“You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit.”

Matt Taibbi on conservatives’ efforts to paint Obama has both socialist and fascist, despite his administration’s huge giveaways to bailed-out businesses:

It requires serious mental gymnastics to describe the Obama administration — particularly the Obama administration of recent weeks, which has given away billions to Wall Street and bent over backwards to avoid nationalization and pursue a policy that preserves the private for-profit status of the bailed-out banks — as a militaristic dictatorship of anti-wealth, anti-private property forces. You have to somehow explain the Geithner/Paulson decisions to hand over trillions of taxpayer dollars to the rich bankers as the formal policy expression of progressive rage against the rich. Not easy. In order to pull off this argument, in fact, you have to grease the wheels with a lot of apocalyptic language and imagery, invoking as Beck did massive pictures of Stalin and Orwell and Mussolini (side by side with shots of Geithner, Obama and Bernanke), scenes of workers storming the Winter Palace interspersed with anti-AIG protests, etc. — and then maybe you have to add a crazy new twist, like switching from complaints of “socialism” to warnings of “fascism.” Rhetorically, this is the equivalent of trying to paint a picture by hurling huge handfuls of paint at the canvas. It’s desperate, last-ditch-ish behavior.

My favorite bit is this:

You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit.

To be fair, many people don’t vote in their own self-interest. (Look at me: I’m a straight, married, white, American-born, middle-class male. By all rights, I should be a Republican.) So we wind up with a few hundred people participating in a protest, organized by the wealthy, who are protesting tax increases for those wealthy people and tax cuts for said protesters. Strange? Sure. But it’s within the confines of what passes for normal in modern American politics.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

12 replies on ““You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit.””

  1. Uh, Waldo, as socialism is nothing more than fascism with a smile, what is so odd about “conservatives’ efforts to paint Obama has both socialist and fascist”?

  2. Uh, Waldo, as socialism is nothing more than fascism with a smile, what is so odd about “conservatives’ efforts to paint Obama has both socialist and fascist”?

    Who said it was odd?

  3. What worries me much more now, and disappoints me greatly, is the CIA immunity for torture just granted by Obama and Holder – from CNN article at http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/16/us.torture.documents/index.html

    ” In releasing the memos in response to a public records request from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, the Obama administration informed CIA officials they will not be prosecuted for past waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics.

    Attorney General Eric Holder promised in a separate statement that officials who used the controversial interrogation tactics were in the clear if their actions were consistent with the legal advice from the Justice Department under which they were operating at the time.

    “My judgment on the content of these memos is a matter of record,” President Obama said in a statement released from the White House.

    Obama prohibited the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding shortly after taking office in January. Such techniques “undermine our moral authority and do not make us safer,” he said Thursday.

    The president said that while United States must sometimes “protect information that is classified for purposes of national security,” he decided to release the memos because he believes “strongly in transparency and accountability” and “exceptional circumstances surround these memos and require their release.”

    Obama argued that “withholding these memos would only serve to deny facts that have been in the public domain for some time.”

    “This could contribute to an inaccurate accounting of the past, and fuel erroneous and inflammatory assumptions about actions taken by the United States,” he said.

    He added that the officials involved in the questionable interrogations would not be subject to prosecution because the intelligence community must be provided “with the confidence” it needs to do its job.”

    Damn – take this along with the Presidential “Signing Statements” in the ARRA that kill the Whistleblower Retaliation portion of the Act for the Executive Branch (and which Obama pledged not to use) and I am getting very suspicious of the politics of the office bringing down the hopeful ideals and promises of change that brought Obama America’s votes. I want to maintain the glow of hope, but I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. And this is coming from a strongly left position (not far left, just strongly liberal). Somebody please give me reason to hope still, other than the possibility of high-speed rail service…

  4. Two things Chris:
    1)I’m no lawyer, but the DOJ statement appears to have many truck-size holes in it and leaves vulnerable the Capos who cooked it up.
    2)If anyone thought that the Obama Administration could turn this shit around by themselves they were naive. We The People need to demand accountability. I didn’t freeze my ass off on the Mall 90 days ago for nothing, it was a demonstration of power. The leaders will follow.

  5. yes, but, “if their actions were consistent with the legal advice from the Justice Department under which they were operating at the time.” Really? I haven’t done enough reading of Holder’s actual statements, but lacking information has never stopped me from opining before.

    If we learned anything from the Nuremberg trials, it was two things:

    One, following orders/instructions is not a defense if the violation was a violation of customary international law, so that even if it wasn’t something your country was following, you should have known you were acting illegally (See also the Convention Against Torture, Art 2, which also says no torture, no, never, really, we mean it, no exceptions, no excuses whatsoever, seriously guys, not even orders to torture.).

    Two, Nuremberg taught us that even though aggressive war was not defined as a crime in Germany at the time, there was no ex post facto defense. Thus, even though it wasn’t a crime before the Nazis were found guilty of it (that is, there was no pre-existing express codification), they were still legally liable, since aggressive war was was a violation of customary international law at the time. (See also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Art. 15(2); UN Charter, both of which, fine, post Nuremberg, but deal, ok?).

    Torture is a violation of customary international law, via both human rights and humanitarian law. The CAT, ICCPR and Nuremberg all point to the fact that even if you were told it was OK to torture (or that your actions did not constitute torture) by a superior officer, you should have known better, and thus, you can be found liable.

  6. No argument from me Genevieve. But I’m just a dumb hillbilly, we’ll clearly need a sharp legal eagle to detail the case. And quite frankly this torture thing should be fought by a military lawyer – someone who knows the meaning of “what goes around, comes around”.

    This action by Obama just highlights how bad things are – that he would have to triage war crimes down the list. Doesn’t mean that there can’t be a grassroots call for prosecution.

  7. “Socialism is nothing more than fascism with a smile.”

    This is idiotic. Fascism and socialism are differentiated by significantly more than “a smile,” and while I’d take the time to explain it if I figured you to be unintentionally ignorant, I’m pretty sure your ignorance is quite intentional.

    Once again, James proves he’s little more than a troll, out to shit on reasonable discussion and pat himself on the back for it.

  8. “And quite frankly this torture thing should be fought by a military lawyer – someone who knows the meaning of “what goes around, comes around”.”

    A point well taken (so give me a year + JAG school, assuming I get in, aiight?). Another thing to consider is that the DOJ has to sign off on actually going ahead with all these prosecutions.

    That would be the same DOJ that just turned what should have been a slam-dunk case against Stevens into a painfully embarrassing debacle of epic proportions. I’m thinking that they’re just a tad bit gun shy right now.

  9. I’m pretty sure that they have cleaned all of the Regent Law School lawyers out of the Department of Justice. Morning in America!

  10. “(Look at me: I’m a straight, married, white, American-born, middle-class male. By all rights, I should be a Republican.)”

    Ditto. And a property owner. I think you have to be a property owner, too.

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