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America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

D'Souza Goes Off the Edge

Dinesh D'Souza has written one of the most ridiculous articles ever published, "How Obama Thinks," in Forbes. Naturally, Newt Gingrich thinks it's one of the most brilliant.

To give you an idea of how slipshod the article is, look at this:
Obama's foreign policy is no less strange. He supports a $100 million mosque scheduled to be built near the site where terrorists in the name of Islam brought down the World Trade Center. Obama's rationale, that "our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable," seems utterly irrelevant to the issue of why the proposed Cordoba House should be constructed at Ground Zero.
Yes, I too wondered what this has to do with foreign policy.

D'Souza has been trying to figure out what makes Obama tick, and now he thinks he has:
It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. [whom young Obama met twice] 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.
All I can say is, would that Obama did believe that! Barack Obomber's military policies in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and a dozen other Muslim countries hardly suggest an anti-colonial mindset. Shooting Hellfire missiles at civilians from aerial drones strikes me as an odd way to express solidarity with oppressed people in the Third World.

As for politician economy, in a corporatist economy, where people make fortunes as government contractors, profits can indeed be a measure of plunder. There is a ruling class that takes advantage of the rest of us.

Yes, the U.S. government is the world's bully. D'Souza is in denial, but is it really necessary to demonstrate that? It seem rather obvious.

D'Souza writes,
Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father's dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost.
You can't write such drivel without being a either nut or a cynic hoping to whip up anti-Obama sentiment among the gullible. I vote for the latter.

All I can say is, I'd rather be ruled by a dead Kenyan anticolonialist than by a live American politician, least of all Newt Gingrich.

Another clue to how D'Souza thinks is this: "Colonialism today is a dead issue. No one cares about it except the man in the White House. He is the last anticolonial."

Wrong. Colonialism is far from dead, and some of us do care about it. Not only is the U.S. actively intervening in lots of other countries overtly and covertly, partly for economic reasons, it is also engaged in a much less obvious form of neocolonialism. Every trade pact, bilateral or multilateral, compels less-developed countries (LCD) to adopt stringent U.S.-style intellectual "property" laws the upshot of which is to force indigenous producers to pay heavy tribute to American patent holders before they can produce goods for their internal markets or for export. This is the new colonialism. We don't demand that they buy our consumer goods; actually, we buy theirs. Rather we demand that they pay us for the right to use technological ideas that properly are not ownable by anyone.

Obama is such a conventional, establishment politician that I cannot figure out why he drives the right-wing so crazy that they have to portray him as some kind of alien. D'Souza and Gingrich are even too much for some of their allies.

For more on D'Souza's idiotic article, see Shikha Dalmia's takedown.


Huebert said...

I heard D'Souza on Glenn Beck's radio show the other day, going on and on about how much you can tell about Obama simply by considering that he stopped calling himself "Barry" and started calling himself "Barack." I might have guessed that he went by "Barack" because it's his name, but D'Souza is sure that's not so.

Beck loved it, of course. "This is what I've seen saying all along!"

Bob Kaercher said...

Wouldn't it be something if Obama was inspired by such vitriol to finally say, "Aw, fuck it!" and decide to actually live up to the American Right's hyped mischaracterization of him as some kind of "anti-colonialist" hippy and withdrew--REALLY withdrew--ALL US forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, et al??? We should be so lucky.

BTW, on a side note--does anyone know if there's one single Tea Party backed candidate for US Congress who is against the ongoing US Global War of Terror and Foreign Occupation Unto Eternity? So far, I don't see one, unless I'm overlooking somebody.

steven said...

Sheldon, sorry for the unrelated question, but I'm curious about something on your site. You have the Iraq Body Count link on the right hand side of your page, which lists the estimated Iraqi deaths due to U.S. invasion. It's based on The Lancet numbers. But I thought that The Lancet numbers had been determined to be substantially overstated. Has there been a change of informed opinion (or am I just losing my mind)?

Also, you previously had an estimate of deaths of Iraqi civilians link here, but the numbers were much lower, somewhere around 100K the last I remember. What's the difference between that estimate and the one you show now?

Sheldon Richman said...

At this point, I don't know where the earlier estimate came from. This is obviously an area where precision will elude counters. But why are the critics of the Lancet -- actually Johns Hopkins -- to be taken seriously? Who are they and what do they say is wrong with the numbers? They could easily be an underestimate. Here's what Juan Cole wrote in 2006 about this issue.

Sheldon Richman said...

@Bob, not that I'm aware of.

@Jacob, Re Beck: Why am I not surprised?

steven said...

Thanks for the link, Sheldon. It was very informative.

The link that you used to have on your site is at www.iraqbodycount.org. It's the same site that I remember seeing here a while ago.

Tom said...

"Obama is such a conventional, establishment politician that I cannot figure out why he drives the right-wing so crazy that they have to portray him as some kind of alien. D'Souza and Gingrich are even too much for some of their allies."

I think that's the point. Gingrich et al. have to contrive differences between themselves and Obama. They live in the constant fear that the typical American will wake up and realize that there is very little philosophical difference between the two supposed adverseries.