History has shown that when foreign soldiers try to police their territory Afghanistan’s tribal, religious, and ethnic identities solidify in resistance. The American troop presence is an irritant that fuels nationalism, tribalism and insurgency.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger praised U.S. soldiers for helping Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki build and nurture Iraq’s public institutions, which are central to the American war effort. But at the same time Schwarzenegger is systematically (even gleefully) dismantling similar public institutions in California.
The Congress, always in hock to Wall Street, is dragging its feet in passing anything near the sweeping regulatory restructuring that is needed if we are to prevent Goldman Sachs and the rest of the gang from exploiting their “moral hazard” by using the federal treasury as the mother of all “credit default swaps.”
It’s amazing that even after the entire Wall Street house of cards collapsed a year ago requiring the public sector to rescue the private sector these fierce advocates of free-market fundamentalism can still show their faces in public, let alone gather to rail against the evils of the government that saved their asses.
Next year, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s circus will leave Sacramento. The cigar tents will be packed up and his menagerie of lobbyists and hangers-on will follow him out of town. And like a departing circus it will leave in its wake a barren field strewn with garbage and elephant shit. Whoever is the next Republican nominee for governor will have to at least promise to clean up some of this mess. The last thing the state needs is a Margaret Thatcher wannabe.
What Glenn Beck, Roger Ailes, and their allies did in drumming Van Jones out of the government was an example of 21st century McCarthyism. They smeared Jones’ past political remarks and associations the same way Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn smeared a young Boston lawyer named Fred Fisher for being a member of the National Lawyers Guild.
The 30-year class war the rich launched against the working people in this country (and reached its apogee during the George W. Bush years), has left the middle class reeling and wounded. Only bold federal action that puts something concrete in the palms of middle-class Americans can begin to turn these dire social conditions around.
Mayor Newsom is the most exciting thing to happen to California politics in years. He has started his campaign early, enlisted the help of an army of energetic young people who represent the future of the state, and promises to lift California out of the morass the deadening hands of the Republicans have submerged us in.
Democratic politicians facing town hall disruptions should seek the help of their working-class supporters. Make sure large numbers of people from the local unions come to these events. Then we’ll see if the Tea Bagger thugs can continue their bullying tactics on behalf of corporations seeking to block progress on health care.