How much easier it is to raise three–or 3 million–rousing tweets for the demonstrators in Tehran than to mount any sort of political resistance at home! Here we have a new Democratic president, propelled into office on a magic carpet of progressive pledges, now methodically flouting them one by one, with scarcely a twit or even a tweet raised in protest, aside from the gallant efforts of Medea Benjamin, Russell Mokhiber and their comrades at the healthcare hearings in Congress.
At the end of June US troops will leave Iraq’s cities, and many of them will promptly clamber onto military transports and redeploy to Obama’s war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There’s been no hiccup in this smooth transition from the disastrous invasion of Iraq to Obama’s escalation farther east. The Twittering classes are mostly giving Obama a pass on this one or actively supporting it. Where are the mobilizations, actions, civil disobedience? Antiwar coalitions like United for Peace and Justice and Win Without War (with MoveOn also belatedly adopting this craven posture) don’t say clearly “US troops out now!” They whine about the “absence of a clear mission” (Win Without War), plead futilely for “an exit strategy” (UFPJ). One letter from the UFPJ coalition (which includes Code Pink) to the Congressional Progressive Caucus in May laconically began a sentence with the astounding words, “To defeat the Taliban and stabilize the country, the U.S. must enable the Afghan people…” These pathetic attempts not to lose “credibility” and thus attain political purchase have met with utter failure, as the recent vote on a supplemental appropriation proved. A realistic estimate seems to be that among the Democrats in Congress there are fewer than forty solid antiwar votes.
Not so long ago Sri Lankan government troops launched a final savage onslaught on the remaining Tamil enclaves. In the discriminate butchery of Tamils, whether civilians or fighters, estimates of the dead prepared by the United Nations ran at 20,000 (the report was suppressed by the current appalling UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon). I don’t recall too many tweets in Washington or across this nation about a methodical exercise in carnage. But then, unlike those attractive Iranians, Tamils tend to be small and dark and not beautiful in the contour of poor Neda, who got out of her car at the wrong time in the wrong place, died in view of a cellphone and is now reborn on CNN as the Angel of Iran.
The list of Obama’s sellouts is already far, far beyond the capacity of a tweetgram, which is probably why we don’t hear about them from the Twittering classes. Start with healthcare. Next, how much has Obama committed to financial rescue, telling the waiter that the American middle class will foot the bill for decades to come? ($12.8 trillion at last report.)
Obama recently came up with his master plan for regulating Wall Street to prevent the chicaneries of boom-boom time that brought the world’s economy to its knees. It will now pass from a president bought and paid for by Wall Street to the Senate Finance Committee, also bought and paid for by Wall Street, which won’t even have to gut it because it’s gutless already.
Unemployment is climbing. Call it, at the current rate, 1,000 per hour losing their jobs. Desperate thousands are surging back onto the welfare rolls, pruned brutally by Bill Clinton just over a decade ago, all of this presided over by the Hopeful President, who has blown the best chance in seventy years to take an effective swipe at the looting classes and try to get more money into the pockets of the working poor.
We can pass on to Obama’s ghastly betrayals of all pledges to diminish government secrecy, improve “transparency,” undo the unconstitutional rampages of Bush and Cheney’s jackboot state. Even the modest twitter of a hope that medical marijuana might fare better in Obama-time has now been extinguished by the Justice Department.
It’s darkness at noon, and Obama sails on with scarcely an insulting tweet hurled from liberal lips. Meanwhile the Twitterers hail as an apostle of liberal reform none other than Moussavi, who was Iran’s prime minister from 1981 to ’89 and one of the foulest of that foul gang in the Council of the Cultural Revolution, charged with the Islamization of Iranian society. It was Moussavi who sent murdering squads of thugs into every university, purging secularism and religious minorities. This was in the early ’80s, when batches of hundreds of accused “leftists,” many of them scarcely in their teens, were hanged from cranes in Tehran in a single day. And behind Moussavi is the billionaire Rafsanjani. Compared with this vicious duo, Ahmadinejad is relatively wholesome and, I’d reckon on the analyses and numbers I’ve read so far (see, for example, Esam Al-Amin’s recent piece on the CounterPunch site), the actual winner in the election.
And who’s doing the Twittering? Professor Larry Gross, director of the School of Communication at the University of Southern California, Annenberg, has forwarded from chartingstocks.et a very interesting analysis of the most prolific Twitterers, “a team of people with an interest in destabilizing Iran.” The chartingstocks.et analysis narrowed the spammers down to three of the most persistent: “StopAhmadi,” “IranRiggedElect” and “Change_For_Iran.” “These twitting spammers began crying foul before the final votes were even counted, just as Mousavi had. The spammer @IranRiggedElect created his profile before a winner was announced and performed the public service of informing us in the United States, in English and every 10 minutes, of the unfair election. He did so unselfishly, and without any regard for his fellow friends and citizens of Iran, who don’t speak English and don’t use Twitter.”