Saturday, January 31, 2015

Obama's Fascist Dog Whistle

In what President Obama grotesquely calls the fourth quarter of his game, he is simultaneously acting as both head cheerleader and star player of the plutocracy's burgeoning corporate global coup. Under the guise of a campaign called the "middle class economy," he's performing an epic fake on the heads of the populace and executing end-runs around democracy itself. And he does all of this while Deflategate is sucking up all the media oxygen in the room.

You have to hand it to Obama. Against all odds, his approval rating has clawed its way back to the 50 yard line. Fully half  the thirsty sponges that pass for the minds of the American consumer-spectators in the stands apparently believe the hype. He deserves a Super Bowl ring for being one of the most valuable players ever employed by the International League of the Oligarchs.

He exemplifies the power that propaganda has over desperate people during desperate times.

The Republicans have their racial dog whistle to divide and conquer the colonies of sponges. Obama has his fascist dog whistle to Wall Street, thrumming just below the surface of the populist song he croons to unite and daze and conquer the colonies of sponges.

His latest weekly address to the nation is a textbook example of the technique perfected by Joseph Goebbels. The title alone should give you an immediate heads-up: "A Path Towards a Thriving Middle Class."

It's only a path, mind you  -- not an actual destination. The fun of travel is not the being there, but the journey itself, and the anticipation of being there. And since you will be flying on standby, you can get bumped at any time. You can especially get bumped if Obama gets fast track authority from Congress to ram through an epic job-killing trade deal. So fasten your seat belts and enjoy the scenery while it lasts. This is your Captain speaking:
Hi, everybody.  At a moment when our economy is growing, our businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s, and wages are starting to rise again, we have to make some choices about the kind of country we want to be.
 Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?  Or will we build an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead?
 Pssst. Yo, Jamie and Lloyd and all you Too Big to Fails and billionaire donors. You are growing at warp speed, guys! You are creating crappy precarious low-wage jobs at the fastest hyper-capitalistic pace in decades. Your own wages are rising, at upwards of 300 times that of your average worker. That is the most extreme in the entire world. Obama might claim that wages for the proles are starting to inch up, but the reversal of fortunes of the working stiff is in negative territory. The grim reality is that paychecks are going down, down, down. David Cay Johnson has the lowdown and the charts over at Al-Jazeera. No worries, though, the Times  and the cable channels aren't covering this inconvenient truth. They're all on board with the president's new-found populism, treating his words as if they meant something. In the New Abnormal Economy, more tax breaks for child care expenses are considered "bold."

Now that he's set the stage for the rosy recovery, Obama immediately pivots to that telltale diversionary question-begging. He even pretends  to channel socialist Senator Bernie Sanders by stealing the phrase that "only a few at the top are doing spectacularly well." (Despite his gift for mimicry, Obama doesn't dare try to imitate the spluttering enraged Brooklynese "spectaculuh-ly well") The dog-whistled answer to the plutocrats to his first question -- will only a few do well? -- is a very definite "Yes We Can!"

The second rhetorical question tacitly adheres to Mitt Romney's criticism of the takers and the moochers, declaring through omission that the sick, the disabled, the elderly, the marginalized, the chronically unemployed will not have the same chance as the hard workers to "get ahead."
We’ll help working families’ paychecks go farther by treating things like paid leave and child care like the economic priorities that they are.  We’ll offer Americans of every age the chance to upgrade their skills so they can earn higher wages, with plans like making two years of community college free for every responsible student.  And we’ll keep building the world’s most attractive economy for high-wage jobs, with new investments in research, infrastructure, manufacturing, and expanded access to faster internet and new markets.
So many Orwellian obfuscations in just that one tiny paragraph.

First and foremost, Obama's populist initiatives have absolutely no chance of passing. They are not only too late, they are too little. One lousy week of paid family leave and free community college for "responsible" non-moochers are pathetic compared to the more generous safety nets and subsidies in other civilized nations. European countries commonly grant workers months or even years of at least partially paid time off to care for children or other family members. Many, including Germany, offer free four-year university education to all. So why then, since even crumbs for the struggling have no chance, didn't the president go really big?

 Because even hopeless ideas always have an outside chance of sticking, and offer the merest possibility of being implemented in some future, more lefty administration. Obama is not about to take even a rhetorical chance.

He further dog-whistles to Wall Street by giving credence to the much-debunked "skills gap" excuse used by the right wingers and the ultra wealthy, tax-averse job creators for not hiring people at liveable wages. There is no skills gap -- there is only an empathy gap. But Obama buys into this blame-the-victim theme because it enables using public money to train workers for private profit. The community college funding idea is very much of a piece with the fascist policies now euphemised as "public-private partnerships." It's the privatization of profit and the socialization of risk and cost.

Obama really pulls a fast one by coupling "expanded access to faster internet and new markets." Everybody wants faster internet service, so why not tack on "new markets" as code for the job-killing, planet-polluting corporate coup of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Be very vague while presenting it as good thing for regular people. It is such a grotesquely bad thing that even the glib Obama can't bring himself to say its name right out loud. It's such a bad thing that he refuses to divulge what's actually in it.

Of course, he couldn't afford to be so circumspect with Congressional Democrats this past week. He warned them to "keep their powder dry" on the TPP and not to read the Huffington Post. He apparently didn't realize that one of his propaganda hacks had just signed Obama's name to a Huffington Post editorial published only the day before. Hilarity ensued. Even Obama warns us not to believe Obama.
We can afford to make these investments.  Since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by about two-thirds – the fastest sustained deficit reduction since just after the end of World War II.  We just have to be smarter about how we pay for our priorities, and that’s what my budget does.  It proposes getting rid of special interest loopholes in our tax code, and using those savings to cut taxes for middle-class families and reward businesses that invest in America.  It refuses to play politics with our homeland security, and funds our national security priorities at home and abroad.  And it undoes the arbitrary, across-the-board budget cuts known as “the sequester” for our domestic priorities, and matches those investments dollar-for-dollar in resources our troops need to get the job done.
Obama still pretends that austerity worked. He still brags about cutting programs and prolonging suffering. But now he is willing to ease the suffering somewhat, because he's got world wars to fund and defense contractors to enrich and citizens to spy upon. He's in his last quarter.He needs to get the job done.  And that job is total weaponized domination of the globe and permanent feudalism here at home.
Now, I know that there are Republicans in Congress who disagree with my approach.  And like I said in my State of the Union Address, if they have ideas that will help middle-class families feel some economic security, I’m all in to work with them.  But I will keep doing everything I can to help more working families make ends meet and get ahead.  Not just because we want everyone to share in America’s success – but because we want everyone to contribute to America’s success.
This is the part in virtually every Obama speech where he poses as The Adult in the Room. This is the part where he appeals to the tribalistic instincts of the sponge colonies and pretends that the bad GOP won't let him get stuff done. The truth is that Republicans very much agree with his approach. They're anxious to give him unitary executive fast track authorization to complete the trade deals for the oligarchs served so well by both political parties. They agree with his bloodthirsty foreign policy of total world domination, the only minor quibbles being with the timing and locations of the various invasions and bombings and plunder-fests. They have willingly relinquished their own advise and consent duties, letting Obama as well as Bush bomb at will. They agree with his shielding of Wall Street criminals and CIA torturers. They think it's fine that he has the power to drone people to death. They are totally down with his administration's record deportations and prosecutions of whistleblowers and his war on journalism. 

And they definitely agree with the penultimate graf in his weekly address: they sincerely want everyone to contribute to America's success -- be it by their minimum wage precarious labor, the use of their bodies as cannon fodder, their forced contributions to the predatory medical insurance industry, their occasional votes to pick among pre-approved corporate shills to pose as their representatives.
 That’s the way the middle class thrived in the last century – and that’s how it will thrive again.
The middle class thrived in the last century with a strong labor movement and a 90-plus percent tax rate on obscene wealth under the Eisenhower administration. The middle class thrived because a  president named Franklin Delano Roosevelt welcomed the hatred of the same breed of sociopath that Obama now fawns over.

From FDR's April 1938 Message to Congress:
The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living.Both lessons hit home.
Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.
Are we tolerant immobile sponge-colonies? Or do we become activist citizens?

Our very survival depends on our answers to those questions.


Denis Neville said...

The thirsty “Jack Acid” sponges beg the Fascist Dog whistler, “Bark us all bow-wows of folly.”

“Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!”

It’s the Obama brand! A bought and shaped windup toy chanting what the plutocrats’ marketers require of him.

“Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof!”

Whichever pair of trousers he puts on in the morning, that's who he will be for that particular day. The Dog Whistler looks great in costume.

The two-headed Janus, the marketer’s dream, admiring himself in a mirror, "Funny how a good-lookin' fella look handsome in anything he throw on!"

“What is your substance, whereof are you made, that millions of strange shadows on you tend?”

“My hypocrisy knows no bounds. Hope and change? Openness and transparency? Jobs and civil society?” “Dunk them all in bowls of barley, hinky dinky dink an' polly voo!”

Wasn’t for nothing that he was named "Advertising Age's Marketer of the Year for 2008." Surrounded by admen, he capitalized on social networking and social media and niche marketing strategies such as text-messaging and Facebook….our “Jack Acid” society.

“Tizzy seas on melon collie! Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof, goof!”

“An emperor without clothes, when lavished with praise from those enamored by his beauty, will never know shame and will never lead with humility or empathy or grace.” - Dwayne Booth, aka “Mr. Fish,” Go Fish: How to Win Contempt and Influence People

Walt Kelly's Pogo was right: “We have met the enemy, and they are us.”

annenigma said...

I have a solution for making more activist citizens. It's in a comment to the NYT editorial titled 'Retroactively Authorizing War'. Please go and find my comment and vote me up! It's awkwardly and hurriedly written but the message is clear:

"We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. Now we have to choose what we want that future to look like." Barack Obama, January 29, 2015

We get to choose? We wish! He must have been talking to those Corporate People again.

But we should get to decide. In a real Democracy we would. But we have one of those bastardized versions called 'Representative' because the power elite don't trust We the Riffraff and don't want to share the power they've bought and paid for. Representatives represent them.

President Obama has already determined our future by engaging us in new wars, locking us into the expenses, sacrifices, and blowback thereof while and locking in a steady stream of profits for the Military-Industrial Complex from taxpayer pockets. Doesn't perpetual war authorization for all future Presidents sounds like something that Corporate Persons who buy governments would come up with? So why would our Constitutional Law professor, Nobel Peace prize winner go along with that?

President Obama, give us something historic and momentous! Sign an Executive Order or begin a Presidential initiative to bring Direct Democracy to the people and allow Referendums on national issues.

We don't rely on the pony express anymore and we don't need to send 'representatives' by horse to the Capital either.

Power to the Riffraff!

Jay-Ottawa said...

...head fake...pivot...obfuscation...a fast one...very vague...circumspect...propaganda...pretense...

All those words are dancing around another term, so bold we hate to come right out with it. One is more likely to hear the core term from enemies, than friends. Or sponges.

On 09/09/09, during a joint session of Congress assembled to hear President Obama’s proposals for reforming healthcare, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted “You lie!” Twice. Do you suppose he was intimating not so obliquely that Obama is an out-and-out liar?

From all sides, agents of civility and integrity like Rahm Emanuel, John McCain and Bill Cosby went on the record to demand Wilson apologize, which he did.

Wilson is no dummy and no nobody. Among his credentials are a law degree, 25 years in a big law firm, service as a municipal judge, the rank of colonel in the army reserves, a top rating of “A” by the NRA, a talent for fund raising (especially since his remark of 2009), selection by his peers in the House as an assistant whip, a member of the muscular Tea Party Caucus, plus appointments as a president, chairman or member of numerous civic organizations, both public and private.

I know, I know, we don't like Joe or his crowd. But sometimes the enemy makes a good point, which we should acknowledge.

Timing and place are everything, Joe. A joint session of Congress was neither the time nor the place to call out the disquieting truth that Obama is a liar. On such occasions tradition requires that hollow decorum trump the truth.

However, on just about every other day during Obama’s political tenure––whether on street corners, in the press and on the web, or around the environs of any office water cooler––flinging that “You lie!” in his direction would be quite correct as regards both protocol and fact.

Patricia M. said...

And now this . . . .

"U.S. Taking a Fresh Look at Arming Kiev Forces"

I trust I'm not alone in hearing the drums of war: The U.S. helped brokered the coup of duly elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

Joe Biden's son, Hunter, is on the board of Ukrainian Burisma Holdings, along with Devon Archer, a friend of John Kerry's stepson Christpher Heinz. Natalie Jaresko, a brand new citizen of Ukraine (and former State Department employee) is now its Finance Minister!

The current Ukrainian government is peppered with Neo-Nazis. This country continues to demonize Putin, with no comment on the Russian view. And no discussion of anything other than the usual "good guys/bad guys" gibberish.

Another curious matter: Why have no findings been published on the crash of Malaysian Flight 370 in September of last year? Or even news, for that matter?

Patricia M. said...

One more curious matter:

The NYT broke this story in the middle of the Super Bowl.

Patricia M. said...

I apologize for my error. My stress level is rising.

I was referring to Malaysia Flight MH17 that crashed in July of 2014.

annenigma said...

Hey, welcome back, Jay!

Obama is by far the slickest, most talented, and most charming Liar-in-Chief this country has ever had. Plus he's gone to the dark side. Oh, oh.

'Exclusive: Obama's Post-Presidential Slogan: 'Eight Years is Only the Beginning'

"Something big is coming"

"Our first priority is laying the groundwork for the Barack Obama Library and Museum,... “Next, we’ll sketch out the programs and initiatives that will begin when the president and first lady come on board in 2017."

You think he'll start an initiative for national referendums and a more direct democracy? Hahahahaha. More like the opposite. Fascism full speed ahead. If he adopts a cover of helping the poor, that's all it will be.

The wealthy don't waste their money on such things. Money and Power is the game Obama loves playing, but only when he can be the center of attention. That's why he loves campaigning (especially soliciting donations) but not leading or governing. Too boring! He's far too young to temper his ambitions. To the Stars and beyond!

Remember that conspiracy theory about the emergence of a totalitarian New World Order? It's like Jay said about Joe Wilson - sometimes it's worth listening. There could be truth in there.

What is the difference between the Military-Industrial Complex running roughshod over the planet in the interest of Capitalist 'free' market profits, aka Imperial Capitalism, and the New World Order? With the ongoing Global War on Terror and subsequent crackdown on civil rights, totalitarian impulses are growing by leaps and bounds in governments formerly known as members of the Free World.

Obama has served his MIC partners-in-crime(s) very well and I'm sure it will pay off. The world will soon be his big oyster with fewer constraints and more opportunities.

Denis Neville said...

I’ll second that, “Welcome back, Jay!”

Patricia M. said...

Re arming Ukraine. There's more. Today's Times editorial:

"Mr. Putin Resumes His War in Ukraine"

The neocon trolls are the busiest I've ever seen among the commenters.

annenigma said...


Not a trace of evidence was ever found from that flight. Maybe there were Muslims on the Kill List on board. What's a little collateral damage when no one will ever know?

It just seems odd to me that two planes mysteriously came down in our newly claimed strategic 'Pacific Power' terrortory [sic], in the proximity of the country with the largest Muslim population on earth - Indonesia. Both planes had their computerized systems mysteriously switched off just before things went bad.

Not that it's related or anything, but here's an article from Popular Mechanics called '8 Laser Weapons Systems to Zap Planes, Boats, and People'

If we accidentally or intentionally shot down an airliner, I wonder if our Intelligence services might deliberately misdirect recovery efforts to allow the evidence to sink out of sight forever. Who cares about collateral damage anyway? Out of sight, out of mind.

Our MIC-run regime is definitely out of its mind. Just read up on some of the latest weaponry, battle tested and ready to be used here in the Homeland. It will set your hair on fire, or make you feel like it is.

Will said...

Here's a nice commercial from last night's Super Bowl. I'm thinking about picking up one of these bad boys as a second family vehicle. Not sure I can swing it financially, though:

P.S. Welcome back, Jay!

Patricia M. said...

@Annenigma -
Thank you for your comment and for the link. Informative and food for thought. I am particularly curious about Flight MH17 that was shot down over Ukraine. Wreckage from that flight was found - and much ado was made about gathering evidence. The U.S. government was swift in its judgment prior to gathering ANY evidence that the Russian government or those in East Ukraine was responsible. Odd that nothing has been heard. Perhaps "suspicious" might be a better word.