An incredible summer we’ve had here in Chicago. Not too hot. I think we’ve had two ninety degree days, although a day like today, which I saw clocked at 81, felt like 95. I’m not trying to gloat, rather to be grateful; no doubt someday, dead. And humid. It’s been humid every single day this summer. The only complaint really a Chicagoan could have. It must be the gigantic bathtub nearby. Moreover, despite the chaos all around, and even the very real threat of WW3, Chicago has been much a cup of calm in the chaos; for me at least. I’m white and live on the North side. Not the same for those on the South and West sides who have suffered another vicious round of gun violence. Vicious firestorms in the west and southwest? Don’t affect Chicago. Typhoons in Japan, and another major earthquake? Didn’t even feel it in Chicago? It’s only the politics that threaten Chicago. And what a threat. A war-threat; for as is only right in this great empire, we in Chicago are blessed with a warmonger mayor, Emanuele by name. You ought to know his history and that he was Obama’s chief of staff. There is a garbage can I saw stuffed with garbage on Labor Day (sic). As I write on Thursday morning it is still stuffed. At the same time Emanuele doles out his Tax Increment Financing slush fund to his mutual and trust fund rulers of the roost.
I was in a bar this evening; when the perfect blond. Where’s a blond joke when you need one? announced to me, admittedly in response to my query as to what she thought about “the president”…Initially she asked which one. As always, not sensitive to the estrogen-spirit, I snapped at her, President Ju Hintao, who do you think I’m talking about? I blame myself, because I’m one who likes to endure the guilt of a situation, but not the punishment. But she had the unmitigated gall, and I called her on her lying, to tell me, and I quote, “I love President Obama.” I was crestfallen. This is President Obama now, the second coming of George Bush fils, only with black skin, and infinitely more eloquent. I said, “no, it couldn’t be,” in all seriousness. She just as seriously told me it was true. She loves President Obama. And I’m thinking at this moment, just as I told her, but that jackass is on the brink of starting WW3. And she would have none of it. Simply wasn’t true. I asked, “You didn’t vote for him, did you?” She smiled, and asked me “what” as if in jest. I said “You didn’t vote for him, did you?” She smiled as if there were no more an affirmative needed, but she added, “Of course.” I was not crestfallen this time but dumbfounded. Because she’s working a bar which is hosting the Chicago First Tuesday gala with Ben and Mick. “Not twice?” I protested. She just as gaily announced, “Yes.” And I protested for the last time, “But fool me once and all that.” To which she announced with the sternness of a middle-aged judge, “Hey listen, I don’t want to talk politics. I want to tend bar.”
This is the thing about Obama. Oh, and by the way, this bartendress has kids; which is to say a future I don’t, of ten and fourteen I think she said. The policy remains the same; only the color of the skin has changed. And that, only to protect the innocent. How could she? I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to call her a blond bimbo, although she was blond; for I’m the bimbo. Unlike his predecessor, attempt to start WW3 in Ukraine, check. Jailed not a single Wall Street banker after the most brazen financial heist in the history of financial heists, check. Turned the open air prison of Gaza into a free-fire zone, check. It’s all negative for Obama, except for the color of the skin. But have we so soon forgotten what Martin Luther King advised? That a man should be judged by the content of his character, and not the color of his skin? As Alexander Cockburn pointed out, George W. Bush was the best thing that ever happened to US Empire for it was so patently obvious what the ruling elite’s modus operandus and agenda were. Obama’s quashed all that with the slick tongue. Even the peace movement is moribund under Obama. Cockburn also suggested that so long as the United States had nuclear weapons so should every country; which is a tough rock to swallow. But it’s true and I agree with him, although I didn’t when I first read his thesis. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
How people go on with their days as if it’s as nightmarish as it can get say in the winter occasionally – but not always because Chicago deserves renown too as a place where winters can be as mild as this summer – in the same mundane ways, especially as WW3 threatens, are as inexplicable as some of my own character defects. In the midst of the war and madness, almost all of it the responsibility of the United States, take the coup against the democratically elected government of Ukraine for example fomented by the same agent as that which murdered President Allende in 1973. Still the season in Chicago is to die for. It’s survivor’s guilt then; non-sufferers guilt. It’s like a cup of calm in the midst of absolute madness, war, and chaos. It defies karma.
With the exception of perhaps two 90 degree days it’s been perfect sunshine and 80s all summer. The humidity has often been unbearable, but that seems a small price to pay compared to so many people who suffer the anguishes of the multitudes in Haiti, Palestine or the greater Middle East – Eretz Israel to a Zionist; places that have almost uniformly been fucked up by US politics. Voices like David Brooks, Dick Cheney, Charles Krauthammer, war criminals is a more apt description, are critiquing President Obama’s approach to foreign policy as if they weren’t completely wrong about Iraq circa 2003. Completely utterly wrong; and not only wrong, but outright deceitful. Anybody who was paying the slightest attention knew Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, the whole pretext for the invasion of 2003. Indeed, weapons inspectors were in Iraq until they were withdrawn by the warmongers in the Bush regime, antecedent to the invasion. I’m not suggesting Obama’s Iraq policies are qualitatively different than his predecessor’s; they’re not. Issue for issue, Obama, setting aside the more egregiousness of it, has continued and codified the worst excesses of his predecessor. Unlike the oaf and intellectual midget, Obama is slicked-tongued. You’d hardly know he was black if you couldn’t witness it in the flesh. But the first step to solving a problem is identifying it in the first place, and that the corporate media trots out War Criminal #2, Dick Cheney, to illustrate the failures of the Obama regime in Iraq surpasses chutzpah.
In much the same way, to exemplify the celebrated American value of partisanship: Clinton presided over two thirds of the twelve year US-led, UN sanction regime in Iraq that killed 1.5 million Iraqis half of them children, and also bombed it every other day for Clintonian good measure. His Secretary of State Madeline Albright was quizzed by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes and announced to all the world for sheer cold-blooded terror, that the price of killing 200,000 Iraqis via sanctions, more than were killed in the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was “worth it.” The fact ignored by US imperialists, by the likes of Madeline Albright, or more likely recognized by themselves as a virtue, is that no means justifies the end of killing a single child. Thomas Friedman, war criminals such as George Will, there’s a whole list of just journalists from the Bush regime that ought to be at the gallows. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Bully, John Stossel. David Brooks. They’re like Nietzsche’s Flies in the Marketplace. They become too tiresome to swat. Charles Krauthammer is another fly. He got Iraq completely wrong. Whether his was a lie, a conspiracy of omission or commission, only he knows. And the Chicago Tribune still publishes his syndicated column as if Krauthammer’s is a voice that should be taken seriously. And people fret that institutions, if such they may be called, such as the Tribune are succumbing to technology. Why? David Brooks is still published in the New York Slimes. Nietzsche again: They vomit their gall and call it a newspaper.
It’s true it would be insanity to hope for a different result of Obama’s same policies. Unfortunately for everyone, one has to wonder for all his intellectual brilliance is Obama really that obtuse. He purports to enact change by means of the self-same policies as his pale-skinned predecessor. The policies remain the same, only the color of the skin has changed.