recent column “Irony of Ironies” which asserted: “We elected Obama to save capitalism (to save capitalism from the capitalists!) until such time as a viable socialist vanguard emerges in conjunction with the requisite mass movement”. Which is to say: not every moment of every day constitutes a ”˜revolutionary situation”'. Or, as Lenin himself indicated: contradictions within the ruling class acquire an elevated significance [...]

Surge To Nowhere

by Peter Molenaar Anyone with a heart understands that President Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place on the question of Afghanistan””damned if he does, damned if he doesn”'t. As for the public”'s opinion, it is mixed, uncertain, and fluid. A significant poll released November 30 indicated that 47 percent of us favor some increase in troop levels, but this figure actually was down 5 points from the previous poll. So, the belief that homeland security is sustained by war abroad appears to be waning in the midst of local economic woes. “Too costly and destined to fail” is a commonly expressed view. The question remains: Did the president”'s December first speech muster the call for a ”˜just war”'? Truthfully, he invoked the security issue without reference to a moral imperative with regard to internationalist duty. The isolationist tendency remains strong. So, the answer is no. Yet, on the moral front, our peace movement is also subject to questions. Foremost, what consequences for women and children would result should the Taliban reconsolidate their power? Furthermore, what would be the consequences with regard to regional stability and development? Such questions might augment the president”'s stance were he not marching behind the banner of NATO. There has been no pledge against the establishment of permanent military bases, no pledge against dispensations for certain corporations, no pledge against the imposition of “free trade” agreements, etc. Our obligation to oppose imperialism remains. What then is the way out? Answer: There is a regional alternative to the escalation in Afghanistan. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization took shape in the years of Taliban power (1996; 2001) for the purpose of undermining that power. The SCO includes Russia and China along with various Central Asian states that border Afghanistan. China alone sustains a military force of some [...]

Irony Of Ironies

By Peter Molenaar Followers of this column might recall a two-part slogan issued prior to the Obama presidency. The first part read: “Unite to fight the ultra-right”. The second part: “even as we project the vision of socialist future”. It occurs now that it might be helpful to define some terms. By ”˜ultra-right”' is meant: those political forces which are manipulated and set in motion by the most greedy and self-absorbed section of the capitalist ruling class. The Republican Party is said to be dominated by these forces. Whereas, the more liberal wing of the ruling class consents to a political alliance with the social-democratic wing of Labor (and the other sectors which make up the Democratic Party). The term ”˜social-democratic”' refers to that trend within Labor which seeks to improve life without fundamentally challenging the power of accumulated wealth, i.e. without challenging the property relations which constitute the “rule of capital”. However, during a prolonged period of declining living standards, social-democracy of necessity evolves towards a more militant socialism. Similarly, the liberal tendency will be altered, but in reaction. Note: We will endeavor to define working class socialism as opposed to “national socialism”. Socialist society is based on public ownership of large scale industry, transport, and real estate. Thus it involves the revolutionary transfer of a huge sum of wealth to the public domain. It follows that a strong “worker”'s state” must be built upon a foundation of democratic institutions which in turn must reflect necessity itself. Socialist society strives to eliminate all forms of oppression and inequality while seeking to elevate the spiritual content of each individual. Peace between nations and harmony with nature is the goal. But for now, “our” state rests upon a highly unstable capitalism: hyper [...]

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