Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Inau-gyration Speech Parsing, Cont.

I will now continue where I left off yesterday in my "instanalysis" of President Obama's inaugural address.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

I have a sneaking suspicion that those "outworn programs inadequate to meet the needs of our time" might just be code for cutting Social Security in order to meet the needs of Wall Street. After all, it was back in 2006 that Obama appeared before the Goldman Sachs-funded Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, and declared that Social Security, as it was envisioned by FDR in 1937, would not be sustainable into the 21st century.

I don't know what the harnessing of new ideas and technology to remake our government is all about. We cannot ask, and he was not telling. But it sounds, well, technocratic and rather sinister. As in, Chained CPI, granny-starving (h/t Charles Pierce) sinister. But we do know what his definition of  "school reform" is, all too well. It's privatization. It includes more standardized tests to get rid of unionized teachers and to close schools in poor neighborhoods, as well as enabling profiteering through charter schools run by unqualified vulture capitalists.

"Empowering our citizens with the skills they need to work harder" sounds like a motto Joe Stalin might have dreamed up for his forced labor camps. Propaganda for the shock worker who will gladly absorb training to work longer hours for decreased wages for the glory of the motherland CEOs who make more than 300 times the amount they do. "This is what gives real meaning to our greed creed." 
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

OK, this is the graf that is giving the pseudo-liberals orgasms. This is the part where Obama goes full-bore progressive, takes a dig at Romney's 47% snark, and appears to full-throatedly vow to protect the New Deal. But all I can say is that we have to keep watching what he does, because as we have learned from past experience, his actions have a way of not matching his verbiage. Plus, look closely at his choice of words. "We the people still believe" is a nice centerpiece to this MLK/Founding Fathers pastiche of a speech, but may actually represent a mass herding into the veal pen of the continuing Obama campaign rather than a statement of executive intent. One of Machiavelli's prime tenets is to always tell the people what they want to hear. And, despite all the rosy rhetoric, there was this chilling caveat: "We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit." The subtext of looming austerity is never far beneath the surface. The fact that the best way of reducing health care costs would be to get rid of the private insurance leeches and establish Medicare for All was. of course, not mentioned by this president.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

OK, I give him props for mentioning the need to address climate change. But he has a very recent history of squelching a report from an EPA scientist establishing that fracking poisons our drinking water. He has a history of greasing the wheels for oil companies to drill in the Arctic. He delayed EPA smog rules after manufacturers howled about their bottom lines, effectively condemning thousands of children and adults to early deaths from lung disease and asthma. Let's see if his New Creed translates into action. I am not holding my (cough) breath. Stayed tune for the Keystone Pipeline decision that should be coming soon via a Friday night news dump, preferably at the beginning of a three-day weekend.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

Oh please. We could go on all day about what a total crock this is. Google Disposition Matrix for info on assassination by drone for the next decade and longer. See the Washington Post's report on the secret playbook for murder by presidential fiat. But Obama was honest about the citizens knowing all too well the price that is paid for "liberty": airport body scans, indefinite detention without trial as enacted in the renewal of the NDAA, spying and eavesdropping on citizens through the renewal of the Patriot Act, suppression of free speech and right to assembly as evidenced by the orchestrated national police crackdown on the Occupy movement. Institutional paranoia is embodied by a Homeland Security state so massive that no one person is privy to what it is doing at any given time, how much it costs, and who is really in charge. At this point, it is a monster in charge of itself.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

This part is simply the standard ode to American Exceptionalism and cheerleading for Empire that is obligatory to every Presidential Pronouncement. We will force our democracy down the throats of every backwater whose real estate is coveted by our multinational, tax-evading, plundering corporations. "We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for profits and power freedom." I suspect, but cannot prove, that this last bit was lifted from old George Bush II speech.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

This was the part with the obligatory alliterative flourish, as well as a nod to Martin Luther King Jr, whose leftist legacy has been bowdlerized into a kind of warm, fuzzy, do- and feel-good Kumbayism, with nary a nod to the fact that Dr. King's anti-war, pro-labor actions and words made him a virtual Enemy of the Government and even a reputed target for official assassination before an escaped convict conveniently obliged in that task. Stonewall was acknowledged as that original band of radical gay rights activists who fought back against institutional homophobia, and Seneca Falls, of course, was the birthplace of the American women's suffrage movement.

It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

Blah, blah, triple blah. Lily Ledbetter-inspired legislation did not give women equal pay for equal work. It made it easier to hire lawyers to sue employers for equal pay in court, assuming a low-paid woman can find pro bono counsel. Gay rights is something he "evolved" into after wealthy gay donors threatened to cut off his campaign donations. He deported more undocumented immigrants in four years that Bush did in eight. His draconian "Secure Communities" program discourages women without papers from reporting domestic abuse and other crimes to police, for fear of deportation. Keeping "all our children" safe from harm includes only American children. Pakistani children, Yemeni children, and Somali children will still sleep with Obama's drones flying over their heads. Our president does not cherish the children of certain foreigners. 

A few more platitudinous paragraphs follow, too generic to analyze in any cogent way. You can read the whole thing here.

Before I forget, I want to include a comment I made to a Sunday NYT op-ed by a CEO complaining about what a lousy manager President Obama is. If only he could learn to delegate authority to his underlings and canoodle with Congress, kvetches David Rothkopf, Obama could rate above the C+ grade he gives him. My (buried) response:

The president is an excellent manager, and an excellent collaborator. He managed to ensure that the mega-banks are still too big to fail and too big to jail. He managed to ensure that private insurance predators are not going to be left out of "near-universal" coverage (which does not, by the way, equate with actual health care.) He managed to leave Iraq only because its government refused to grant the troops immunity from prosecution for possible future misdeeds, and he still managed surround Iran with a plethora of military bases and economic sanctions. He managed to create a dubious rationale for his continuing campaign of targeted assassinations by drone, and he managed to avoid answering to either Congress or the American people on just who the Patriot Act manages to sweep up in its massive spying.eavesdropping. He managed to prosecute more whistleblowers than any previous administration. He managed to keep Gitmo open. He managed to fast-track Arctic oil drilling, fracking on federal lands, and squelching scientific reports on how fracking pollutes our lands. He managed to get sweeping bipartisan support for his Jump Start Our Business Start-Ups Act to make it easier to defraud consumers. And he still manages to enjoy a 50% approval rating!
I would give Obama an A-plus in management. It is too bad that all this author manages to do is sound petty and left out of the inner circle of Obama confidantes. We already have Maureen Dowd to fulfill that function.
And speaking of the New York Times, if you happen to suffer from photophobia, please do avoid their home-page today. The Obama inauguration lights blazing there are bright enough to cause snow-job blindness. So if you think my parsing of the president's speech is too harsh, you might want to check out their various analyses. The gist is that he has magically evolved into a progressive for the ages overnight. Or, as Alicia Keys sang it the inaugural ball last night -- "Obama's on Fiyuh."


Pearl said...

As usual Karen,you have hit the nail on the head with your newest column and echo the many questions and doubts I have about his plans for the future.

Now that President Obama is being viewed as a "Liberal' President (for good or evil depending on your viewpoint) there are other concerns. Should he go forward with dealing with issues he mentioned in his speech, we may all have
to pay a price to get them on his agenda. He will have to get the Repugs on board by selling part of the nation to them in a way that no one will notice as he deals with his new 'liberal' ideology. And as usual, people will be blinded by the brilliance of what seems to be moving forward. Time will tell. Correct me if I am wrong.

And now, what is the definition of a Liberal in 2013?

Jay - Ottawa said...

Brrrrinnnnng: Hello?

Yo, Senator Reid?

Yes, Mr. President. Good morning.

Hey, d’ja have a good time yesterday?

Goodness me, yes, but ahhh … how shall I put this … that was … um … quite a speech you gave yesterday about ... well ... everything we don't want to talk about. How can you continue to not deliver if you keep upping the ante on your promises?

I meant it this time, Harry. Had to rope-a-dope in the first four years to get a second four years. Now that I’m safely back in the White House, I can do in 2013 what I had to put off for reasons of deep political chess in 2009. Going forward, things are gonna change.

They are?

That’s why I’m calling, Harry. Harry…?

Wiping my brow, Mr. President.

Stay cool, Harry. I’m simply pulling another 180, that’s all. Part of my new direction means the Senate filibuster rules have to go. If I am to get anything done, that is, along the lines I promised yesterday.

Along the lines you promised yesterday? Yes, that could be a 180.

Harry, everybody knows you have a chance now at the start of a new session to change the Senate rules. But no faking it this time ––

Mr. President! What’s come over you? The filibuster is my fig leaf. And yours, if I may be so bold. With the filibuster we can always blame Mitch and his phants for what we DO! NOT! WANT! to happen in the first place. It’s been so easy this way: we propose a piece of ridiculous populist legislation, they filibuster, and we can still say “Well, we tried.” Still wink and suck in the no-quid-pro-quos from Jamie et al. You know.

Harry, my legacy. My legacy. If I turn the tables and trash Jamie et al now and surpass Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, I’ll get more adulation than FDR ever did from the New Deal, which is so yesterday. Anyway, I would really appreciate it if you got rid of the filibuster so we can pass the bills I’m about to send you. Here’s where we crush Mitch. Hey, listen to this: “Go ahead, Mitch, make my day.” Heh, heh.

But Mitch is my bro. And you mustn’t send me any bills that seriously follow up on yesterday’s speech. Give amnesia a chance to kick in. What a revolting development! What will the bankers say, the lobbyists, the oil industry, the generals, all those laid off eavesdroppers, the climate deniers, the supremacists, the NRA?

Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Got you, got you, got you.

You were only joshing? Joshing? O thank God! Hoho haha. Yes, sir, you sure had me for a minute.

Gotchu, gotchu. Hahaha. OK, Harry, listen up. First jokes, then business. We did just fine for ourselves doin’ what we did for the past four years, right?

We did so fine, Mr. President.

So why change anything, eh? Climate change is already bugging me. Why should we pile political change on top of that? Why? Reform is drama; no reform is no drama. Let’s calm the waters. Like they say in the navy, steady as she goes. Keep the filibuster, by all means. And – here’s my priority – get together with Mitch ASAP to jointly publish the Grand Bargain we quietly agreed upon in that safe room pre-election. Only now, in keeping with my eloquence of yesterday, let’s call it the Grand Update. If we get all this Grand Update behind us in the first 100 days, you’ll be able to put the Senate on a three-day workweek and I can get an early start on my memoirs. So, Harry, a plan?

Mr. President, a plan!

A deal?

A deal!

spreadoption said...

Very good, Jay. You had me goin' there for a while: How can this be the Jay, the Sardonicky regular, we know? You deserve a place on the staff of Saturday Night Live.

What I fear, and understand too well, is that you have portrayed exactly the shenanigans [read, bullshit and treason] that go on in DC in the name of faux-democracy.

These days I'm just waiting for the opportunity to jump all over those supercilious Obama supporters in the NYT and elsewhere, when they finally realize that their guy is totally screwing them on every issue they hold dear. "I told you so a long time ago!" I'll write. On the other hand, I'm losing confidence that many (or any) of them, as astute as they may be, will ever wake up to the reality that they've been massively swindled by our entire government and that the America they love is going down the drain morally and economically.

Now unfortunately, the Republicans have just extended the (next "final") day of reckoning to May; they sure know how to try my patience.

If we enjoyed the past four years, we're gonna love the next four.

Pearl said...

For Jay who inspired me:

Some very private thoughts of Barack Hussein Obama after the inauguration.

My god I am tired! My face is numb from all that smiling and some of the singers gave me a headache. Thank the Lord Chief Justice Roberts didn't louse up the oath again - what a numbskull.
And being polite to all the past presidents on the viewing stand is really a stretch, especially Jimmy Carter who always seems to show up everywhere he isn't wanted.

At least I think my speech went well even though I am afraid that I may have said things I don't understand (that speech writer is very insistent) but he assured me that what I would say was so ambiguous that people will interpret it any way they want. Anyhow, it's water over the dam now.
I am glad I had such a huge welcome from we the people. At least I am free finally to relax once in awhile (maybe go to Hawaii more often) and not have to display my inept dance step moves with Michelle. Gee! What did she do with her hair? She looks like a character in a horror movie but everyone thought she looked great.

I seem to have had to show up at church several times but for once, I didn't have much to say to the Lord. Mostly I asked him, what do I do now Your Holiness? I think I heard him grunt but maybe it was from that heavy indigestible church breakfast I had to swallow.
I must say I am begin to get a feeling for what 'we the people' means after repeating it so many times. It's true that I respected Martin Luther King, but people seem to forget that he was hardly a saint. He was really a left winger who denounced war, poverty, injustice. Easy for him to say, he didn't have to try and sell it to 'we the people' like I do.

Oh well, Michelle is snoring already and I better pack it in. A busy day tomorrow, trying to run the country with aplomb. (Gee she looks so funny with all that cream on her face, hair undone, no make up!) But she does work hard and I have forgiven her for forcing me to run again. At least it worked out for now. I am looking forward to all those extra times on the golf course as soon as things die down and maybe sneak a smoke or two and get a decent hamburger from the White House cooks. And then I can start my memoirs for that million dollar library they forced me to accept.

Happy Dreams

Stephen Smith said...

Hi, I'm interested in hearing Karen's and anyone else's thoughts about why Social Security and Medicare are now called entitlements, without question. What is the case for this? The public perception of all this "entitlement reform" talk is eroding the original truth about those programs and like the name Obamacare that was foisted on us til it stuck, these too will be transformed in meaning.

As Gore Vidal said time and again, SS should be separated from the budget and placed in its own category, and of course, never touched up for loans by Congress or the Executive.

Kat said...

Thanks for the parsing. I'm glad you went beyond critiquing the disconnect between reality and rhetoric, because what really stood out for me was the bleakness of his vision-- it was a neoliberal wet dream.

Denis Neville said...

Such rhetorical gifts! Better than four years of right wing corporatism in the garb of Mittens!

The Reagan template! Rhetoric to cover substance. Rhetoric to frame the issues of the day. Rearranging deck chairs will fool anyone. “Speak moderately and carry no stick.” Spin is good enough, nothing else matters.

"Obama on Fiyuh," cloaking the banal in liquid golden verbal raiment, as he dances and pirouettes for the Peterson No Labels, Fix The Debt, etc., so the plutocrats sleep well.

Our Potemkin [an impressive facade designed to hide undesirable facts or conditions] President, replacing his first Potemkin term with his second “new, improved” Potemkin term? Classic marketing - more pap for the rubes, playing people for suckers.

Obama was hired by elites with cash registers for brains to gut Social Security and Medicare and slash the safety net of the “takers.”

How can anyone think that Obama will govern differently? He is subservient to Wall Street. It is the same triangulating corporatism of the Clinton era, only re-packaged with sleeker marketing. Government to benefit and merge with corporate interests for political power and for policy ends, letting them always get what they want.

The faithful lapdogs of both the Democratic and Republican parties serve the corporate elites much like the members of the local Soviets served Stalin in the Soviet Union. The same oligarchic system that helped finance Hitler - a distinction without much of a difference - is still firmly in place.

What is amazing is that the American electorate seems to cling even tighter to these corporatist political parties that got us into this mess.

Denis Neville said...

@ Stephen – “why Social Security and Medicare are now called entitlements”

Critics created “entitlements” as a “catchall term” to serve a conservative agenda and give the program “a hint of illegitimacy” in their ideological warfare - the army waging what Eric Laursen calls “the war against the geezers” - against Social Security and Medicare.

“I discuss the origins of the "entitlement" epithet in The People's Pension. I don't think it's a bad or inaccurate word in and of itself - as working people, we're "entitled" to Social Security because we've earned it. Nothing wrong with that. However, the word has been thoroughly distorted, turned into virtually a form of hate speech (one Tea Party member recently referred to people who receive any form of federal benefits - and presumably are not of her social-ethnic background - as "the entitlement people"). "Earned benefits" is probably a better way to speak of Social Security at this point.” - Eric Laursen, The People’s Pension – The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan

More Orwellian double-speak offered by conservatives:

“Do not say: ‘entitlement reform,’ ‘privatization,’ ‘every option is on the table,’ … Do say: ‘strengthen,’ ‘secure,’ ‘save,’ ‘preserve, ‘protect.’” NRCC Medicare Memo

“Instead of entitlement reform or controlling the growth of Medicare and Social Security, talk about how to save and strengthen these programs so they are there when voters need them. After all, they paid for them.” Frank Luntz, GOP Pollster

4Runner said...

Haven't posted any anagrams recently, so here's the latest from wordsmith.org:




Give me liberty, or give me... said...

@ Stephen Smith said...Hi, I'm interested in hearing Karen's and anyone else's thoughts about why Social Security and Medicare are now called entitlements, without question.

Why? After you consider the more sophisticated reasons given Denis and others, it comes down to this: Because they can.....what’cha gonna do about it, sucker?

Blog, bitch and moan? That is what they (TPTB) count on...

Zee said...

@Give me liberty or give me...

[well, give me ..."what?" Wait, I think that I can fill in the blank all by myself: "Death!" That's it!]--

“.....what’cha gonna do about it, sucker?

Blog, bitch and moan? That is what they (TPTB) count on...”
--@Give me liberty or give me...

You, of course, have a more “proactive” solution? Just curious as to what it might be.

James F Traynor said...

Smarmy wins.

Denis Neville said...

I am sure that many followers of Sardonicky saw PBS Frontline’s “The Untouchables” last night: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/untouchables/

Glenn Greenwald writes about it today: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/23/untouchables-wall-street-prosecutions-obama

Bill Black has said that if they looked for fraud they would find it everywhere. So they didn’t look for it. Nouriel Roubini, when asked why there have been no investigations, replied, "Because then you'd find the culprits."

Yves Smith @ Naked Capitalism is posting a Bank of America foreclosure review whistleblower series this week: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/bank-of-america-foreclosure-reviews-whistleblowers-provide-extensive-evidence-of-borrower-harm-and-orchestrated-coverup.html

The banksters are actively and successfully suppressing efforts by reviewers to identify foreclosure errors and abuses and to identify and compensate victims. The very same people who have been responsible for so much economic misery are at it once again. Greed trumps accountability. In Leona Helmsley's infamous words, "Laws are for little people."

The Obama administration has produced the worst of all worlds, where we have neither justice nor economic recovery.

Just more Potemkin villages.

Glenn Greenwald on the rule of law:

"Most of the events that we consider to be progress in American history were driven by the reverence for this concept that we are all equal under the law, that equality under the law is how we determine if we are perfecting the union...What I think is radically different about today is not that the rule of law suddenly is not always being applied faithfully, because that has always been true. What is different about today, radically, is that we no longer bother to affirm that principle.”

“You can often, and I would say more often than not, in leading opinion-making elite circles, find an expressed renouncement or repudiation of that principle...All of these acts entail very aggressive and explicit arguments that the most powerful political and financial elites in our society should not be, and are not, subject to the rule of law because it is too disruptive, it is too divisive, it is more important that we should look forward, that we find ways to avoid repeating the problem...The rule of law is not that important of a value any longer.”

“The law is no respecter of persons, but the law is also a respecter of reality, meaning if it is too disruptive or divisive that it is actually in our common good, not the elite criminals, but in our common good, to exempt the most powerful from the consequences of their criminal acts, and that has become the template used in each of these instances." - Glenn Greenwald, With Liberty and Justice For Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful

Jay - Ottawa said...

On Monday “Frontline” (PBS: view it here)


retold the, by now, twice-told tale most readers here know by heart about Wall Street fraud that was not investigated by President Obama’s Department of Justice. The issue is not so much that the DOJ is deaf, dumb and blind by design. Glenn Greenwald, along with the rest of us, puzzles over how American society, nominally a democracy, can be so dependably unconscious and indifferent.

“The real mystery from all of this is that it has not led to greater social unrest. To some extent, both the early version of the Tea Party and the Occupy movements were spurred by the government's protection of Wall Street at the expense of everyone else. Still, Americans continue to be plagued by massive unemployment, foreclosures, the threat of austerity and economic insecurity while those who caused those problems have more power and profit than ever. And they watch millions of their fellow citizens be put in cages for relatively minor offenses while the most powerful are free to commit far more serious crimes with complete impunity. Far less injustice than this has spurred serious unrest in other societies.”


Meanwhile, the so-called center-left mainstream media continues to laud the Administration. Here’s another example from an august publication considered one of the most brainy in the US. Are such highly-educated writers driven by elitist contempt or egghead idiocy? “Obama’s big and quiet transformation,” indeed.


In light of the self-delusion of the liberal elites, the raw propaganda spread like manure ever more freely across the pages of the MSM and the incontestable fact that most citizens are incapable of thinking for themselves, democracy in the USA is going down the same chute as the climate: progressively extreme and widely destructive, with nobody in charge tapping the brakes.

Karen Garcia said...

Apropos of Jay and Denis's comments, the Times ran an editorial today on how Obama's speech on justice is a real slap in the face to the Roberts Court!....


My published response:

Let's not forget that we have a Dept. of Justice that has done little to nothing to redress the massive Wall Street fraud that has robbed Americans of trillions of dollars in household wealth. This failure to protect the economic rights of citizens constitutes a dereliction of duty so severe as to amount to a government co-conspiracy with the felons of the financial class.

The president soared to his usual oratorical heights. But to date, his inactions have spoken louder than his words. His current head of the DOJ criminal division, Lanny Breuer, is still insisting (most recently on PBS's "Frontline") that he can't punish the banks for fear that the whole global financial system would collapse. "Too big to fail and too big to jail" is the new rule in what has become a bleak land of two-tiered justice. The rich get richer, and the poor are imprisoned. And the jails are economic as well as physical. Too many people have been unfairly sentenced to chronic unemployment, lost homes, stagnating wages, and shortened lives.

And then there's the income inequality, which has only gotten worse in the last four years. We rank near the bottom of the heap in terms of social mobility. All three branches of government share the blame. Rather than heed our call for shared prosperity, they insist that we "share the sacrifice" and pay, through austerity, for the misdeeds of the same gluttons who continue to feed at the public trough.

My only quibble with the Frontline doc is that it never once mentioned Obama's own complicity. Otherwise, it was an excellent primer for those of the viewing public who've not been paying attention to what does amount to a criminal conspiracy between Wall Street and the government.

The more I think about Obama's speech, meanwhile, the more I am convinced that it represents his own realization of which way the political wind is blowing. He wants to hypnotize the masses for awhile longer. So far, if the laudatory msm like the NYT is any indication, he is succeeding.

Pearl said...

Karen, I am so proud of your comment to the N.Y.Times editorial, Justice and Prosperity with a healthy lead in the top number of recommendations. Perhaps this proves that one cannot fool all the people all the time.
You continue to clarify the real issues for us and encourage other voices to chime in. It is so easy to be trapped by the popular rhetoric, even by seasoned observers and mainstream media and you highlight the real issues and their purposes for us.

I appreciate the worthy comments from our Sardonicky gang and find many
interesting articles recommended by them that enlarges my knowledge.

I often wonder if President Obama has any real inkling of what is
transpiring on his watch or is his ignorance and input from his team dulling his senses to the realities ahead. Does he truly believe what he tells us in his prepared speeches? He is indeed an enigma but not an unusual one in our political history. It is painful to recognize what a loss of opportunity he represents and how this fact does not seem to penetrate the minds of the American people. It is getting later than you think.

Zee said...


Great reply to the New York Times editorial!

It is old news to the participants of this forum but in the aftermath of the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 80s, more than 800 banksters were sent to the Big House:


But still NO prosecutions after the 2007-2008 meltdown.

It is a constant source of amazement to me that the ever-faithful Obamabots never ask The One why this is so.

After the shafting that the 99% received from Wall Street, you might think that at least a few of them would want justice--or maybe just revenge.

Though I did not suffer as greatly as many during the meltdown, I know that I would still like to see more than a token few asses shipped off to the slammer.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Pearl. The trick to submitting a NYT comment is to walk the fine line between directly and vehemently attacking Obama, and objectively pointing out his many flaws, failures and let's be honest, crimes. If one is too harsh, and enough readers "flag" one's remarks, the comment can be disappeared after first drawing the knee-jerk ire of the star-struck partisans.This has happened to me on a number of occasions but has tapered off since the election. So I use the stealth attack method more often than not. You also have to be very careful to not offend or attack the other commenters. At least, not very much. I rarely get involved in the chatroom function in that particular venue.

I also want to direct everyone to this CounterPunch article written by frequent NYT commenter Norman Pollack, who states that his aim is to "radicalize, if only by a smidgen" the Times readership (I can wholeheartedly concur with that objective!)


Kat said...

@Karen-- people really flag comments if they're critical of Obama (and not just the Kenyan Socialist sort of comments)?

Denis Neville said...

Obama’s “Faith in America’s Future”

When used by politicians, “faith” is snake oil.

Or, “Hope Over Experience.”

Jonathan Turley does not share the faith in Obama’s commitment to principle — at least not the principles behind civil liberties, “Obama and The Leap Of Faith.”

“Obama was offering hope over experience. Politics rather than principle have long guided this president…To put it simply, Obama is the president Nixon longed to be. It will take more than a lip-synched Beyoncé performance to quiet these concerns. What was once a system of checks and balances has been replaced by a leap of faith that these powers will be used by Obama and his successors wisely.

It is faith in Obama, not our future, that has lulled too many into silence in the face of an Imperial President.


Give me liberty, or give me.... said...


There is no real alternative...so stop grumblin, stop complainin, stop cryin, and eat your peas.

Give me liberty, or give me.... said...


And many folks wash down those peas with some good hooch, smoke, or just dine at the Y till better times come along.

Jay - Ottawa said...

"It is faith in Obama, not our future, that has lulled too many into silence in the face of an Imperial President." --Denis

Blind faith in Obama has to account for a good deal of the placid resignation, which is repeatedly encouraged by editorials in the Times.

Like the Yellow Dogs before the election who said their vote hinged on the succor that might come from the Supreme Court, the editorial board of the Times this morning looked to the Supreme Court, especially Chief Justice Roberts, as a major obstacle blocking justice and, thereby, prosperity.

President Obama and his mighty deeds are mentioned in glowing terms with respect to justice and prosperity. The editorial board tells us that, concerning the general prosperity, President Obama’s views are a study in contrast with those of Roberts.


“To Mr. Obama, prosperity enables justice and vice versa.”

Excuse me?

Might the Times be overlooking key duties in Obama’s job description while shifting an inordinate amount of blame upon Roberts for the pain of recent years?

Compared to the imperial executive with its Department of Justice, vast bureaucracy and infinite number of options, the Court is, even at its most aggressive in coddling corporations, like a paraplegic, immobile and limited to reviewing only what is dumped on its doorstep by other agents. The arguments, laws and cases on the books are important, but nothing beats the impact of executive initiatives and the enforcement (or not) of laws unto the furthest corners of the nation (or nowhere).

In response to the Timespin of this morning, Karen with yet another top comment was so right to turn the spotlight back on the DOJ’s Lanny Breuer.

It was you, Lanny! I know it was you. You broke my heart. When you damn well should have broken the back of the banks and jailed the perps.

And, by the way, who is Lanny’s boss, the one who has kept Lanny off the backs of Wall Street fraudsters, each and every one of them? And then who is the boss of Attorney General Eric J. Holder, Jr.?

Gee, editorial board, how come the trail keeps veering back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a balanced search for the agent who best promotes the continued impoverishment of little people and the nonprosecution of big time fraud?

Denis Neville said...

Under Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, the Justice Department hasn't brought any criminal cases of massive criminal fraud against big banks or other companies involved in mortgage servicing, even though copious evidence has surfaced of apparent criminal violations in foreclosure cases.

Ever wonder why?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm - Covington & Burling, that represented a Who's Who of big banks - Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo & Co - and other companies - Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Freddie Mac -at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud.

The Department of Justice’s top prosecutor (Holder), his top criminal enforcement deputy (Breuer), and two others, who were key architects of Justice’s approach to Financial Meltdown enforcement - Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force - all worked or now again work for the very people and companies Justice is failing to prosecute. Mere coincidence? It doesn’t pass the smell test!

“Attorney General Holder and President Obama have abandoned the cherished American principle – the core democratic principle – of equality before the law. Worst of all, our top law enforcers abandoned equality before the law precisely when our democracy desperately needs it. Our only defense against the growing tyranny of the 1%, the only means we have of policing the bounds of their power, is the vigorous and equal enforcement of the law.” - Abigail Caplovitz Field, http://abigailcfield.com/?p=686

The buck stops with Obama! He has aided and abetted the criminal banksters. When the “folks” entrusted to catch and prosecute the crooks, are themselves in league with the crooks, we should not have “faith” in America’s future under Obama.

There are those who still have “hope.” It is misplaced hope, just like the “hope” America had for Obama in 2008.

James F Traynor said...

Well, there it is, the abandonment of hope - not at all without good and sufficient reason. I've read the articles of Chris Hedges over the past few months as he has become increasingly desperate to the point of raving, coherent raving but raving never the less.

Having just finished Nick Turse's dismaying book on Vietnam I returned to E.O. Wilson's The Social Conquest of Earth; I often seek solace in science. No solace there. It's in our genes says Wilson (I won't go into it here - read the book, if you dare) and brings up what Thucydides wrote about Athens and its justification for the horrific treatment of Melos (because we can) as an example of the human condition. It's in the Peloponnesian War. I've always thought Pericles a prick and he was, although adored by politicians. His funeral oration, lauded down through history was a con job of monumental proportions and the son of a bitch got away with it.

And the anodyne of applied math is of no use; I can't concentrate. Shit.