Friday, August 5, 2011

The Incredible Pivoting President

Now that President Obama has completed his lead role in Phony Debt Ceiling Crisis Theater and helped tear the first gaping hole in the social safety net at the bidding of his oligarchic masters, it's time for him to pretend to care about "The American People" again.  With a straight face and nary a peep from the corporate media -- just days after neglecting to extend longterm unemployment benefits and the payroll tax holiday* -- he is performing his umpteenth Pivot to Jobs!  He will be touring middle America in a big bus, Palin-style.  The folksy talking points and hypnotic repetitive slogans are already being crafted inside the busy little heads of his campaign operatives. (He's already borrowing the "It Gets Better" phrase from his anti-bullying initiative). He'll be spinning faster than an Olympian figure skater vying for the gold medal.

(If you Google the words "Obama, Pivot, Jobs" you will get over 17,000 hits for news articles and blogs containing the so-original pivoting meme).

Despite Thursday's panicky Wall Street sell-off, the Labor Department numbers out today were slightly less horrendous than originally feared. Obama managed to magically transform the news into prosperity that is just around the corner.  But not so fast -- even with the edition of 117,000 private sector jobs, the situation is not only stagnant, it's getting worse. According to economist Dean Baker:

This rate of job growth is below the 90,000 a month needed to keep pace with the growth of the labor force. Consistent with this fact, the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) fell slightly to 58.1 percent, tying its previous low for the downturn. While the unemployment rate edged down to 9.1 percent, this was entirely attributable to people leaving the labor force.

Obama is very cleverly pivoting speechifying on creating jobs for returning veterans -- not only  because the images of their homeless numbers starving under bridges evoke our national outrage, but also because the planned drawdown of troops from Afghanistan will only lead to even more homeless vets and more bad numbers unless he acts. Besides, if we were even thinking about complaining he is doing nada for civilians, he can thus accuse us of being ideological purists who do not Support The Troops!

Of course, in keeping with his Hooveresque stance that the government itself can do nothing to create jobs, his pivotal plan will involve giving businesses those all-important tax breaks for hiring vets.  So if you were dreaming of a new WPA or CCC or any shovel-ready infrastructure projects instead, then you were smoking something.

Also, the president doesn't want to have to look out the window and see this:

Bonus Army 1932.... Hooverville Central
 Or this:

Homeless Man Arrested After Jumping White House Fence
 Actually, Obama possibly did see this.  James Crudup, 41, made it all the way to the presidential front yard Tuesday night before being nabbed by the ever-ready Secret Service.  The White House was immediately put on lock-down.  Obama was uninjured. I can't say the same for the millions of unemployed or underemployed people wondering how they're going to pay the bills this month. 

* Update: Marie Burns of via Paul Krugman: The president didn't extend the payroll tax because the Republicans wouldn't agree to it in debt ceiling negotiations.  "This is a stunning fact that every American should know, but they don't. Because Democrats -- including the DINO president -- won't tell them," writes Burns.


Valerie said...

I just read that Standard and Poor downgraded the U.S. AAA rating despite Obama's grand bargain. One has to wonder - who does this benefit? And who is S & P REALLY working for? In other words, who in hell are these people?

Denis Neville said...

Obama’s leading role in Phony Debt Ceiling Crisis Theater, helping rip a gaping hole in the social safety net at the bidding of his oligarchic masters.

“That's the way things go when you elevate mediocre people to positions of authority.”- Colonel Cathcart on the latest unnecessary mission to bomb a small undefended village, Catch-22

Our Incredible Pivoting President (OIPP). It's time to pretend to care about "The American People" again.

“The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22

OIPP’s jobs for veterans. Don’t even think about complaining.

“They're trying to kill me,” Yossarian told him calmly.
“No one's trying to kill you,” Clevinger cried.
“Then why are they shooting at me?” Yossarian asked.
“They're shooting at everyone,” Clevinger answered. “They're trying to kill everyone.” “And what difference does that make?” - Yossarian explains to his friend Clevinger why he is not crazy for thinking people are trying to kill him, Catch-22

OIPP’s Hooveresque the government itself can do nothing to create jobs.

“I'd like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry.” – Milo, Catch-22

“This time Milo had gone too far. Bombing his own men and planes was more than even the most phlegmatic observer could stomach, and it looked like the end for him...Milo was all washed up until he opened his books to the public and disclosed the tremendous profit he had made.” - Milo's double dealing profits from getting the Germans to bomb his own outfit, Catch-22

OIPP doesn’t want us to see the above, or recognize Yossarian’s truth.

"The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on. And don't you forget that, because the longer you remember it, the longer you might live." - Yossarian to Clevinger, Catch-22

But Clevinger did forget. He was dead.

“Open your eyes, Clevinger. It doesn't make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead.” Yossarian to dead Clevenger, Catch-22

“Dear Mrs., Mr., Miss, or Mr. And Mrs. Daneeka: Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father, or brother was killed, wounded, or reported missing in action.” - Colonel Cathcart sends Doc Daneeka's wife one of Whitcomb's generic condolence letters, Catch-22,

Karen Garcia said...

Great "Catch-22" quotes. That book sure is one timelessly apt piece of literature. I am going to re-read it as a sanity retention aid.

Kat said...

Did you catch that Obama wants to work on ratifying 3 new trade agreements? One with Colombia. Colombia! I guess it's safe for the corporatocracy now that we've asserted our military authority down there-- oh, I meant worked with their army to "professionalize" them.

4Runner said...

Dear Pivoting President,

No way I'm pi-voting 4 U.


Napoleon said...

I think Karen is right in the last reason she gives for Obama's foray in promoting jobs for veterans, namely, concern for the public relations damage to his image if homeless or unemployed veterans were pictured protesting in D.C. or elsewhere.

If the veterans were products of a military draft, I think a reasonably good argument could be made for seeking a preference for them in job opportunities. However, for veterans of a professional, relatively well paid military who have better benefits than in the past, I think the case for a preference, particularly one singled out for backing by a president, is much weaker.

Even when the draft was in vogue, giving employment preferences to veterans was publicly challenged, and rightly so, on the ground that it discriminated unfairly against women. That argument today is also weaker since women have fewer restrictions in joining a professional military.

I should like to hear what union leaders, and other leaders of the unemployed, think of the job preference idea for veterans. I see nothing wrong with debate on the merits of the idea, especially if the debate is accompanied by a comparative analysis of the status of returning veterans with the status of those who have been long unemployed. After all, there are millions of veterans, and how many preferences should any one of them receive? These are issues requiring reflection and analysis by progressives and others, and not a stampede, in a period of widespread economic distress and sense of hopelessness.

Anne Lavoie said...

Pivoting to jobs? Ho, hum. The media is playing right along, as if they haven't seen this same act over and over again, to no effect.

I find it interesting that Obama can get all passionate and forceful and act like a leader when it comes to wars and supporting the troops, but he can't bring himself to act like a leader when it comes to domestic issues and securing the country economically. He much prefers backpedaling, breaking promises, and making backroom deals that obviously weaken the country to standing and fighting for anything domestically. Of course we know whose interests he is serving.

I've begun to wonder about him personally. Obama has expressed great admiration for Lincoln, and he seems to feel purpose and strength from his own role as Commander in Chief. That is the only role he puts his heart and soul into.

We are also a country that is tearing apart at the seams, as it was during the Civil War. Put the two together and we could find ourselves with a President who fails to recognize or stop a civil war in the making. Regardless of the psychology of wars giving men a sense of purpose and passion, whose financial interests would be served for one to occur?

I have come to the belief that our national security here at home is seriously weakened and compromised by Obama's lack of leadership, and because he will not fight for our country's interests here at HOME.

Frankly, I think Obama should resign, and we should be demanding it. Our national security depends on it.

Anonymous said...

Here's an election night '08 clip of Ralph Nader asking if Obama would be an Uncle Sam for our country or an Uncle Tom for the corporations. Check out the faux outrage from Faux News at his usage of that particular descriptive too.

P.S. Whatever you think about Ralph, you can't say he didn't warn us. I'm just sorry we didn't listen and had to learn the hard way.

-- William

Anonymous said...

The essential problem, of course, is that there are, so far, few civilian jobs for automatic riflemen.

Neil Gillespie said...


Appreciate you sentiments, but if Obama resigns, then Joe Biden becomes president. Biden is notorious for his support of the banking and credit card industry, much of it incorporated in Delaware, Biden’s home state. Biden was a big supporter of the 2005 bankruptcy bill.

From ABC News

"Experts say hundreds of thousands of Americans may have lost their homes due to a bill championed by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., Barack Obama's vice-presidential running mate.

At least two studies have concluded that the United States' foreclosure crisis was exacerbated by a 2005 law that overhauled the nation's bankruptcy law. That conclusion is echoed by other experts, although the banking and credit industry disputes it.

Congressional Republicans drove the effort to pass the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005. But Biden – who has enjoyed hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from credit industry executives – endorsed the measure early on and worked to gather Democratic support for it.

Biden's early and vocal support was "essential" to the bill's passage, said Travis Plunkett of the Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Consumer Federation, which opposed the measure. Biden "went out of his way to undermine criticism of the legislation," and his efforts helped convince other Democrats to support the bill."

Anyone who doubts that the Federal Reserve is a big part of our problems should recall JFK's Executive Order 11100 abolishing the Fed of June 4, 1963. JFK was assassinated five months later. Maybe Jim Marrs was right in "Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy"

Are there any real Democrats left? (like FDR, JFK, RFK, MLK?)

So many current Democrats love the banks and warmongering. Can anybody remind me why Obama was given a Nobel Peace Prize?


Nader was right, but there was not much choice in 2008. McCain/Palin? The Democrats were in love with Obama, and love is blind.