September 2009

Wow, Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) is another shining star in the Pantheon of god-fearing neoconservatives. Fearing God so much, in fact, they wouldn’t even dare considering the possibility that they screwed up God’s green earth so bad, the earth is starting to warm up to the point it’ll explode and return to the status of extinct star. Ashes to ashes, pixie dust to pixie dust. Following the creationist trend that the globe is not warming up because it’d mean the planet is going through different evolution stages – and most importantly, that it can’t warm up because it’d mean the reckless industrialisation and subsequent irresponsible waste they’ve been carrying for decades would be imputable to them and them only, Inhofe has decided to remain in denial. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, he says, because GOD IS STILL UP THERE. Note the ironic use of the word “still” in that sentence: he could have left, but he didn’t. He could have stormed out like a drama queen and slammed the door on his way out, but he didn’t. He could have gone fishing on Mars, but he didn’t. “It must be love, right? He still loves us!” cries Inhofe, warm tears streaming down his weary old face who for a moment was convinced he’d die drowning in the melting icebergs rising up the ocean levels. It’s alright man, God’s still there, and we’re up 2 degrees since last time we checked.


A historical member of the Order of Colons, whose name is already enough to send chills down your postmodern spine, Pinchas Wallerstein is
waging a war on progressive western leaders calling for a complete freeze of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The 64th UN General Assembly, considerably divided on the issue, is feeling more than uncomfortable witnessing the rise of extremist opinions regarding the everlasting middleeastern conflict, fearing that no future could soon be contemplated.

Barack Obama reaffirmed his support to Israel and the need for the country to be “supported” – understand, militarily and financially backed up against the alleged constant threat of Hamas rocket launches on the other side of the Jerusalem wall; yet, the new leader of the free world has managed to state in clear, unambiguous word what had been expected from the United States for so long: that America “can not accept” Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, confined in the lifesize camp of Gaza or in remote, endangered and underdeveloped villages all over the Holy Land. A statement that comes just a week after the groundbreaking release of the UN Human Rights Council rapport on Palestine, accusing Israel of war crimes and “possibly” crimes against humanity – short of genocide, those two accusations are the two top crimes on the international law ladder. Israel, until now benefiting from some sort of special treatment from western country in regard to the difficulties faced from being located at the heart of muslim fundamentalism and suffering the aftermath of the Holocaust, is expected to behave like a nation-state abiding by international law and respecting the fundamental rights of people. Those rights – mostly self-determination – are strongly contested by Wallerstein, who believes the extension of Israeli territory is a matter of life or disappearance for Israel.

“Colonialism is absolutely necessary to permanently draw the borders of Israel”, Wallerstein explains (1). “This jewish presence, everywhere, is
fundamental to stopping the creation of a Palestinian state.” At least the vocabulary is not tainted by any hint of political correctness:
Wallerstein has never believed that the Palestinian land could belong to none other than the Jewish people, and is quick to stress that while
it is indeed deeply rooted in his attachment to sionism, he is also considering the overall well-being of Israelis and their safety. “Beyond my sionist conviction that leads me to believe that this land is ours, another State on this side of the Jordan River would represent a danger for Israel. Palestinians have no right to this land”. Sadly for Wallerstein, history and the law are saying otherwise.

Pinchas Wallerstein (second from left): another one preaching violence in the name of ideology

Pinchas Wallerstein (second from left): another one preaching violence in the name of ideology

Although most legal scholars and western leaders already consider Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be too involved in the settlement plan to compromise with on the two-state solution, Pinchas Wallerstein is something else entirely: not bound by any political consideration or diplomatic necessity, Wallerstein is strongly opposed to a two-state solution, and claims that Palestinians should be purely and simply driven out. The Order of Colons, the Yesha, despite not holding any political mandate, maintains strong and close ties with government members.  Wallerstein never fails to point that his endlessly ringing phone is a hotline to Jerusalem where his the stronghold of his lobby is solid enough to be a non-negligeable influence in the dawn of a still hypothetical peace process. Despite a growing number of Israeli citizens simply wishing for a peaceful and respectable nation abiding by international regulations and staying away from ethnic conflict and constant threat of over destructive war, sionism seems to be the ideology fueling the engine of Israel’s successive governments – with the ever so popular belief that without regular and proportional expansion, Israel will be invaded by Palestinians claiming their territory back. Israel’s isolation inside the Middle East, stuck between Lebanon and Syria, is creating a realistic fear of attack. Yet Israel refuses to understand that its colonizing attitude is precisely what nurtures a feeling a vengeance that can’t be put out. Wallerstein may fight in the name of ideology, and may have given a leg to his faith in sionism – but many will keep on falling and bleeding instead of upholding, if not peace itself, at least a statu quo.

According to statistics, 300,000 Israeli colons are now living in the West Bank. 195,000 of them would be in East-Jerusalem, traditionally an
Arab zone.

(1) In an interview to Le Monde, September 25

A lot has been said about Van Jones, most of it being shameless and thoughtless lies. Even more has been published about Van Jones’ resignation, partisan, bipartisan and unpartisan rambling hum of pseudo-victory and disgusted defeat. The White House, however, has remained almost deafeningly silent, disposing of Jones’ talents at midnight, halfway through Labor Day weekend. Talk about a backdoor exit.

Much like socialism’ true meaning has been entirely corrupted and modified to fit the purpose of a few misguided fanatics, radicalism is now victim to another unilateral update of the English dictionary. Let’s help ourselves to the OED:

adjective 1 relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something. 2 advocating thorough political or social reform; politically extreme. 3 departing from tradition; innovative or progressive

Glenn Beck: his intelligence matches his fashion sense

Glenn Beck: his intelligence matches his fashion sense

I don’t think anyone in their right, objective minds would consider Obama, his administration or his staff radical. There has indeed been some incredible change compared to the previous eight years, but that was nothing short of a journey from insanity to normalcy. Obama’s insistence on bipartisanship is intrisically non radical. He is not even the commie-leaning socialist Bill O’Reilly would want the masses to believe. At best, he is moderate in his approach to left wing politics. What transpires hardcore radicalism, however, is Glenn Beck’s vile and vicious campaign of hate against Jones, his unconspicuous calls for anti-democratic action, and his extreme rhethoric that makes me believe he is more of a revolutionary than any of the suits on Pennsylvia Ave. By far.

The mystery remains as to how Glenn Beck managed to make his voice heard to the point the White House not only just listened, but heed his call. I guess this goes to show how non radical the administration is. Recently Rolling Stone asked Paul Krugman whether Obama was tough enough for the position. As strong as an Obama supporter I am, the answer has to be a negative. Glenn Beck has as much qualification in political affairs as my 5th grade lab partner whose only apparent skills was to blow enormous gum bubbles and whose vacant eyes seemed to indicate a certain degree of brain damage. If we start giving a radical, fundamentalist and delusional preacher like Glenn Beck the same importance as we would someone who actually bothers to fact-check his accusations, there is no point in having secured a Congress majority: no reform will ever pass. Not because the reforms in themselves are not viable, but because the GOP has decided to oppose every policy on ideological principle, which is the biggest dumbing-down process in politics since General de Gaulle resigned in 1969 because he didn’t feel loved enough.

It just so happens that Arianna Huffington managed to ease the score by explaining why Van Jones is better off the White House anyway. Sadly for Beck, O’Reilly and cohorts, radicalism – if Van Jones can even be considered a radical – will remain in the streets. Unfortunately for them, radicalism does exist, just not where they’re looking. Radicalism is now expecting the Obama administration to toughen up and stop compromising on the issues it promised to tackle while on the campaign trail. Healthcare reform could have easily passed, containing the infamous public option, with 60 votes. Stimulus funds need to focus on education. More importantly, it is time to tell the GOP they no longer rule, and failed to prove they were a force one could reason with. If decent Republicans are stepping down to favour ignorant idiots such as Glenn Beck in the public debate, they should be ignored the way we ignore the apocalyptic preacher at the bus stop.

Listen, radicalism lives, it’s around, and it’s not satisfied. I’m not feeling particularly destabilized or challenged by Glenn Beck. It’ll take more than that to shut us up. Now, give us what you got.

We have been on a forced hiatus for a few weeks given the uncanny and unbelievable amplitude of the health care reform debate and the surrounding madness, hysteria, and utter stupidity. Our mouths have not been capable of forming words as they were gaping wide at our television sets and print articles spreading lies on a very simple reform, causing collective and contagious fear through badly interpretated lines, and most importantly, turning a non-negligeable part of the population against an idea that could actually benefit them. Amidst the clusterfuck that is the health care debate, are rising ideologies that have nothing to do with health care itself, or even with Obama’s general policies. Those ideas and beliefs have been deeply rooted into the American subsconscious, patiently waiting for the spark that was going to light their fire. If the November election brought an image of unity, hope, and cooperation, it only took six months to break it all apart and reveal to the world what I can only call the Divided States of Embarassment. (*)

Because there are only so many ways to wade through the waves of information, disinformation, misinformation and other forms of misguided and poorly organized propaganda, here is a little drop-down list of all the little things that have irritated us from the other side of the pond. Let’s guide our wonderful readers through the prism of expatriated and therefore distanced minds.

* Health Care: it is actually good for you.

What people don’t seem to realise is that the health care reform is not a new idea, has not spawned from Obama’s socialist mind, and has been implemented pretty much everywhere else in the world for over sixty decades, with more or less satisfying results. Treating the possibility of universal health care as an alien, strange, and incomprehensible idea is preposterous. More importantly, it’s terribly hypocritical. The embryo of health care already present since the Roosevelt’s New Deal, Medicare and its baby Medicaid, are extremely popular and have helped impoverished populations as well as the elderly maintain themselves at a level close to dignity. The fact that the lack of health care is making Americans vulnerable to diseases otherwise preventable, and resulting in a infant mortality rate close to that of a third world country is a danger to the United States’ economic and social sustainability. (the United States is #46, ranking below Cuba and Burnei according to the CIA World Factbook).  It is high time the United States finally decide to behave like the super power it actually is, but this time domestically. Health care is not a condescending or patronizing government-population approach. It is not an overcontrolling socialist decision. It is not the liberticide change that the GOP is trying to publicize. It is simply what is due to a population from its democratically elected government: the right not to die because you are not rich enough to live.

* Socialism:

Because Eastern Europe and McCarthy gave it a bad name does not mean that the concept in itself has nothing to offer even to the most conservative of nations. There is a lot to say about a government caring about the opportunities and the chances it provides to its own population, especially in times when an entire generation has nothing to face but a flat-lining future, and when workers with a regular income still have to resort to foodstamps in order to feed their families. America’s biggest strength and most reliable ressource is its population. Resilient, hard-working, optimistic and inclined to progress, the American people have helped the country rise to where it was before its economy collapsed. There is nothing wrong in the American people claiming what has always been theirs. Workers who do not have to worry about losing their home or their children are more reliable, more focused, and more socially participative.  America was built on a dream of modernity, independance, change, and forward thinking. The labor market has however been stuck in the fifties. Whilst Europe advanced through the power of unions and social upheaval, thanks to the inclusion of women and the advance of technology, the United States failed to offer its most rewarding workers with the protection they deserved for participating to the nation’s success. It’s a game of give and take, and socialism believes that by giving, thou shalt receive. The degree to which a government is keen to indulge in socialist measure depends on the country’s political inclination; but socialism, in itself, is nothing short of respecting the people for the work they’re accomplishing.

* Now, for the real debate

What should be of public concern regarding a health care reform is not health care in itself, which has been internationally accepted as being a universal necessity, but the funding of a government run program in times with western governments are finding it hard to finance even the most regular of their activities. If the models of the British NHS and the French Social Security are being exposed as major, popular and widely approved successes, those ideas, implemented shortly after World War 2, are also a financial burden the United States might not be ready to undertake. As of 2008, the debt of Social Security in France was over 10 billion euros – the goverment’s deficit being evaluated at about 68% of the GDP (roughly 1 327 billion euros).

Because France has always proposed and developed a thorough and comprehensive health care system offering coverage from pregnancy to widowage pensions, the financial hemorragia is obviously more considerable than that of the NHS (with a predicted £7 billion deficit by 2010). The United States are even more indebted since the national debt has been estimated at approximatively 70% of the GDP. Basic health care coverage can be made available to households with two regular incomes over minimum wage, with the possibility of contracting a private complementary health insurance to cover the most expensive costs (such as dentistry or eyecare). Universal health care can be made available to low-income households, families with several children and cumulating jobs.  Several options are available which do not imply a health care program entirely run and controlled by an overbearing government supposedly concerned by the coming and goings of every citizen, their lifestyle, and their aspirations for themselves and their families. The lies that have been spread by the GOP in order to stop the reform and spread fearmongering among confused voters is nothing short of debilitating propaganda that would deprive a nation of the possibility to finally live their lives to the fullest and give their child a future.

The only debate should be focused on the funding and the financial options available to a government that has until then dispersed its money into bailing out irresponsible bankers. The cost of the crunch with its rising unemployement and ever-growing overindebted households will have a long-term effect that will go way beyond Obama’s administration, with causes rooting way before the Bush administration. It is not a just  a change in governmental policy that is required, but a change in the entire collective thought process, and an imagination overhaul – realising that a different lifestyle is possible.

(*) Line stolen from Eminem, White America.