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On Lou Dobbs

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  • Steven L. Robinson
    ... From: Joaquin Bustelo To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition Sent: Wednesday,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2006
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Joaquin Bustelo" <jbustelo@...>
      To: "'Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition'"
      Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 8:34 AM
      Subject: [Marxism] On Lou Dobbs


      Since we're talking about fascism, I think I should add that I see
      increasing signs of the anti-immigrant movement in the United States taking
      on clear fascist characteristics.

      What I mean is the anti-corporate and anti-capitalist demagogy that is
      increasingly being deployed and gaining an upper hand in this movement, as
      well as the increasing use of direct action tactics by these scum.

      And this strain of nativism is being promoted above all by Lou Dobbs on his
      nightly CNN show.

      It is significant to remember in this regard Lou Dobbs's trajectory. He had,
      I think it was
      for two decades, or close to, until dot-com silliness overwhelmed him at the
      height of that bubble and he relinquished his million dollar or more a year
      CNN salary, CNN anchor chair, and editorial control of CNN's "Moneyline" to
      head space.com (he had always been a space nut, he confessed), by far the
      most successful and *genuine* financial news show on television.

      Genuine in the sense that Dobbs and his collaborators succeeded in becoming
      the TV expression of the leading forces in U.S. finance capital. A friend
      with a long memory still at CNN (one of the *very* few left from the Ted
      Turner days) reminded me a few days ago that Dobbs INSISTED his old show be
      referred to as "financial news," rather than "business" or "economic" news
      -- and woe to the scribbler or hack that got it wrong, if Dobbs got wind of

      But more is involved that Dobbs's ego, even though it far exceeds his
      substantial girth.

      Dobbs is not some Alabama or Georgia "Grand Kleagle" who has stashed his
      robes in the closet, but rather someone connected with the highest circles
      of U.S. finance capital.

      Moreover, his evolution in the last couple of years towards
      "leftist"-sounding denunciations of corporate "betrayals" of America --an
      America which he seeks to identify with the interests of the working stiff
      (a concern that he never betrayed as anchor of the old Moneyline)-- has not
      cost him his corporate sponsorships.

      The scuttlebutt in the TV news business is that CNN keeps him on the air,
      despite his blatant, embarrassing and offensive editorializing and
      grandstanding, because he brings home the bacon: supposedly his demographics
      skew very high on the socio-economic ladder.

      And at any rate there's supposedly no other show on CNN, and some say in the
      entire TV news racket, that can charge as much per pair of eyeballs for
      commercial spots as his show gets.

      What is becoming increasingly evident to me, however, isn't about his
      corporate ties, but that Dobbs's *specific* demagogic approach is spreading
      throughout the anti-immigrant movement. He is winning the "battle of ideas"
      on the right. It is a vision that presents Bush not as a (perhaps confused
      or ineffectual) member of "our" [the right wing "American"] camp, but rather
      as one of the "least bad" people in the OTHER camp. This is a movement that
      conceives of itself as the beginning of an alternative to the entire
      spectrum from "mainstream" Karl Rove Republicans through to the "extreme"
      liberalism of a Ted Kennedy or Bernie Saunders.

      Thus far, this is just a "move" by nutty right-wingers that has yet to
      achieve real "movement" status: a handful of fruitcakes per state do not a
      movement make, except, perhaps in the bowels.

      But the economy seems to be going into nosedive. A crash in the real estate
      sector is not just there, because of the success over the past quarter
      century of American finance capital in turning mortgages into securities.

      A 10-25% correction in housing prices will mean that many/most security-ized
      American mortgages will be "guaranteed" by a claim on properties worth less
      (much less, once you deduct the fees of lawyers, brokers, bankers and other
      parasites) than the debt owed. That would turn those financial instruments
      from "investment-grade" into "speculative," meaning they would be dumped
      massively by pension fund chiefs and other financial managers, exacerbating
      the collapse.

      Under such a cascading collapse, especially if mortgage loans begin to get
      called in (homeowners in the US on this list may want to begin reading the
      scores of pages of "boilerplate" legal language they signed at the closing
      of the purchase of "their" home), the distance between Dobbs's anchor chair
      and a "Dobbs [or someone else like him] for president" MASS movement --mass
      FASCIST movement-- is likely to be measured in months, and perhaps months
      not exceeding the single digits.

      Of one hand.

      I don't feel good or satisfied or smug about this analysis. I've been trying
      to figure out what's wrong with it, why it couldn't, can't and won't happen,
      for a couple of months now.

      I'd like to grow old, or at least a little older, under a political regime
      like what I've experienced my entire political life, from the age of 14
      when I first became active until now, when I'm 55.

      But there's that voice in the back of my head telling me, "you're fooling
      yourself, and you've not been smoking anything that could possible excuse
      such illusions."

      And then, there is Lou Dobbs, smiling at me from my TV screen thanks to his
      corporate sponsors, and telling me how the corporations are using illegal
      alien invaders to screw the little guy -- and politicians like Kennedy and
      Bush aren't doing jack shit about it.

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