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"Selling Out Softly"

Recorded 12-08-10

1) 2:38 Selling Out Softly (long) Mp3

2) 2:02 Selling Out Softly (short) Mp3

Selling Out...Softly, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

[col. writ. 12/8/19 (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The big-eared U.S. president appears before TV cameras and the message he exudes by his hang-dog look is one of surrender and failure.

His speech is halting, peppered with "uhs", and "ums", as he searches for a silver lining in a gathering of dark and foreboding clouds.

If you're old enough (say in your 50's) the mind may flash back to old black and white video of a news conference by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, perhaps discussing the latest chaos from Vietnam.

If you're younger, 'big-eared' is code for the present President: Barack Obama, a man that the old president from Texas could barely imagine.

But in this age, as in that, pictures tell a thousand stories.

And while the present conflict was about taxes instead of war, it was a battle over the most central feature in our lives: the economy.  And in this battle, the president surrendered: two more years of Bush tax cuts to the wealthy.

Oh, it was sprinkled with a little sugar; like continued unemployment benefits, but it had the look and the smell of surrender: the rich won another round.

Both pols had big ears, but Johnson was a legendary political infighter who spent over 10 years in Congress.  He used his power like a cudgel, rewarding friends; but punishing enemies. He knew that politics was about power, and about winning and losing.

He pushed Congress like it hadn't been pushed in 100 years, winning big bills that changed the face of the nation: Medicare, Medicaid, and voting rights.

His ship of state ran aground on the rocky shores of he Vietnam War.

Big ears, yes: but there the similarity ended.

The Congress is fractured, its objectives uncertain; it is vastly unpopular. It passed big bills (like health care) but never sold it; indeed, in the recent mid-terms, members ran from the bills, instead of embracing it.

Johnson didn't win all of his battles, but he won a lot of 'em---and you knew you were in a fight.

 

(c) '10 maj

 

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