Why should he be? Hell is emptying out, and Plutus continues to rise, the hoards of wealth safe, hidden and secure thanks to Potus* and all his devilish minions.
|Barack and Mitch to Plutus: Arise, Repatriate Thyself! (h/t William Blake)|
And if Obama's calm, self-satisfied demeanor didn't convince you that the plutocracy is triumphant, then maybe his actual words will:
The point is, it’s time for us to take care of business. There are things this country has to do that can’t wait another two years or another four years. There are plans this country has to put in place for our future. And the truth is, I’m optimistic about our future. I have good reason to be.I need Americans all across the country who are determined and big-hearted and ask what they can do and never give up and overcome obstacles, and they inspire me every single day.I think that the president's confident persona was more a message to his global compatriots than to a disgusted, fearful American constituency. That's because Obama's next order of business-caretaking and obstacle-overcoming will be his trip to Asia,where he hopes to finally seal the deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He was quite shameless in his goal to work with Republicans to ram through this corporate coup behind our backs. Majority Leader-in-Waiting McConnell is equally as eager to get the job done for his cronies.
The president really does need Americans to be about as engaged (around 30%) as they were on Election Day, when they foolishly thought they were sending a punishing message to the huckster-in-chief and his minions. Obama did admit that he is also listening to the two-thirds of eligible voters who didn't show up. Their silence must indeed be very inspiring to him:
So, the most important thing I can do is just get stuff done and help Congress get some things done.Ironically (and stupidly) enough, though, the next round of TPP negotiations is being held at the US Embassy in Beijing so as to avoid possible eavesdropping by the Chinese government, which is not part of the 12-nation partnership. Obama will ostensibly be in China as part of the separate Asia-Pacific Cooperation Forum (APEC). So, despite the optimism for bipartisan cooperation for trade deals displayed by Obama at his presser, there is a silver lining for the proles:
There are concerns that the TPP countries holding their own meetings in Beijing could irritate China, which is not part of the initiative, as such meetings might take the limelight away from the APEC ministerial and summit meetings China is hosting this year.
U.S. President Barack Obama had said he envisioned a substantial outcome on the TPP in time for his trip to Beijing, but U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman recently admitted there would be no agreement during the APEC forum.
So, while Obama might be "determined" to complete the corporate coup by the end of the year, the rest of the world might not be quite as willing to succumb to multinational corporate greed. Or, the individual greedy interests of the potentates involved might not jibe enough "to get the job done." And if we're really lucky, the Embassy will be bugged and some enterprising Chinese Ed Snowden will leak the goods on how the ruling class plans to stick it to the little guy.The TPP countries have struggled to strike a deal due partly to Japan-U.S. bickering over market access for agricultural products and autos.
A withering editorial published Wednesday in the Chinese Global Times should also give the president pause. Here's what passes for the welcome mat from China's official government press organ:
US public opinion has downgraded Obama. Former president George W. Bush met with criticism due to his failure in the war on terror.
Obama always utters "Yes, we can," which led to the high expectations people had for him. But he has done an insipid job, offering nearly nothing to his supporters. US society has grown tired of his banality.
Undoubtedly, Obama is one of the post-Cold War presidents who had to undergo difficult times. He has encountered the global financial crisis and the decline of US influence. He has found many thorny problems because he is the first African-American president in history. As a result, he can only get limited tolerance and acceptance.
Obama has behaved much more prudently than most of his predecessors, and has thus lacked the ability to push forward complicated issues. What's worse, Obama is in the midst of a time when partisan politics is becoming more extreme.
That party interests are placed higher than the interests of the country and its people is an inherent shortcoming of Western political systems. The problem is particularly acute when the US undergoes difficulties. Cohesion in American society is diminishing.
Obama's best performance is empty rhetoric, while he achieved nothing on issues such as lowering the income gap. The American people have not benefited from the economic recovery.Ouch. Of course, the Chinese people working in the Wal-mart and Foxconn factories for pennies an hour haven't exactly benefited from the Chinese economy either. So this editorial is likely, at least in part, some empty rhetorical payback on the international playground of oligarchic bullies. But still.
All the salesmanship posturing by Obama might be moot anyway, since there's also a ray of bright domestic sunshine to augment the international silver lining. Lori Wallach of Public Citizen writes that Tuesday's Republican "rout" will further reduce Obama's chances of gaining so-called Congressional "fast track authority" to take care of his Big Business clientele:
The issue is not who is Senate Majority leader. The fight over trade authority is always won or lost in the U.S. House of Representatives. Recall that second-term Democratic President Bill Clinton lost a bid for Fast Track in 1998 in the GOP-controlled House with 171 Democrats and 71 GOP members voting “no.” (Clinton had Fast Track for only two of his eight years. Indeed, in the past two decades, the only president to obtain Fast Track was President George W. Bush, and winning that five-year grant required a two-year effort at the start of Bush’s first term and a lot of political capital, after which Fast Track passed by one vote in a GOP-controlled House in 2002.)
The reason that the GOP controlling the Senate could make Fast Track’s passage less likely is related to who will now be writing a trade authority bill. The old Fast Track trade authority mechanism faces a significant bloc of GOP House opposition and virtually no House Democratic support. Outgoing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) had undertaken an inclusive process to get input to write his own version of trade authority, which he dubbed Smart Track. That process and its outcome could have broken the bipartisan House opposition to the old Fast Track system.
A significant bloc of House GOP does not want to delegate more power to Obama, especially as the GOP has been attacking him as the “imperial president” who grabs legislative authority for his own. Tea party activists oppose Fast Track per se and anything that empowers Obama, which leaves GOP lawmakers who support Fast Track exposed to the dreaded tea party primary threat. To make political matter worse, House GOP lawmakers know that even if the GOP votes were available to pass Fast Track on a party line vote, almost no Democrats will vote to give their own president such authority, so any fallout from future trade pacts would be owned solely by the GOP.Gridlock does occasionally have its unintended benefits for regular people. Remember, it was only because of Tea Party intransigence that Obama was unable to ram through his cuts to Social Security and Medicare in 2011, after his last "shellacking."
But wait. With the very crafty and sly Mitch McConnell in power, beware of a reprise of the Bill Clinton-Newt Gingrich partnership from hell that saw, among other atrocities, the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the end of direct cash aid to poor people. Obama and McConnell are already plotting a way to "repatriate" offshore wealth stashes at little to no cost to the greedy hoarders. They could also very well sidestep the "fast/smart track authority" stumbling block altogether, and get some kind of a deal passed in full public view, with the full advice and consent of Congress. In oligarchic paradise, anything is possible. Since the whole purpose of capitalism is continued growth, if they have to relinquish their secrecy, so be it. Public opinion be damned.
The majority of Americans declare themselves disgusted with politicians. But far from being chastened, Obama and McConnell appear on the world stage in full triumphalist mode. "I'm optimistic about our future," crowed the president in the wake of his pseudo-whomping. "I have good reason to be."
So we can't let our guard down. Especially in states where they're celebrating pot legalization. The powers that be would love for you to be permanently mellowed out as they get on with their bipartisan creative destruction.
**Potus: Beltway insider-speak for President of the United States.