Somebody notify Glen Beck. As he could have predicted, with more and more protesters taking to the streets, the powers-that-be have started their crack down. In the latest outrage, two separate grassroots protest groups are suing over harassments and defamations. These loyal Americans had taken to the streets to bravely and loudly advance their vision of a viable political agenda for our times, only to be mocked by the media and harassed by the man.
Same joke as last week, I am NOT talking about the lynch mob-like crowd scene on the National Mall that was literally choreographed by and for Fox “News” last week on Sept. 12, but the current, equally valid, environmental protesters being pre-harassed by the Pittsburgh PD in advance of this Thursday’s G20 Summit.
Quick reminder: This week economically devastated working class Pittsburgh hosts this year’s annual “G20 Summit.” Leaders of the world will dine on fine foods, couch their agendas in terms that sound magnanimous, size up the new American president, and, if possible, discern the best way to be on America’s best side. Let’s face it, even though China and India are doing blockbuster business in the way of catching up, the US is still the driving economy of the planet. For now.
The G20 Summit is the US’s turn to hang with the best of the rest. The G20 are the countries with the 19 biggest economies in the world plus the European Union en bloc. Long ago and far away, the group used to be a much more exclusive “G6,” also the even luckier sounding “G7,”and, after some entourage adjustment, the more sporty “G8.” Full disclosure: in an earlier feverish bid for inclusiveness back in ’99 they shot all the way up to the sonorous “The G33,” but backed off down to awkward sounding “G22,” which didn’t quite have the ring to it, so two more nations were jettisoned, and there you have it.
Working together, these nations’ economies control about 85% of all the money in the entire world. And their meetings have long attracted world class protests, but not in Rustbelt Pittsburgh, thus the crackdown. Racist posturing, propagandist pandering and mounds of trash on the National Mall to denigrate the president in as vulgar terms as possible = good clean fun for loyal Americans. Groups of environmentalist protesters staging street theater to try to draw attention to the catastrophe unfolding as we ignore Global Warming = clearly anti-American who thus need to be surveilled, and have their vans unlawfully searched and seized.
A lot of environmentalists hope to set the stage at the Summit for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. It’ll be the first time in a long time that the rest of the world could possibly look to an American president in hopes of leadership in dealing with the pollutions that are poisoning the planet. Previously the Bush presidency played the bad boy and had scorned calls for stricter regulations on carbon emissions. At one point, in typical Bush fashion, he even mocked the assembled body and laughingly called himself, “the world’s polluter.”
Much of the world is wondering, with the rightwing holding Obama to the ropes, will there be hope for any environmental progress? The cultural warfare we’re engaged in as a nation over health care is just the warm-up for the battle we’ll see the Right put up when America tries to adjust our self-destructive addiction to pollution. Already the rightwing/Big Oil cabals are engineering the next set of protests Tea Party type Americans will be suckered into. Already they are working to challenge the president in so many ways that he can’t accomplish much beyond working to defend himself. As Yogi Berra once said, it’s déjà vu all over again.
Just as had happened in 1993 when Clinton came to power, like they had successfully done to Carter over a decade earlier, the right wing organized an all-out assault on the democratic president’s agenda in health care and energy. In Clinton’s case the onslaught took down both his plans for universal health care and energy consumption tax to regulate us off of fossil fuels.
The rest of the world has been waiting for us to join in the effort to keep the planet from choking itself to death. But they could be waiting a long time more if the Right has anything to do with it and it looks like they do. Just as the rest of the civilized world realized long ago that, as Tory MP Tony Benn so delightfully phrased in the Michael Moore movie, Sicko, “If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people.” It’s such a basic principle of human, one could even say Christian dignity, and still, look how not-far health care reform has gotten since the Right kicked up the noise machine. Here’s what’s next.
Oil corporations have already practiced staging Astroturf fake energy protests, in Houston no less, where oil company workers were shipped in for the protests, paid their company wages for being there and actual protesting citizens were kept out; and then the event was billed as a spontaneous citizens’ uprising at the American Petroleum Institute's Energy Citizen event.
And as phony as that is, I just imagine Glen Beck will soon be leading the charge for a December 7th Club or something like that to ‘drop the bomb’ on Obama’s energy policies. And the rest of the world will keep watching while America continues to over-pollute, over-consume, underfund our education, over-fill our prisons, over-export war and weapons, undercut our own health care and overly congratulate ourselves for our freedom.
Meanwhile, while we weren’t looking, we’re losing another war. As of Monday, Sept. 21, 2009, TV news anchors and commentators talk about Afghanistan as if America’s chances are already over. The Taliban have virtually regained control of the country and if we want the control back, it’s going to take four times the manpower and four decades to do it. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, had heartily concurred in the call for more troops. You remember Karzai, the former Unocal employee we installed in power within months of Sept. 11th 2001? The guy who recently claimed a reelection victory in an election widely recalled as a fraud. That Karzai. Well, Karzai still has that all that Unocal pipeline project to protect; so you can bet when it comes to getting an army to fight off Taliban, he would much rather borrow ours than create his own.
Currently the best estimates say that if we had the political will to send in 600,000 troops and to have generations of them stay there for 40, count ‘em, 40 years, then we might make some headway. Sounds like a mighty big amount of political will. But these days, most Americans barely have the political will to get out of bed in the morning, unless, of course, they’re being fueled on hatred of all things Obama. So, here’s the silver lining in all this:
That Afghanistan War is likely to go down the tubes too, once the Right Realize they can hate him for that as well. Iraq was Bush’s war to lose, and lose it he did, but Obama is likely to have Afghanistan taken away from him. When right-wingers can claim to be patriotic by calling for an end to “the Awful President’s Illegal War,” then you’ll know peace will soon be at hand.
--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ.