Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Couple of Comments

Thought I'd paste my two New York Times comments in this space tonight, since the subject matter is interrelated. I was so busy writing my rich people post this morning that I missed Obama's presser, and didn't catch a replay of the sadness until later in the day. This guy is not only a lame duck, he's damn near a dead duck. All flapping wings, whiney quacks and absolutely no soaring flight to the oratorical heights. It apparently marked his 100th day of his second term in office. So, does that make him the ill-fated Barry of the Hundred Days, starring Daniel Day-Lewis? Is there actually any difference between Hollywood and Washington? I'd also caught a little hint of the new Obamian Defensive Dejection Syndrome in clips of the Co-respondents' Ball, a true parody of a parody of a parody if ever there was one. Or, if you took it seriously, mutual masturbation porn.

My first Times comment was in response to a pretty scathing editorial on Gitmo:

What was appallingly missing from President Obama's statement was any sense of empathy for the prisoners who are essentially being tortured.

HE doesn't want the prisoners to die. The hunger strike hurts US, champions of freedom that we are. It diminishes OUR standing in the world, "lessens cooperation with OUR allies on counterterrorism efforts" -- in other words, the almighty USA no longer has the moral standing to issue any sanctimonious "we deplore this" and "we condemn that" protests when other nations perpetrate their own human rights abuses.

It's not just the medical torture at Gitmo. It's the criminal failure to prosecute the torture of the Bush administration. It's the ongoing program of drone assassinations that is another prime recruitment tool for "extremists" or militants, defined by our leaders as any person in the prime of life, who dares to exist in the wrong place at the wrong time. The wrong place can be a wedding, a funeral, the site of a medical rescue attempt of drone strike casualties in the first round of attacks, farmers tending their crops, families sitting around the dining room table.

The president talks a good, self-serving game. Whether he walks the walk and now uses all the executive tools at his disposal in the face of some long overdue public pressure remains to be seen.

And as far as Lindsey Graham and his fellow GOP scare-mongers are concerned, I suggest they be sent to Gitmo immediately and force-fed a battery of psychiatric tests.


Now, on to Maureen Dowd. I felt compelled to pre-empt the usual veal pen criticism of her Obama snark, nip the usual bullshit in the bud, as it were:  

I know Maureen Dowd will take plenty of heat for this latest column on Obama's lack of parenting skills. She has obviously gotten under his skin, even earning a rueful mention at that dystopic celebrity bash over the weekend. She will be accused of such atrocities as sharpening her literary nails on thin presidential skin, jamming her stiletto heels into a good man when he's down.

When she criticizes Obama, she becomes the word that rhymes with what Babs Bush once called Geraldine Ferraro. Amazingly, every time she disses Bush, she deserves another Pulitzer. Like Obama, she just can't win. But she gets props for not bowing to the liberal blogosphere the same way Obama perpetually bows to Republicans.

What irked me about Obama on this particular day was his passive- agressive posture, joking about quitting and showing absolutely no empathy for the prisoners of Gitmo. It was all about our standing in the world, his personal need not to have them die on his watch.

Attempting to distance himself from his own policies, he insists that Gitmo is "Not Who We Are". Uh.... actually, it is. It's like his calling the cruel cuts to Meals on Wheels for seniors "stupid" and suggesting we replace them with "smart" Social Security cuts. Does he really not hear his own cognitive dissonance?

If Obama is feeling that beleaguered, he should take Mitch out for a drink, slip him a mickey, then render him down to Gitmo for a time-out in the naughty chair.


Suzan said...

I believe Obama's finally coming apart at the seams (or the compromises, if you will, unless you believe like I do that he never was any type of liberal to begin with, and thus, "compromises" is a misuse of what he was really doing, which was procuring his place at the big boys table after he was finished pretending to serve the "little people").

I have to admit that I wondered two months into his first term how such a glib politico could keep up the word stew he was churning out so smoothly without choking (particularly after his choice of the Rubin Boys to run our finances after campaigning against their remedies), and now I think he is.

But you've gotta give it to him (?) for how well he skidded though that second campaign - coming to a greasy stop only a few months after his starry-eyed victory speech.

You've pinpointed it from the first, Karen.


I just hate to see what he's got planned for an encore.

And your comments at K-man's blog are very much appreciated also

You are a national treasure.

Stay strong.

Kat said...

Isn't it funny how "glib" is mistaken for "intelligence"?
No, it's not funny actually. It's incredibly tragic.
Yeah, thanks for the comments Karen. When I checked there were 36 and I wonder how one person is responsible for 10% of those comments. Maybe you should get more of a presence and submit comments and replies to your replies and then a few more comments.

Karen Garcia said...

Thank you Suzan and Kat.

Re NYT commenting system: they have just eliminated the Facebook and real name requirements to become a "verified" commenter, meaning more people can now be published early. There were times I hadn't even participated, just because of the gated community feel to the whole thing. I personally don't much care for the "reply" function, as many of the early commenters have turned it into their own private mutual admiration chat room. I just use it to add links or corrections to my own errors. Another criticism is that the moderators will publish a whole slew of "replies" and then immediately shut down further commenting. These are usually in the genteel "you're an idiot" category.

Kat said...

"private mutual admiration chat room"-- too funny! I was thinking something along those lines when I read one reply to a reply that was essentially a compliment of a compliment.
Can I just say now that I've been reading the Orwell's Politics and the English Language and it is making me an even more tentative writer. I wrote "along these lines" and thought is this some sort of dead metaphor and then I thought "essentially"? Is this a meaningless and a pretentious word.
And then I thought "get a hold of yourself. You are not writing for history."

Denis Neville said...

Yes, it is who we are!

How much longer can we afford to ignore these wake-up calls? Is it already too late? I fear it may be.

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

Will said...


Here's a short version of the U.S. Apache helicopter attack video leaked by Bradley Manning. Sometimes just reading about our murderous government in our favorite blog isn't enough; you need to see with your own eyes the evil committed in our name.

Patricia said...

Thank God for your comments to the NYT. I don't think much of the writers there anymore since they still employ David Brooks. It is amazing that only with a hunger strike does the deplorable hell hole known as GITMO get any attention. It should have been closed down long ago as promised, but lie after lie and broken promise after broken promise has left nothing but disappointment and disbelief in the Presidents wake. I voted for him the first time, in the recent election I didn't vote at all. It sickens me that he has betrayed everyone who voted for him. Just like he betrayed those prisoners in Guantanamo.

Anonymous said...

"So, does that make him the ill-fated Barry of the Hundred Days, starring Daniel Day-Lewis?"

Actually, more like Barry Lyndon. Barry, the lying, scheming, cheating opportunist, who ingratiates himself with the 1%, and whose lying and cheating are ultimately the cause of his own demise. Would that the real Barry could crash and burn as completely as the fictional.

Jay - Ottawa said...

How skilled our Chief Executive as he works both sides of the street, building the grandest bridge ever between honesty and dishonesty.

The most powerful man in the world accomplishes nothing, often less than nothing, for his country. Behind the scenes for the 1% he is a Mighty Fixer as he tenders what they want on a silver platter. Then he poses as The Helpless Nobody at his day job when it comes to rescuing the afflicted 99%. For the past five – going on eight – years Obama lives the parable of the Good Shepherd – turned inside out. So, blame Mitch and the Republicans.

The Nobel Committee placed the peace laurel upon his brow. Since then, like Zeus, he hurls thunderbolt drones down upon suspicious gatherings. How could he have foreseen such action would incite years of blowback? Blame Bush who started the practice.

Obama doesn’t want the prisoners of Guantanamo to die, yet he strangles their spirit by confining them to cages forever. Blame Eric Holder and the Republicans.

Why do they hate us? Why are they in despair? Why are they suicidal? And most of all, why the threat of revenge from their tribes?

Once you’re on to him, his lofty speeches, his whining spin, his defensive jokiness, and his do-nothing record evoke nausea.

101 days down; 1,359 to go.

Politically Incorrect said...

Obama's mirror is cracking. He's accustomed to charming his way through life, but it just isn't working anymore, either here or abroad.

I believe the basis for Obama's problems is his female style of relating and solving problems, which he confuses with leadership. Obama is not just our first Black President, but our first Female President. Who knows if he was born that way or turned out that way by strong women in his life, but he sure has a feminine style that works to his, and our, detriment.

It has been written that typical female aggression is relational, indirect or covert, you might even say stealthy and secretive. It is heavily reliant on relationship strategies, pitting one against another, while carefully protecting one's own self-image from being cast as a conniver, divider, or simply as untrustworthy.

To be clear, most, if not all, women who actually achieve positions of power don't rely on those strategies. They have learned through hard knocks, unlike Obama, that they only go so far in the big leagues. A balance of strategies is important, but Obama seems to have only one mode - relational - hence the endless campaigns and appeals to the public to help him do his job. He thinks that's the whole enchilada of Presidential leadership simply because it's HIS comfort zone.

Raised by women who gave him the privileges of an elite education in private and Ivy League schools, Obama did not learn important lessons that he could have from public schools. His elite education then gave him the same feeling of destiny and entitlement that it often gives its chosen few. He had his toe dipped in the water of the elite but he really wanted to drink it.

Now we're all stuck being forced to pay the dues he chose not to pay when he got a taste of the elite 'good life' and cut deals to get on the Express Lane to the White House instead of working his way there.

Denis Neville said...

Mike Flugennock, “Yer Liberals,”

Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque - High Crimes and Low Comedy in the American Imperium, “four little words that capture the grand, overarching political philosophy of the age: Fuck Off And Die.”

“To put it plainly, the elites don’t need us anymore -- or not many of us, anyway. And thanks to runaway population growth -- and the greasy mobility of global capital -- those few of us they do still need to keep the machinery going can be easily replaced, at any moment, by some other desperate chump trying to avoid destitution. So there is no longer any reason for elites to concern themselves with the wearisome creatures out there beyond the mansion gates and the penthouse glass. No need to worry about workers’ rights: if they get out of line, sack them, or even better, send the whole operation overseas, where sweatshop fodder is thick on the ground and comes dirt cheap. No need to worry about communities, the personal, social, economic and physical structures that gave a richer embodiment to ordinary life: just strip them, gut them and leave them to die -- and when the rot gets bad enough, as in Detroit, send in an unelected “manager” to pick the carcass clean.

“And no need to worry about mass uprisings of the dispossessed, debt-ridden, insecure, angry, overwhelmed, isolated, media-dazed rabble. With hyper-militarized police forces, cameras on every corner, spies and provocateurs infesting every possible base of dissent, and gargantuan data-harvesters mining every public move and private click of the populace, repression is a piece of cake. And if by chance some pocket of protest does reach critical mass somewhere, your hi-tech, heavily armored goons can easily beat it, tase it and pepper-spray it into submission.

“So the elites no longer need us or fear us. We are superfluous to their requirements. And their policies are now ever more nakedly geared to hammering this truth home.” – Chris Floyd, http://chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2319-pay-in-blood-may-day-and-modern-politics.html#disqus_thread

James F Traynor said...

Let's face it, the guys a jerk, a pathetic jerk, almost the equal of W. And that's bad.

Denis Neville said...

Back in the good old days when the middle finger was just a finger, Mister Rogers giving kids the finger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ic4mEc_6JQ8

“There was a story going around about the Special Olympics. For the hundred-yard dash, there were nine contestants, all of them so-called physically or mentally disabled. All nine of them assembled at the starting line and, at the sound of the gun, they took off. But one little boy didn't get very far. He stumbled and fell and hurt his knee and began to cry. The other eight children heard the boy crying. They slowed down, turned around, and ran back to him--every one of them ran back to him. The little boy got up, and he and the rest of the runners linked their arms together and joyfully walked to the finish line.

They all finished the race at the same time. And when they did, everyone in the stadium stood up and clapped and whistled and cheered for a long, long time. And you know why? Because deep down we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is helping others win, too, even if it means slowing down and changing our course now and then.” - Fred Rogers

Mr. Rogers ruined our values: “Blame It on Mr. Rogers: Why Young Adults Feel So Entitled” http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB118358476840657463.html

“It's not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It's the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is good stuff.” - Fred Rogers

CNBC's Santelli dismisses huge potential job losses due to spending cuts/sequestration, "Why Is That So Important?" http://mediamatters.org/video/2013/05/01/in-meltdown-cnbcs-santelli-dismisses-huge-poten/193852

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say "It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem." Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” - Fred Rogers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” - Fred Rogers

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks for the Mister Rogers memories, Denis. That guy kept me sane when my children were small. A humanistic, socialist role model for the PreK set if ever there was one. Also, a soothing antidote to the frenetic pace of Sesame Street, which came on right before him in my area.

Miss Sarcasm said...

@Denis, "Why Young Adults Feel So Entitled"

Perhaps young adults see the government rushing to the aid of Too-Big-To-Fail banks and businesses with bags of bail-out money, that gives them a sense of entitlement. After all, those kids are young and inexperienced, unlike the bank barons and business titans who crashed the economy and got to keep their million-dollar lifestyles, thanks to federal reserve policy.

Is Mr. Rogers responsible? No. In fact, Mr. Rogers showed how an ordinary life could be happy and fulfilling, without the need for an extravagant lifestyle or rapacious income inequality.

Kristof: A Hedge Fund Republic?