Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have a Very Classist Christmas

Until I read all about it in The Huffington Post, I never would have known that I have permission from the Obamas to start celebrating. Until they boarded Air Force One for their annual jaunt to Hawaii, we hoi polloi had supposedly been agonizing over the Fiscal Cliff right along with them. So as long as the first family can take some time off, we can too. Because this is a democracy, where everybody who does their fair share and plays by the same rules gets a fair shake, and gets it good and hard.

It's that most wonderful time of the year, when Barack and Michelle deliver their annual holiday greeting to America. And that message, of course, consists of how we should all forget how rotten and miserable our own lives are, and instead feel guilty about how much more rotten are the lives of the men and women fighting the endless wars on behalf of the military-industrial complex.

It's a day late, but this is timeless:

THE PRESIDENT: Hi everybody. This weekend, as you gather with family and friends, Michelle and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays.

THE FIRST LADY: We both love this time of year. And there’s nothing quite like celebrating the holidays at the White House. (or in any house with heat and a roof, and that is not in foreclosure.)  It’s an incredible experience and one that we try to share with as many folks as possible.

This month, more than 90,000 people have come through the White House to see the holiday decorations. And our theme for this year’s holiday season was “Joy to All” – a reminder to appreciate the many joys of the holidays: the joy of giving…the joy of service…and, of course, the joy of homecomings.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. This weekend, parents are picking up their kids from college – and making room for all that laundry they bring with them. Children are counting down the hours until the grandparents arrive. And uncles, aunts and cousins are all making their way to join the family and share in the holiday spirit.
(We are covertly signalling that our base consists of upper middle class families who not only have kids in college, but whose parents have both the time and the reliable wheels and modern appliances needed to deliver concierge service to their offspring. America is one great big Hallmark commercial, in which there is no want, no hunger, no unemployment.... and no laundromats in blighted strip malls! Over the river and through the woods or even next door to the well-off Grandma who, like multimillionaire granny Nancy Pelosi, can absolutely live with chained CPI because she is not among the millions of seniors already living in poverty who will suffer even more when I finally achieve my own personal dream of selling out the safety net to my Wall Street overlords.) 

THE FIRST LADY: That’s what makes this season so special – getting to spend time with the people we love most.

THE PRESIDENT: And this year, that’s especially true for some of our military families. You see, the war in Iraq is not really over. The transition in Afghanistan will not be happening is underway. After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home. And all across America, military families are reuniting. (at cemeteries and federal VA hospitals {where employees' Christmas bonuses consisted of my extending their pay freeze for another three months} and prisons and at facilities for the permanently brain-injured.)

So this week let’s give thanks for our veterans and their families. And let’s say a prayer for all our troops – especially those in Afghanistan – who are spending this holiday overseas, risking their lives to defend the freedoms we hold dear. (the freedoms of the plutocrats and the defense contractors to make billions and billions and billions of dollars as we impose our democracy on the rest of the world in the form of predator drones, a thousand military bases and counting, military psy-ops and CIA shadow wars, and secret prisons where all torture is now outsourced.)

THE FIRST LADY: And remember, when our men and women in uniform answer the call to serve, their families serve right along with them. Across this country, military spouses have been raising their families all alone during those long deployments. And let’s not forget about our military kids, moving from base to base – and school to school – every few years, and stepping up to help out at home when mom or dad is away.

Our military families sacrifice so much on our behalf, and Barack and I believe that we should serve them as well as they serve this country. That’s why Dr. Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces – an effort to rally all Americans to honor and support our veterans and military families. Just go to to find out how you can show your gratitude for their service.
(Joining Forces is actually the brainchild of the Center for a New American Security, a neoliberal think tank begun by out-of-work Clintonites during the Bush II Administration. Michelle and Jill are  being used as maternal apparatchiks of the MIC, to lend a feel-good glow to what is essentially a fascist front group run by financiers and defense industry lobbyists. One of the newest members of the CNA Advisory Board, for example, is Richard Parsons, the CEO of Citigroup, who is also helping spearhead the Wall Street/"Fix the Debt" campaign to shred the social safety net, and who also serves on the president's in-house CEO lobby quaintly known as the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. George Carlin was right: "It's a big club -- and you ain't in it.")

THE PRESIDENT: Because that’s what this season is all about. For my family and millions of Americans, it’s a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. To reflect on His life and learn from His example. Every year, we commit to love one another. To give of ourselves. To be our brother’s keeper. To be our sister’s keeper. But those ideas are not just part of our faith. They’re part of all faiths. And they unite us as Americans.
(I can utter that unctuous sentence, because as a psychopath, I possess no conscience and no belief in self-reflection. Separating my putative Christianity from my maintenance of a Kill List which results in the deaths of thousands of innocents is as easy as pie.)
THE FIRST LADY: In this country, we take care of each other. And in this season of giving, it’s inspiring to see so many people all across America taking the time to help those most in need.
(It's inspiring to see poor desperate people taking care of other poor desperate people, because by the time my husband gets through with you, you'll all be a bunch of drowning rats without a safety net. Just be grateful that Barack is offering you a fig leaf  in the form of temporary tax increases for rich people to make you all feel better about your plight. ) 

THE PRESIDENT: That’s part of what makes us such a compassionate nation. And this year, I know many of you are extending that kindness to the families who are still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy and your prayers to the people of Newtown, Connecticut.
(Because I have been so busy with the Fiscal Cliff psychodrama and offering up all your poor bodies on the altar of corporate greed, I just haven't had time to lambast Congress over their failure to provide any extra financial aid to the storm victims. And prayers for gun victims is about the best I can do right now, as I wipe the Hollywood glycerine from my eyes.)

THE FIRST LADY: So thank you for all that you’ve done this year on behalf of your fellow Americans.
THE PRESIDENT: And on behalf of my favorite Americans – Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Bo – Merry Christmas, everybody. (I care more about my dog than I do you, my less-favorite Americans. Why else would I have named him after myself?)

THE FIRST LADY: Happy holidays.
Postscript: You will happy to know that Barack and Michelle have just been awarded grand prize in the "Power Couple of the Year" contest sponsored by HuffPo. Here's why:
Full Name: Michelle Obama
Occupation: First Lady of the United States
Big Wig Affiliation: Beyonce
Claim to Fame: First African-American First Lady of the United States
Current Status: The First Lady is currently up for a Grammy nomination in the spoken-word category for her book, “American Grown.”
Word for Word: “We work out together every day. I usually get up to the gym a little before he does, because I start my day a bit earlier–I [have] hair, makeup, things that he doesn’t have to do. I continue to remind him of that. He usually gets up there when I’m halfway through, so we spend the morning checking in, watching Sports Center.”
 Full Name: Barack Obama
Occupation: President of the United States
Big Wig Affiliation: Bill Clinton
Claim to Fame: First African-American President
Current Status: The president is gearing up for his second inauguration in 4 years, taking place in Washington D.C. on January 21.
Word for Word: "Obviously I couldn't have done anything that I've done without Michelle. . . . not only has she been a great first lady, she is just my rock. I count on her in so many ways every single day."
You really can't make this shit up.


Denis Neville said...

No, you really can't make that shit up.

As W.C. Fields once said, “If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

They have a compassionate deficit worthy of Dostoevsky’s Heavenly Christmas Tree. Christ would weep.

Franklin Roosevelt’s 1939 Christmas Eve greeting to the nation stands in stark contrast:

“The old year draws to a close. It began with dread of evil things to come and it ends with the horror of another war adding its toll of anguish to a world already bowed under the burden of suffering laid upon it by man's inhumanity to man.

But, thank God for the interlude of Christmas. This night is a night of joy and hope and happiness and promise of better things to come. And so in the happiness of this Eve of the most blessed day in the year I give to all of my countrymen the old, old greeting-"Merry Christmas- Happy Christmas."

A Christmas rite for me is always to re-read that immortal little story by Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol." Reading between the lines and thinking as I always do of Bob Cratchit's humble home as a counterpart of millions of our own American homes, the story takes on a stirring significance to me. Old Scrooge found that Christmas wasn't a humbug. He took to himself the spirit of neighborliness. But today neighborliness no longer can be confined to one's little neighborhood. Life has become too complex for that. In our country neighborliness has gradually spread its boundaries—from town, to county, to State and now at last to the whole Nation.

For instance, who a generation ago would have thought that a week from tomorrow-January 1, 1940—tens of thousands of 'elderly men and women in every State and every county and every city of the Nation would begin to receive checks every month for old age retirement insurance—and not only that but that there would be also insurance benefits for the wife, the widow, the orphan children and even dependent parents? Who would have thought a generation ago that people who lost their jobs would, for an appreciable period, receive unemployment insurance—that the needy, the blind and the crippled children would receive some measure of protection which will reach down to the millions of Bob Cratchit's, the Marthas and the Tiny Tims of our own "four-room homes."

Roosevelt once said, “We put those pay roll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.”

Now 73 years later, Barack Hoover Obama is plotting ways to cut Social Security - reaching down to the millions of Bob Cratchit's, the Marthas and the Tiny Tims of our own four-room homes to deprive them even further - and is setting the precedent for the further benefit cuts. One day, another damn politician may very well scrap FDR’s legacy altogether.

Pearl said...

What I find strange is that praising them for being the first Afro American
president and first lady to grace the White House is a farce. They do not
represent the history and political activism of so many black people who
followed Martin Luther King in the historic marches of the civil rights
movement those years ago. They really represent the old boy network of white
affluent men (and women) but parading in black skins and living the elite life by ignoring the reality of the depths our country has sunk to, and
not fighting to stop the accelerating deterioration in every aspect of life
as we know it.

Sadly as well, is how many black citizens support the Obamas not recognizing that they have been sold out and remain loyal to people who do not represent their interests. It is interesting that I have never heard President Obama refer to anything MLK has ever said or accomplished. Yet warnings that were made by MLK about
the state of the Union and its future, are even more relevant today than ever before, some of which have been mentioned by Sardonicky readers.

The overdecorated White House does not disguise the fact that it is not a beacon of light in the current darkness surrounding it.

Bah Humbug Pearl

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Great post, Karen; great comments, Denis and Pearl.

There are many things that need to be done to change the deteriorating conditions the majority of the people are experiencing, and the adverse direction in which the nation is moving. Significantly cutting the outsized influence of corporations and the military, making the minimum wage a livable one, changing our economy to one that ensures that necessary and beneficial goods and services will take precedence over superfluous ones... all are necessary, posthaste.

But in the near term, the most pressing item on the agenda must be to block all attempts by the wealth-lackey Social-Darwinist Republicans and spineless complicit Democrats to cut social spending as even a partial response to the contrived crisis of the "fiscal cliff". Members of the poor and middle classes have for decades been losing ground not only relative to the wealthy but also in comparison to their same-class historical peers, particularly when costs such as higher education, health care, and retirement are included, and these less-fortunate citizens bear little responsibility for our national economic problems. To put matters bluntly: It is patently unjust — actually, immoral — for them to be expected to bear ANY of the burden of economic remedies.

We already know that the Republican Party is morally bankrupt on this issue. How will mainstream Democratic politicians fare? I'm not optimistic, but I do view it as a useful litmus test for whether the Democratic Party might be fixed, or whether it should be written off like the Republican one. If the latter, organizing an alternative for 2014 and beyond should begin now.

Valerie said...


You once asked on this blog forum, why true liberals love FDR. I think Denis' quote says it all. Particularly when you compare it and the man with Obama and Clinton - and Bush, Reagan and Cheney.

I cannot stand the Obamas - They are so fake and condescending - and the remark about the dog reminds me of how Hitler loved his dogs and yet had no compassion for the Jews he tortured and killed and damaged for life, if they were fortunate enough to get out of those hellholes.

And as Pearl pointed out - the Obamas are the antithesis of what a real African American leader should be like. MLK must be turning over in his grave.

James F Traynor said...

Merry Saturnalia everyone! And may Kronus smile upon you. As Epicurus would say, Don't worry about the gods, they couldn't care less. Seek pleasure, but not in excess. And as Socrates might say, Do no harm.

Yes, I think 2014 is the time of judgement for the Democratic party.

Outsida said...

December 23rd - Happy Festivus, the holiday for the restivus Seinfeld fans.

Obama recently was named Time Magazine's 'Man of the Year' for the second time, winning over Malala Yousafzai if you can believe it. FOR WHAT? He wins too many honors for no good reason to believe there isn't a lot of backroom dealing going on.

I don't think his insatiable ego will ever be satisfied with being merely the President of the United States. Will he craft a national emergency at the end of his second term and name himself our Emperor?
Or Messiah?

Did anyone else read Obama's eulogy for Senator Inouye? It's more about Obama than about Inouye. Quelle surprise. Have your barf bag handy if you want to read it at:

spreadoption said...

I think we have enough "clinical" evidence to label Obama a narcissistic psychopath.

If that second term in particular seems a bit much, read an expanded, functional definition of psychopathology. They're not all obvious Charles Manson-types. Many can seen as "successful psychopaths" who are socially skillful (some even charismatic) and who typically inhabit executive suites and the halls of government.

It helps to know what we're dealing with. Do we have a fit here?

Pearl said...

Dear Friends: I was trying to figure out an appropriate Xmas message when a friend sent me the following. So I will use it for all of you Sardonickyites: I think he was too kind to the Republicans.

To All My Democratic Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2013, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Karen Garcia said...

Here is my reply to PK's column, "When Prophecy Fails"... an elaboration on his blogpost the other day about the president's apparent belief in the Bond Vigilantes.

Let's just call out the cult of the deficit scolds for what it is: class warfare.

They have their gold-plated knives out for the safety net of the New Deal. They're spending millions just to ensure that millions of their own fellow citizens don't ever get to collect on the great social insurance policies of the New Deal and the Great Society. The Fix the Debt campaign might be more aptly called The Fix is In -- for all but the most obscenely wealthy. Pete Peterson, and his sidekicks Simpson and Bowles, are in cahoots with our own "Democratic" president to hype their Orwellian "balanced approach." This is Newspeak for the imposition of austerity on the middle class -- combined with a few fleeting, token tax hikes on the plutocrats to make it seem like everybody's doing their "fair share."

It's an illusion. The Fix Is In.

The "tweaking" of Social Security via chained CPI is an exercise in cruel subterfuge. The average woman on Social Security received only $997 a month in 2010. If the Grand Bargain had succeeded then, her monthly income would have fallen to $933 (in inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars) by age 85 and $915 by age 95.

How is this not a War Against Women? Millions of older women already are living in poverty, unable to pay their bills, putting off medical care, scrimping on food. I guess the Scrooges of the ruling class won't be happy until we switch from Fancy Feast to the Walmart brand.

The Fix Is In, unless we all band together and fix their wagon.

Valerie said...

You are my hero, Karen. And I don't doubt many people who never comment themselves go to the reader comment section of PK and other NYT articles to read your insightful words. Thanks for fighting the good fight. It gives the rest of us courage to keep fighting too.

Happy Holidays everyone. May Occupy prosper and may the world see Obama for the fraud he is.

Denis Neville said...

How tasteless and ill-bred the “civilized” Scrooges of The Fix are. They would have Obama go up our arses for a penny and burn our beds to catch a flea. They are as thick as manure but only half as useful.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

My comment (buried at #240) at Paul Krugman's "When Prophesy Fails":

"So we cannot and will not persuade these people to reconsider their views in the light of the evidence. All we can do is stop paying attention." [Paul Krugman]

Who is "we", Dr. Krugman? I've never given any credence to those who would decimate social programs as solution to a manufactured crisis, and I've only ever "paid attention" to them in the same sense that I pay attention to any group whose ideology endangers social and economic justice. And I presume that any attention that you give them, Dr. Krugman, is similar.

So by "pay attention", I presume that you mean the attention and legitimacy shown to them by portions of the public at large, and, most importantly, by complicit Democrats and the news media. If social programs are cut in response to this manufactured crisis, it will be due to the "manufacture of consent", and it will be a strong indictment of Democratic politicians and the U.S. "news" media as, at best, incompetent, or worse, as lackeys of the plutocracy.

Kat said...

We are covertly signalling that our base consists of upper middle class families who not only have kids in college, but whose parents have both the time and the reliable wheels and modern appliances needed to deliver concierge service to their offspring.
But Karen, to be fair he may be envisioning some of these families as black, or as Asian, or even composed of two mommies + kids. Diversity!

Zee said...


As I recall, I was asking Progressives how they could (still) venerate FDR so much despite the fact that he violated the civil rights of upwards of 100,000 Japanese-Americans by interning them in concentration camps during WW II.

This purely rhetorical question was asked in the context of a discussion of the hard choices that even a great and generally good person such as FDR might have to make when faced with a serious threat to national security.

I happen to agree with you Progressives that FDR is worthy of all the respect that you pay to him, and I think that I have acknowledged as much elsewhere, though I don't have @Denis's encylopedic memory to recall just where.

While it is my humble opinion that Washington and Lincoln precede FDR on the list of Great Presidents, FDR is certainly Number Three on my personal list.

This belief is only reinforced by the draft letter that @Denis recalled on the previous thread. Truly, he was a man of courage and conviction.

I probably didn't need to say any of this, but it gives me an excuse to say the following:

Best wishes to all of you for a joyous and restorative holiday season, regardless of your faith traditions and political persuasions.

Pearl said...


Yes, I agree that the decision to force Japanese citizens living in the
U.S. to sell (give away) their homes, land and possessions to live in poorly
maintained interment camps during the war years was not something to be
proud about. They proved their loyalty by fighting and dying in the second World War.
When I enrolled at the U. of Wisconsin after the war I lived in a women's cooperative house and one of the residents was a lovely Japanese girl who was very quiet and withdrawn. One day, someone asked her about her past and she told us that she had grown up in an internment camp and how it had affected her life. We made efforts to be more friendly and bring her out of
her sad remembrances and I believe she met and married a University student despite his family's resentment at first.

FDR was also unable to allow a boatload of German Jewish refugees from the war to set foot on U.S. soil as well as not permitting similar individuals to immigrate because with
so many people out of work they had to put restrictions on quotas which created a large controversy among many lawmakers and citizens within his administration.
I have wondered ever since whether he would have ordered the dropping of
bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki to prevent the Russians from having a part in decision making after the war. I don't think he would have, but we will never know.

No, he was not perfect, but was a great leader during a time of turmoil and war.
And let us not forget how many enemy cities were bombed with high civilian
casualties that have haunted many soldiers involved. I believe the late
George McGovern, who was a bomber pilot spoke regretfully about this. No onecomes out unscathed from war no matter how justified.

Zee said...


"No one comes out unscathed from war no matter how justified."


May peace be with you, and with all of us.

mac gordon said...

Actually, unless you've interviewed Obama in your role as an experienced clinician, you have no evidence whatsover, concerning a "diagnosis".
As a clinical social worker, with many years of experience, I'm tired of "armchair" psychology.
mac gordon