What have liberals done for us, where are they now, and who is speaking for them?

I ran across this clip from “The West Wing” the other day.  It really made me think (and convinced me that I have to watch this show).  How could it be stated more succinctly?  This is what liberals have done for us:

This make me wonder: where are the liberals now?  Why aren’t they stopping the constant attacks on our social safety net?  Ostensibly they are in the Democratic Party; but the Democratic Party is not the liberal party anymore.  There is no party for the liberals.  Don’t feed me that bull about the Libertarian Party being the party of liberals either.  Most Libertarians would like nothing more than to completely remove the social safety net in lieu of what can only be called social Darwinism.  If anything the Libertarian Party is the party of yes small government and austerity (you know what the Republicans claim to be).  But I digress, there is no place for liberals in any political party today.  There is just a huge ugly mess to clean up after the two ‘parties’ just trashed the house; and there are no parents to come back and scold them for the damage they have done.  Well, not unless the American people can start acting like responsible parents instead of spoiled selfish brats.

Why can’t you call the Democratic Party liberal?  Often the reason is subtle, like their perceived inability to act.  The main problem though is that you can’t call the Democratic Party liberal just simply because it opposes a slightly more conservative party.  We need to face the fact that the Democratic and Republican parties have moved steadily to the right for the last twenty to thirty years.  Sadly, liberals, by in large, have not noticed that the Democrats no longer represent their interests; instead they represent banks, lawyers, and the corporatocracy, not in word, but in deed.

Let me illustrate how far to the right the Democratic Party has slid by reviewing some of what the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party have done or allowed to be done since President Obama took Office:

I could go on but you get the point.

So who is speaking for the liberals now?  With the exception of Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison I honestly have no idea.  We lost Denis Kucinich.  We lost Barnie Frank.  We lost Anthony Weiner .  Who else is left (pun intended)?

We could try for a new liberal political party.  One problem with this approach is that the Supreme Court has sanctioned the two-party system by allowing laws in various states that make third parties more difficult to form (I will address this in the future).  Another problem is splitting the ‘liberal vote’ which could mean a series of Republican wins and majorities for a long time to come.

So I guess it’s up to us guys.  We have to protest.  We have to push our politicians to represent our interests.  We have to make calls and write letters to our congressmen.  We have to get the money out of politics (or legalized bribery as I like to call it).  We have to push for run-off voting.  We have to push for an end to the two-party system.  We have to elect officials that will stand up for our rights.  If they don’t represent our interests we need to promptly attempt recall elections when possible, or at least vote them out after their term is done.  I wish I had better suggestions.  I welcome your ideas.  Seriously, help.

The War in Mali

As of January 11th, the French are leading a campaign to liberate the people of Mali from an oppressive rebel regime in the north of the country.  The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark have joined in, mostly in support roles.  The common enemy is an Islamic rebel group of ethnic Tuaregs that has been imposing Sharia law and attacking anything and anyone that offends their sensibilities (monuments, manuscripts, businesses, people, etc). The group was making progress further south until the last month when France intervened.

I do not doubt or disagree that the atrocities being perpetrated by the Islamic Tuareg rebels in the north are heinous and should be stopped.  I do wonder if this is another example of western governments capitalizing on Islamophobia and the fear of Al-Qaeda, which supposedly has had its back broken, but seems to crop up wherever resources do.  I wonder what kind of government will eventually replace the rebel government of the north.  Will the current government of Mali, which was installed by a military coup overthrowing a democratically elected president in early 2012, be reinstalled.  Will the Western powers hand the reigns back to this military leadership; or will they attempt to reinstall the democratic government that existed before the coup?  Both the United States and France publicly condemned the military coup that installed the current Mali government in early 2012, but maybe it will prove to be more useful than a democratically elected government.

Some say that the French and even the Canadians are involved in the conflict merely to take control of the strategically important reserves of gold, uranium, and oil in the country.  The Canadian Peace Alliance and the Russia Today are good examples that are clearly not connected by similar goals.  Considering that about 78% of France’s electricity comes from nuclear power plants, it is a definite possibility.  It stands to reason that humanitarian intervention is at least a goal and a pretext, if not merely a pretext.  This situation reminds me of the U.S. military policy elucidated by Bill Clinton (I’d love to find a source on this if anyone can provide me with one) that stated future wars would be fought when there is a convergence of human suffering that should be eradicated and the strategic interests of the U.S. (I am paraphrasing for lack of a source).  It seems obvious to me that this is exactly what the French are doing.

It would be easier to dismiss the possibility that this is a resource grab if France had not “launched 37 major military operations in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa” between 1960 and 2006.  It would also be easier to endorse this war if the French president Francois Hollande had not said “The military operations will last ‘as long as necessary,” and then the French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian had not promptly asserted that French troops would soon withdraw.

A consideration that should be on the minds of U.S. foreign policy makers is the influence the war in Libya had on this conflict.  The successes of the rebel forces have been largely due to an influx of arms that were smuggled into the north from Tuareg warriors who fled after the conflict in Libya.  In other words, America is not exempt from blame for the current conflict.

What would happen if I had my way?  I would see the international community, sanctioned by the Mali government (as at least France has been), take their leave after stabilizing the country.  What I instead foresee is the Western powers, especially France and Canada, sticking around and making sure that their companies have first dibs on any resources in the country.  My inclination is to say that a military dictatorship or a democratic puppet government would be much more pliable when it comes to granting foreign powers access to Mali’s resources (and the profits thereof) instead of a democratically elected government that actually represented the interests of the people of Mali.