Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Heads Up for White House Doublespeak

How does a DINO president stay true to his hardcore fiscal conservatism and still run a populist re-election campaign in the age of OWS? It will be hard, but it doesn't mean he won't continue to try to pretend that we can all tighten our belts and prosper. He'll just have to mask the planned austerity with Hooverisms such as "prosperity is just around the corner and meantime you'll all have to starve because of Republicans while I tout jobs, jobs, jobs."

Or, as Stephen Colbert puts it in his satiric SuperPac slogan: "A Better Tomorrow Tomorrow."

The White House is ham-handedly attempting to ease the purist ideologues of the left into accepting the bullshit.  First of all is today's leak that "the base" is not going to like his proposed budget, to be outlined at next week's SOTU speech. Reading between the lines in a report  in The Hill this morning, it appears that the President will practice the fine art of doublespeak by attempting to translate spending cuts into jobs, jobs, jobs and economic growth. Anybody who reads Paul Krugman on a regular basis knows that you don't cut back government spending in an economic recession or depression. Obama will use the usual ploy of claiming his hands are tied because of that deal with the devil he made last summer during the debt ceiling negotiations, in which agreement was reached for a $1.047 trillion spending cap. The Hill's Alexander Bolton writes:

Obama staffers sought to present their budget plan as a glass half full. According to sources familiar with the briefings, they promised that the president will focus on jobs and the economy, instead of deficit-cutting, which dominated last year’s debate on Capitol Hill.  Obama has signaled in recent weeks that he plans to run a populist reelection campaign. He will need to keep liberal activist and labor groups — important parts of the Democratic base — energized for his strategy to work. 
Bolton reports that even though Obama has made vague suggestions for taxing financial institutions to increase revenue and reduce the deficit, the Administration is still adamantly opposed to a transaction tax on speculative trades. The reason? "Administration officials worry Republicans could frame the proposal as a tax on 401(k) retirement funds, a potentially damaging election-year charge". 

Wow. Re-election trumps the public good. Who knew? So much for talking the populist talk.  He is still walking the same old craven political walk. The curtain rises on Act II of Osawatomie Kabuki theatre.

The excuse about agreed-upon spending caps tying the hands of nouveau-populist Barack is pure malarkey.  Ranking Democrat of the House Appropriations Committee Norm Dicks tells The Seattle Times that the automatic spending cuts due to take effect in the wake of the SuperCommittee fail are bad policy -- and that Republicans and Democrats may be close to reaching a deal to avoid them."Austerity isn't going to get people back to work," said Dicks, who ranks 10th in seniority among the 435 House members. "It's going to increase unemployment, and it's just so obvious."

Since Obama has vowed to veto any end-run around the triggers, it will be interesting to see if he succeeds in fiscal can-kicking until after the election. In the meantime, make sure you have fresh batteries in your bullshit detection meters in time for The Speech this Tuesday.


Denis Neville said...

Obama's "Orwellian World"

“Political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.’’ – George Orwell

“Don’t you see the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expresses in exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten…every year, fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller…” - George Orwell, 1984.

Obama in a pilot's flight suit on the deck of an aircraft carrier under the banner proclaiming "Redefinition Accomplished," Jon Stewart Daily Show:
• “global war on terror,” became the “oversees contingency operation;”
• “terrorist attacks” became “man-caused disasters;”
• “disaster causing camps” are targets of our drones;
• “poisonous toxic assets” became “legacy assets”


The Obama Doctrine: Imperialism Masked as «Humanitarian Interventionism»

“The Obama administration, in yet another display of the use of Orwellian language, has embarked on a military doctrine called "Mass Atrocity Prevention" (MAP), the Pentagon operational plan to implement the White House's "R2P" or "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine…And in yet another display of oxymoronic Orwellian “Newspeak,” the main Defense Department activity for developing “Mass Atrocity Response Operations” or “MARO” is the Army’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI).”

“In the world of the globalists, vulture capitalists and bankers, and militarists, the R2P promoters are now leading the initial military charge up the hill.”


“War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength,” “Lie is Truth.”

Ignorant masses hating those who challenge the status-quo because they see them as the enemy.

Orwell would say, "I told you so!"

Kat said...

Comedy Break!


Anne Lavoie said...

And to relate it to the last post, the evils of 'poverty, racism, and militarism' identified by MLK become 'service', according to the Obamination in the White House.

Denis Neville said...

Obama will just have to mask the planned austerity with Hooverisms.

"In all the languages in all of human history, never has there been a word that crammed more bullshit into less space that “austerity.” - Ben Lehman.

“The fact is that what we’re experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. The policies that got us into this mess weren’t responses to public demand. They were, with few exceptions, policies championed by small groups of influential people — in many cases, the same people now lecturing the rest of us on the need to get serious. And by trying to shift the blame to the general populace, elites are ducking some much-needed reflection on their own catastrophic mistakes.” – Paul Krugman, The Unwisdom of Elites

“Do the dismal economic numbers really reflect the turn to fiscal austerity? I keep hearing people say no, because austerity hasn’t actually happened yet in America. But they’re wrong.” – Paul Krugman, The Austerity Economy

One tiny example:

Pennsylvania children lose Medicaid safety net when entitlement programs are revamped to focus on reducing clients' dependency and saving the state money.

“More children lost Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania in December than in the previous three months combined, according to new Department of Public Welfare numbers that show a total of 88,000 cut since August. Advocates for the poor and disabled say orders to quickly process a backlog of eligibility reviews, which has mushroomed to more than 700,000 cases, have pushed an already overwhelmed workforce over the edge… staff cuts combined with a recession-driven increase in cases, caused work to pile up…child advocates believe thousands have no idea they are now uninsured.”


Will said...


Love the video! Muchas gracias. I needed some comedy after sinking deep into depression while pondering the perfidies of our puppet president over & over again the last few days. (Ah, totally unnecessary alliteration always seems to help turn my frown upside down too. Feelin' better already.)

Denis Neville said...

@ Kat – re: “Stuff Obama Supporter Say”

They are the Urban Dictionary’s definition of the Obamabot:

Obamabot: person who supports Obama and is willing to vote for him but doesn't know a thing about him beyond repeating Obama Camp talking points and/or slogans.

An Obamabot typically can't define, explain or defend Obama's policies. If an Obamabot is pursued or confronted about his or her seeming blind loyalty and lack of knowledge, he or she will typically launch a 'counter attack' (to a perceived attack) and accuse those who differ as racist, ignorant, hateful, etc. and/or will become resentful, indignant, insulting, and even threatening (in cases which are most extreme).

Mary shared her concern about a recent confrontation by an Obamabot that she encountered as she silently wore another candidate's pin. The Obamabot, called Mary a "war monger" and "racist pig" though Mary gave no indication of her opinion. Mary attempted to reason with the Obamabot, but her effort was met with talking points, slogans, angry accusations and insults.

Sound familiar?

Jay - Ottawa said...

Fresh Batteries? Detection meter? We already know what it is and where it’s coming from.

ITYS many posts ago: the first line of defense is clothespins. See red yellow blue picture to the side here. Wear clothespins to OWS gatherings, and at work, and when you ask for that write-in ballot early next November.

DO NOT LEND YOUR CLOTHESPIN TO A YELLOW DOG DEMOCRAT! YDDs (also called 'obamabots') do not use clothespins as intended, that is, as political conversation starters whereby we might engage more fellow Americans about the reasons for the increasing pile of manure in our path. YDDs say they only intend to apply the clothespins to their noses briefly when they vote FOR MORE of the source of the BS next November. That’ll take care of the problem, won't it. They call it pragmatism. I say it's more BS.

Thanks, DW (previous thread): first, for the lines from Brecht; second, for the suggestion that a wall be chiseled long with the names of the many who lent substance to MLK’s dream; and, third, for the reminder that just about every country from every era deserves its people’s history.

Valerie said...

If any of you have not gone back and read Anne's last comment (the 26th of the MLK thread) comparing MLK's message and movement and the Occupy movement, I encourage you to do so. It is one of the most succinct, profound comments I have ever read anywhere.

Anne Lavoie said...

Another excuse that Obamatrons make for their Warlord is that we are the ones who had unrealistically high expectations, based on our own hopes and dreams.

And it's just a coincidence that the Nobel Peace Prize committee had those same unrealistically high expectations, based on nothing but their own hopes and dreams.

Warlord Obama never said anything to give any of us the slightest reason to have hopes, dreams, or expectations for anything other than his current performance. He certainly would never engage in doublespeak.

So it's our own damned fault if we're disappointed!

Denis Neville said...

@ Valerie and Anne

“A Time to Break Silence,” delivered at Riverside Church, was one of Martin Luther King greatest speeches. His exhibition of moral courage speaks to his greatness.

"I have worked too long now, and too hard to get rid of segregation in public accommodations to turn back to the point of segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And wherever I see injustice, I'm going to take a stand against it whether it's in Mississippi or in Vietnam."

“…as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: 'Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?' 'Why are you joining the voices of dissent?' 'Peace and civil rights don't mix,' they say. 'Aren't you hurting the cause of your people,' they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live…

“Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.”

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Denis Neville said...

Scrutinizing Monkey Brains…

Robert M. Sapolsky, professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, examines GOP presidential campaign trail monkey business. Feuding? Posturing? “As any zoologist would instantly recognize, what we have here are a bunch of male primates vying for dominance.”

“Now that Michele Bachmann has dropped out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination, we are left with an array of the usual suspects in American politics — namely a bunch of men who seem to spend much of their lives bragging about how tough they are.”


“And there is an instructive lesson here for this presidential season. As the candidates vie to show how tough they are on Iran, the national debt and those suffering polar bears trying to foist the myth of global warming on us, we should think about those high-ranking, bully-boy rhesus monkeys and their large rostral prefrontal cortexes. It's likely that politicians too have developed parts of their brain that could be put to better use than feuding and posturing. Perhaps it's time for humans to demand that our leaders use their brains for more than coordinating the muscles responsible for chest thumping.”

P.S. Monkeys also sling feces at those they don't like. (Personal observation of a monkey’s response to a “human” tormentor outside his cage, as a child, at the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, MN)

Kat said...

you write: "Obamabot: person who supports Obama and is willing to vote for him but doesn't know a thing about him beyond repeating Obama Camp talking points and/or slogans"
Sadly, I know too many like this. When pressed for details of their affinity for Obama they can give me nothing. Nothing!

James F Traynor said...

I never listened (except for his nomination speech), and don't listen now to anything Obama says. His early appointments said it all. I recognized from the beginning what he was up against, but did expect him to immediately do something about the economic situation. Instead he did the opposite. And his health care bill is a monstrosity. Single payer was too much to expect but his tabling of the public option was a disaster. The man is a menace and we have to face it. We're standing here, naked, in a political shit storm. Write in Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Begin the Second American Revolution! Occupy!

Denis Neville said...

More Team Obama Doublespeak (aka Bullshit) from the Ministry of Truth

Alexander Bolton, The Hill, reports that since housing is poised to become a significant issue in the 2012 campaign season and the Obama’s administration’s efforts to help homeowners have fallen short, “The Obama administration has signaled to allies that it will take a more aggressive role this year in protecting homeowners from foreclosure, a posture that fits with Obama’s populist campaign stance.”


Yves Smith @ nakedcapitalism responds, “The Administration is so far from having a plan that it is only talking about having a plan… Now the only thing the Administration could conceivably do (well it could in theory do a lot, but that would require being in a parallel universe in which Obama had realized he could go down in history as a great president if he leashed and collared the banks) is a really big refi program by Fannie and Freddie…[but] this Administration is not about to inconvenience banks to help homeowners and communities… the horse has left the barn and is in the next county as far as being tough on banks is concerned. Obama has already given so much ground to services that it’s inconceivable that he could claw much back. The OCC has already entered into consent orders that are toothless by design. The seemingly never ending mortgage settlement negotiations if they ever get done are intended to be another “get out of jail almost free” card for bank miscreants.”

“…all grand talk, no new ideas, and most important, no evidence of real will…”


Just more White House populist campaign bullshit!

Valerie said...

Obama cannot serve two masters. He can't serve his investment banking, credit card issuing, mortgage defrauding bank buddies and serve the tax-paying, struggling home owners that are hanging on by a thread. He has to choose - and has already chosen - just as he has chosen war and the MIC over peace. The man is a traitor to the people who voted for him.

With either Obama or Mittens (who is surely to be the Republican nominee)we can expect:

1) endless war and a good portion of our treasury used for war
2) further decline of the middle class and decimation of the working class
3) further gutting of our safety net
4) further and greater empowerment of the corporations
5) further "free" trade agreements
6) a growing police state and further erosion of our civil rights and legal system
7) further sell off of our public lands and publicly owned utilities
8) and deterioration of environmental protection laws
9) weaker pollution standards and free passes to the worst corporate polluters
10) a few lucky ones might get better health care but most of us will still be doing without while the health care industry continues to make record profits
10) a laying off of public employees due to budget cuts
11) a weaker and weaker public education system
12) a declining meritocracy around university studies as university educations become more and more expensive and only the wealthy will be able to afford it.

The list goes on.

Whether Obama wins or doesn’t win, we lose - Time for the American people, particularly democrats to wake up and smell the coffee. We won’t get change until we demand it!

Obama and Mittens are a false choice. It is like me sending my daughter to bed at night when she wants to stay up later. She is allowed to pick out which pyjamas she wears and whether or not she has a story read to her. But in the end, she goes to bed at 7:30 – with or without story - and I am in control.

Bonnie said...

An interesting essay:
A major defense of the president exaggerates Obama's accomplishments and misses the point: his scandalous transgressions against rule of law.


After reading Andrew Sullivan's Newsweek essay about President Obama, his critics, and his re-election bid, I implore him to ponder just one question. How would you have reacted in 2008 if any Republican ran promising to do the following?

(1) Codify indefinite detention into law; (2) draw up a secret kill list of people, including American citizens, to assassinate without due process; (3) proceed with warrantless spying on American citizens; (4) prosecute Bush-era whistleblowers for violating state secrets; (5) reinterpret the War Powers Resolution such that entering a war of choice without a Congressional declaration is permissible; (6) enter and prosecute such a war; (7) institutionalize naked scanners and intrusive full body pat-downs in major American airports; (8) oversee a planned expansion of TSA so that its agents are already beginning to patrol American highways, train stations, and bus depots; (9) wage an undeclared drone war on numerous Muslim countries that delegates to the CIA the final call about some strikes that put civilians in jeopardy; (10) invoke the state-secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits brought by civil-liberties organizations on dubious technicalities rather than litigating them on the merits; (11) preside over federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries; (12) attempt to negotiate an extension of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (an effort that thankfully failed); (13) reauthorize the Patriot Act; (13) and select an economic team mostly made up of former and future financial executives from Wall Street firms that played major roles in the financial crisis.

Valerie said...

Very good points, Bonnie! I wish someone would bring up your exact comment to Obama during a televised interview.

Denis Neville said...

@ Bonnie – Obama’s scandalous transgressions against rule of law

•Obama Administration’s “look forward, not back” policy and the failure of U.S. prosecutors to meaningfully investigate or act in cases involving the use torture or harsh interrogation techniques of prisoners during the Bush era

International human rights groups have turned to the European courts after losing successive efforts to bring cases in U.S. courts. “International investigations are necessary,” says James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. "These crimes are universal crimes and it's very clear that until the United States holds to account those responsible for these crimes, other judicial actors in other countries are going to press for accountability.”

Last week, a judge from Spain’s national security court ordered the resumption of criminal proceedings relating to a GITMO case involving crimes of torture, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. His opinion concluded that the Spanish citizenship of one of the three prisoners furnished the essential jurisdictional connection for Spain. WikiLeaks cables revealed that Spain’s former attorney general had been pressured by American politicians and diplomats to abort any GITMO prosecutions.

A French judge is requesting permission to travel to GITMO to investigate the claims of three Frenchmen that they were tortured and subjected to other acts of barbarity during their detentions there.

“This means that, far from being over, the torture investigations will now enter a new phase—one that parallels the developments following Augusto Pinochet’s rule in Chile and after Argentina’s “dirty war,” when criminal investigations were pursued largely in European courts because amnesty arrangements prevented the pursuit of justice in domestic courts.” – Scott Horton, Spanish Court Resumes Gitmo Prosecution


How often has the United States violated Justice Jackson's insistence that the Nuremburg principles must apply to ourselves as much as they did to Nazi war criminals?

“What makes this inquest significant is that these prisoners represent sinister influences that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust…And let me make clear must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment.” – Robert Jackson, “Opening Statement before the International Military Tribunal”


Accountability for our own war criminals? The Obama administration refuses to recognize, much less resolve, our own war criminals.

Why do we no longer support the Nuremberg principles? Nuremberg? That was then, this is now. Forget it.

What have we learned from the lessons of history? Absolutely nothing. That was then, this is now. Forget it.

Denis Neville said...

Stacking the deck against the Guantanamo defendants

Rear Adm. David Woods, who is in charge of the Guantanamo prison, has issued a draft order that requires all correspondence between the accused and their appointed military lawyers to be reviewed by federal officials.

Kal Raustiala, professor of law and director of the Burkle Center for International Relations at UCLA, writes that this proposed order “threatens to jeopardize the progress made in reversing Guantanamo's tainted legacy as a legal black hole. It likely violates the 6th Amendment's guarantee of the right to counsel, which has long been understood to permit lawyers to communicate confidentially with their clients.”


“Why not simply imprison the suspected terrorists in perpetuity without trial? The chief reason, dating to the landmark Nuremberg tribunal, is the belief that a just and fair trial of even our worst enemies is the best vindication of our nation's values, and the best way to ensure that cycles of revenge are tamped down, individuals are held accountable and the truth emerges.”

“If [the military trials, aka military commissions] are perceived as unfair, they will jeopardize the entire point of war-crimes trials — which is, in the famous words of Justice Robert Jackson, the American prosecutor at Nuremberg, to "stay the hand of vengeance" and submit "captive enemies to the judgment of the law."

We should be ashamed.