American politics in 2010 is nasty business, thanks to the noisy right-wing extremists, who receive generous support by the infamous Koch brothers. More fascinating facts regarding the Koch brothers further below.
First, I would like to mention the new cover story in Forbes Magazine about Barack Obama, which I think is supposed to be published in print on Monday. "HOW HE THINKS" screams the cover...
...and it promises to examine the roots of "Obama's big problem with business."
Well, I don't know too much about Forbes Magazine, apart from the fact that it's a major business magazine, but if you want to see an example of biased, manipulative journalism, you just need to read the opening paragraphs of the article, which was published online already several days ago:
"Barack Obama is the most antibusiness president in a generation, perhaps in American history. Thanks to him the era of big government is back. Obama runs up taxpayer debt not in the billions but in the trillions. He has expanded the federal government's control over home mortgages, investment banking, health care, autos and energy. The Weekly Standard summarizes Obama's approach as omnipotence at home, impotence abroad.
The President's actions are so bizarre that they mystify his critics and supporters alike. Consider this headline from the Aug. 18, 2009 issue of the Wall Street Journal: "Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling." Did you read that correctly? You did. The Administration supports offshore drilling--but drilling off the shores of Brazil. With Obama's backing, the U.S. Export-Import Bank offered $2 billion in loans and guarantees to Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras to finance exploration in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro--not so the oil ends up in the U.S. He is funding Brazilian exploration so that the oil can stay in Brazil."
Wow! So Bill Kristol's "Weekly Standard" said that Obama's approach is "omnipotence at home, impotence abroad?" I guess it has to be true then. How thankful we are that Forbes educates us on this point.
If you think the article gets off to a bad start, it get's worse - much worse:
"Theories abound to explain the President's goals and actions. Critics in the business community--including some Obama voters who now have buyer's remorse--tend to focus on two main themes. The first is that Obama is clueless about business. The second is that Obama is a socialist--not an out-and-out Marxist, but something of a European-style socialist, with a penchant for leveling and government redistribution."
Sure, he is a socialist. Didn't we already know it. Europe is apparently full of them, also, too.
But wasn't there something else? Barack Obama, he is, well, not REALLY one of "us", right?
"But we have been blinded to his real agenda because, across the political spectrum, we all seek to fit him into some version of American history. In the process, we ignore Obama's own history. Here is a man who spent his formative years--the first 17 years of his life--off the American mainland, in Hawaii, Indonesia and Pakistan, with multiple subsequent journeys to Africa."
So he spent his "formative years" in rather obscure parts of the world. Forbes Magazine, we are just dying to hear more...
"A good way to discern what motivates Obama is to ask a simple question: What is his dream? Is it the American dream? Is it Martin Luther King's dream? Or something else?
It is certainly not the American dream as conceived by the founders. They believed the nation was a "new order for the ages." A half-century later Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of America as creating "a distinct species of mankind." This is known as American exceptionalism. But when asked at a 2009 press conference whether he believed in this ideal, Obama said no. America, he suggested, is no more unique or exceptional than Britain or Greece or any other country."
CERTAINLY not the AMERICAN dream as conceived by the FOUNDERS. Yes, we are still reading the article in Forbes Magazine, and not one of Sarah Palin's speeches. The USA is not "exceptional?" AN UNBELIEVER! Not a REAL American.
So the business people dislike Barack Obama, he is a European style socialist, spent much of his younger life in some weird countries. Wasn't there something else?
He had a father...
"So who was Barack Obama Sr.? He was a Luo tribesman who grew up in Kenya and studied at Harvard. He was a polygamist who had, over the course of his lifetime, four wives and eight children. One of his sons, Mark Obama, has accused him of abuse and wife-beating. He was also a regular drunk driver who got into numerous accidents, killing a man in one and causing his own legs to be amputated due to injury in another. In 1982 he got drunk at a bar in Nairobi and drove into a tree, killing himself."
In 1965, Obama Sr. wrote an "important" article with "anti-colonial" content:
"Obama Sr. wasn't a doctrinaire socialist; rather, he saw state appropriation of wealth as a necessary means to achieve the anticolonial objective of taking resources away from the foreign looters and restoring them to the people of Africa."
Therefore, having already concluded without providing any evidence that Barack Obama is a business hating European-style socialist, who doesn't behave like the founding fathers would like him to behave, according to Forbes Magazine - then why not jump to even more conclusions, again without offering any evidence or supporting facts:
"It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.
For Obama, the solutions are simple. He must work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. And here is where our anticolonial understanding of Obama really takes off, because it provides a vital key to explaining not only his major policy actions but also the little details that no other theory can adequately account for."
You get the picture. Barack Obama is "anticolonial", and that's the main motivation which drives Obama. We don't really need more facts, it all falls nicely into place, doesn't it: With such a strange father and having lived his "formative years" in even stranger countries, how can Barack Obama possibly please the "Founding Fathers?
I guess this article which in my opinion is completely devoid of any facts, logical thought and reasoned thinking and paints Obama as one gigantic "self fulfilling prophecy" will probably be part of the the next edition of Texan textbooks. With this peculiar black man in the White House, America can never be pure and exceptional again. It almost feels like America's honor has to be restored. Can it be that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin were right? You betcha, Americans! Let's take the country back from the evil socialist with the even more evil father! Says Forbes Magazine, if I understand it correctly.
Speaking of Socialists:
The Koch brothers - they hate socialists. Really, they do. They are currently "waging a war against Obama", using their seemingly endless funds, recently also massively donating to one of Karl Rove groups, providing 91% of its funding.
They are supporting the "libertarian" Tea Party parrots like Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell and Joe Miller, who are all running on the Republican ticket and would like to dismantle social security, and while we are at it, who needs healthcare anyway? Real Americans don't get sick. And if they do, it's their own fault if they are not stinking rich and can pay for it themselves. Who needs all these ugly poor people who would like to have healthcare anyway? Certainly not the Koch brothers.
Despite that fact that they apparently hate nothing more than evil socialism, the Koch brothers seems to have quite a cozy relationship with the benefits of "socialism" - as the New York Observer reports, giving seven well researched examples.
From socialist shipbuilding, investments in Venezuela, subsidies for ranching and ethanol production - Koch Industries loves state aid and state subsidies. This is contrary to the libertarian dogmas of their own Cato Institute "brain trust", but who cares - it's all about making money in the end, isn't end?
If you do real research, if you report real facts, you will find surprising answers.
If you just want propaganda, then you don't need those pesky facts which are just standing in the way of "American purity."
The hypocritical Koch Brothers are by far not the only industrialists who finance extremist right-wing movements for their own gain.
It happened before. Adolf Hitler already knew:
"Millions are standing behind me!"
(Montage by John Heartfield, 1932)
"Campus Progress" has a very detailed portrait of the author of this Forbes article, Dinesh D'Souza.
"A darling of the right-wing-campus-newspaper-backing Collegiate Network, D’Souza helped found the infamous ultra-conservative Dartmouth Review as an undergrad. Under D’Souza’s “leadership,” The Review ran notoriously tasteless, bigoted, and just downright offensive articles of all stripes. Among his signature pieces: a parody of African American students at Dartmouth entitled “This Sho Ain’t No Jive Bro”; an interview with a Ku Klux Klan member featuring a graphic of a hanged black man; and selected words of wisdom from Adolf Hitler. The Review consistently referred to gay men as sodomites, and D’Souza himself publicly outed one gay student in an article based on stolen correspondence between members of the Dartmouth Gay Student Alliance.
With his journalistic career on the upswing (if not the up and up), D’Souza was hired as the editor of Prospect, a magazine started by a conservative Princeton alum. D’Souza’s stint as editor helped him expand his already outrageous repertoire to include a sexist attack on the field of women’s studies. Also while he was editor, the magazine published an expose of a female undergrad’s sex life without her permission.
In 1987 his free-flowing conservative prose, which by now included a glowing biography of Moral Majority Leader, Jerry Falwell ironically titled “Jerry Falwell: A Critical Biography,” got him a job inside the Beltway as a domestic policy analyst for Reagan. He served in the administration for only about a year, which was long enough for him to collect enough material to write his second celebrity bio ten years later, this time a fawning portrait of his former boss, titled Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader.
By 1989, he began receiving annual grants from the Olin Foundation, which funds the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research amongst other conservative intellectual beacons. He now seems to be on Olin’s permanent payroll, receiving annual payouts, often of upwards of $100,000."
Not surprisingly, the piece by Dinesh D'Souza encountered some harsh criticism. The "Economist" published a very informative response: "How D'Souza thinks", in which the "Economist" gives a lot of details about D'Souza's personal and ideological background. The conclusion:
"But I think we do better when we criticise people's ideas and programmes on their own terms, rather than seeking out mysterious causes in their childhoods. There's no need to search for abstruse reasons why an extreme movement conservative like Dinesh D'Souza might oppose raising taxes on the rich or defend privilege in access to education. And it's not surprising that a centrist liberal like Barack Obama thinks people earning more than $250,000 per year ought to be paying more taxes. In fact, that conviction is shared by a majority of the American electorate. If Mr D'Souza finds it bizarre, it's not Mr Obama who's out of touch with America."
The "Columbia Journalism Review" called D'Souza's article "shameful" and adds:
"So it’s come to this: Forbes cover story on “How Obama Thinks” is a gross piece of innuendo—a fact-twisting, error-laden piece of paranoia. This is the worst kind of smear journalism—a singularly disgusting work.
Forbes for some reason gives Dinesh D’Souza the cover and lots of space to froth about the notion popular in the right-wing fever swamps that Obama is an “other”; that he doesn’t think like “an American,” that his actions benefit foreigners rather than Amurricans. It’s too kind to call this innuendo. It’s far too overt for that."
Dinesh D'Souza was as a guest on the Colbert Report in January 2007, and let's just say it didn't go to well for him: