Tuesday, February 9, 2016

He's So Vain

 (optional soundtrack.)

Poor Barack Obama. He went to all that trouble to break up the ragtag Occupy Wall Street movement during one hippie-punching, pepper-spraying police state week back in the fall of 2011. And now it's all come back to bite him in the ass.

 The elders of the Democratic Party thought that they'd accomplished, if not the death of OWS, at least its co-optation. After all, Obama handily won re-election the following year. But mirabile dictu!  Occupy, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Fight for 15 and other activist groups have sneaked right back in to occupy the Democratic Party itself. The national conversation has been hijacked by an FDR liberal named Bernie Sanders, who might end up not only succeeding Obama, but dealing the coup de grace to the entire Neoliberal Project of the Reagan Revolution and the Clintonoid Third Way.

Democracy is rearing its ugly head again, and Obama is reportedly very, very nervous about this whole revolution thing. Even with his legendary genius IQ -- augmented lavishly by the Deep State brains of the CIA, the NSA and the FBI  -- he never saw Bernie Sanders coming.

Empress-in-Waiting Hillary Clinton's gross corruption and incompetence has let him down, big-time. He is probably kicking himself for so ever cutely attempting to co-opt her as his Secretary of State, thereby keeping a dangerous political enemy close. Without that patronage fillip, she would only have been a First Lady, an unaccomplished Senator, and a failed 2008 presidential candidate. Without Obama's own arrogant willful blindness to her private Internet account and her use of public office to enrich her family slush fund, she might have even been fired halfway through her frequent flier marathon as his ineffectual Good Will Ambassador.

Obama has only himself to blame for the rise of Bernie Sanders and socialism as the default position of a whole lost generation of over-educated, underpaid, deeply indebted young people who have never known a day when this country has not been at war. And for that accomplishment alone, I think he should be allowed to keep his Nobel Peace Prize.

Since it would now appear unseemly to either actively campaign for Hillary Clinton, bring in Joe Biden, or directly criticize Bernie Sanders, Obama must look to other reliable sources to get his message of displeasure out. So he has turned to his exclusive cadre of journalists and opinion-writers to be his off-the-record conduits of the Obama Story he wants the public to hear.

Over the weekend, Carl Bernstein (both a White House insider and Hillary Clinton biographer) went on CNN to announce how very, very upset the president is about the ongoing bitter Democratic primary. It's hurting Obama's precious legacy. If Bernie Sanders beats Hillary, that legacy might go up in flames. Obama's corporate coup (the TPP) might be dust. His market-based health insurance kludge might morph into a single payer Medicare for All plan. Wall Street and corporate felons might actually be prosecuted instead of being granted the tax breaks and cabinet and government advisory positions to which they have become accustomed.

Therefore, said Bernstein, the White House wants all the people to realize how absolutely imperative it is that Hillary Clinton be elected to succeed Barack Obama:

 Obama wants to broadcast the fear-mongering message that Sanders's socialism is out of touch with mainstream America -- despite the fact that millennial voters themselves overwhelmingly identify as socialist. As Bernstein tells it on CNN, Hillary's problem is not that she accepted money from Goldman Sachs and other banks: it's that she doesn't know how to feign proper humility before the public.

 The Washington insider wisdom is that Bernie isn't electable, and Hillary isn't delectable.

In other words, she can't do the "I feel your pain" head-fake as well as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

So, cue right-of-center David Brooks, not only an esteemed member of Obama's inner circle of off-the-record pundits, but often described as the center-right president's particular favorite columnist.

Brooks wrote an elegiac piece titled "I Miss Barack Obama" in today's New York Times. The accompanying photo shows Obama wand'ring lonely as a cloud to the Oval Office, embowered in a princely burst of flowering foliage in lieu of the more obvious crown of laurels. 

  Brooks channels presidential angst in all its froth and narcissism. Barack's greatest fear is not for the dire fates of ordinary people. It's that all his genius will be for naught, given Hillary's tanking numbers, the Republican clown car, and the specter of Bernie Sanders succeeding him.

Brooks mawkishly allows that while he often has had to pretend to disagree with Obama for partisan tribal purposes, the current occupant of the White House stands head and shoulders above mere mortals.
But over the course of this campaign it feels as if there’s been a decline in behavioral standards across the board. Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply.
The first and most important of these is basic integrity. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free. Think of the way Iran-contra or the Lewinsky scandals swallowed years from Reagan and Clinton.
There are no mass media-reported scandals because the Obama regime has been rightly described as the most secretive in modern history. We know few details of his drone assassination program, for example, or his own closed-door fundraisers, or what went on behind the scenes of the orchestrated crackdown on Occupy, or the suppression of the 9/11 report section dealing with the Saudi royal family's role in the attacks, or the suppression of the CIA torture report. And those are just the scandals that come immediately to my mind. (For a full accounting of his first term, please see the "Obama Scandals List" on my Blog Roll.)

Meanwhile, Brooks manages to destroy his own homage by displaying some unintentional colorblind racism, fawning over the Obamas as one of those "respectable" black families. Barack and Michelle have displayed "superior integrity," Brooks gushes. "You'd be happy to have them in your community." (Apparently they would be that rare black couple who would not lower Brooks's property values if they moved next door to him.)

Brooks would not like Bernie Sanders to live within a thousand miles of him, because he is "so blinded by his values that reality doesn't seem to penetrate his mind." He would rip health care away from thousands (SanderScare) and even worse, rip the wings right off the insurance raptors!  Obama, on the other hand, knows his proper place in the grand white supremacy scheme of things.  He also doesn't "wallow in the pornography of pessimism."

Obama always presents a rapturous, G-rated Pollyannish picture about how great America is, how much the economy is improving, how much he loves peace even as he rains down his bombs and orchestrates his secret coups. Because if he told the truth to people -- the truth that their lives and prospects suck because of the unfettered capitalism he enables -- then the people might just stage a revolution.

Oh, wait.


annenigma said...

Thanks you, Karen! I had been looking for that image of Bernie. I just finished making my home made bumper sticker out of those white flexible magnetic vent covers I mentioned in a previous post and it came out great!

annenigma said...

Btw, great post!

annenigma said...

I found an article that listed some of the financial crimes that Obama wasn't interested in:

money laundering for drug cartels and rogue nations

illegally evicting homeowners

selling fraudulent mortgages and mortgage backed securities

manipulating vital interest rates

insider trading

facilitating off-shore tax evasion

loan sharking payday loans

financial strip mining by stock buybacks to increase share price for self-benefit

Pearl said...

We haven't heard much from Michelle lately either. Wonder if she will hold her nose when she votes for Hillary.

Pearl said...


Add this to your list: I may think of more later:

Unregulated profits by the medical insurers for Obamacare, preventing people from using some of the services or becoming bankrupt by them;

And was Hillary earning those huge fees for speeches while she was still
Secretary of State?

Elizabeth Adams said...

Absolutely wonderful post! And I learned a few new words, tyvm. One of them -- fillip --rhymes with the name of my youngest, who turned 17 today. This is definitely the first election I have truly been interested in, and Bernie's campaign is the first I have ever contributed to.

I love reading and sharing your writing, Karen. You are the best.

Ken Wallace said...

Top notch stuff, Karen. Don't know why but always grinning as I read your blog. Lets hope for a shocker in SC & NV. Feeling the Bern, big time.

Pearl said...

No matter how Bernie Sanders fares politically, his enthusiastic supporters, especially the young people will never forget this day in New Hampshire. And should he have the kitchen sink thrown at him and lose, they will learn how the establishment treats citizens who challenge the corruption going on.

I remember how the force of public opinion especially among young people ended the Vietnam war finally and those that came back never forgot what they had seen and finally learned of the gross deception that had occurred.

I think events today are even more entrenched and hope it is not too late to have a real beginning of a political revolution.

Thanks Karen and commenters for all the great information you provide which cancels out the garbage on CNN and the NYtimes with never ending coverage of the Republican caravan and Donald Trump. Glad Bernie had a comment for the Media at the end of his speech.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Aside from the TPP, the biggest crime Obama has overseen is his attack on whistleblowers. Of course, there is no scandal. Anyone who wants to "out" a crime or a misuse of taxpayer money or a misuse of power and influence is thrown to the wolves to be devoured. Their truths are silenced and buried.

Of course, Brooksy and Obummer are fast friends . . . birds of a feather and all that.

As imperfect as Bernie is, he is real. What we see is what we get. His voting record is consistent with his campaign message and we are hungry for a Democratic Party that looks and acts more like FDR's than Ronald Reagan's. We are sick of being sold out by the Democrats and being stuck with the Lesser of Two Evils.

I remember Chris Hedges saying that Occupy was the real thing and that it wouldn't die a quiet death. After feeling so helpless and hopeless for so long, ordinary people found that they were encouraged and found strength in numbers. No one is willing to give that up anymore for the privilege of eating crumbs off the rich man's table.

annenigma said...

Unlike the entourage of Congresswomen who are afraid of being thrown into Hillary Hell after being pressured to follow her around like puppies to a Bitch, the woman voters of New Hampshire would not be BULLIED!

More power to Elizabeth Warren for resisting the pressure. Maggie Hassan, governor of NH, should be feeling like the biggest loser right now, but I'm sure that's nothing compared to how the Clinton Machine would have treated her.

annenigma said...

After trouncing Hillary, Bernie only gets 13 of the Democratic delegates in NH and Hillary wins at least 9. The NYT had them tied at 13 each last night but took the numbers down to keep us from noticing. Two delegates apparently haven't yet been allocated.

So Hillary now has 394, thanks to her bullying and buying superdelegates and Bernie has 42 delegates.

If we know anything about the Clintons by now, they'll try to steamroll, bankroll, and steal this electoral process. Someone needs to keep close watch on the bank accounts and type and age of cars the superdelegates own.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks everybody.

Have you noticed the headlines this morning? Almost all are dominated by Trump's relatively paltry victory, with Bernie's crushing of Hillary included almost as an afterthought. The Thought Leaders are obviously still in their Denial Stage. Even if Bernie wins the general election, I highly doubt that the New York Times, for example, will ever grant him legitimacy. They'll try to make his tenure into a repeat of Jimmy Carter.

One thing's for sure, this campaign will not be boring. And to think less than a year ago I was grousing about the "Neoliberal Death Match" between Hill and Jeb.

annenigma said...

A chart on the bottom of the Politico homepage shows Hillary picked up 15 delegates in NH to Bernie's 13.


It's too bad Bernie can't pick up on this obvious subversion of democracy by the Democratic party, but I can see why he doesn't. This is a situation where I like Donald Trump's political incorrect outspokenness - when he was booed by the audience for trying to shush Jeb during the last debate, he took it as an occasion to point out that tickets are awarded by the network to candidates for their donors and as a result, the audience is filled with special interests, not ordinary voters. By sponsoring the debates, the media gets in on the 'selling access' racket. No wonder the League of Women Voters was a victim of a ho$tile takeover of the Presidential debates.

So what's the point of voting if the Democratic Party Establishment lets delegate votes be bought before primary elections even start? It's a primary election sham within a general election sham.

Good luck, Bernie! He should talk about that but since he can't, WE should. We're a vital part of his campaign and his future administration - that's what makes this a Political Revolution. It's not about him, it's about all of us and whatever affects all of us, especially the FAIRNESS of our elections.

Here's my suggestion for the message we should repeat everywhere:

"Hillary famously 'found her voice' in NH, but she's stealing our voices by locking up superdelegates before we even get a chance to vote! Shame on Hillary for helping subverting our democratic process. It's not fair!" *

*My name is President Bernie Sanders and I approve this message*

Pearl said...

I was shocked to learn about how delegates are chosen regardless of the actual voting numbers. Karen, please explain things to me and others and how does one bypass this dilemma. I don't remember hearing anything from CNN about this delegate set up as they were busy trying to avoid explaining Bernie's huge win but going on and on about Trump's.

I guess I shouldn't be shocked either by the endless reporting of Trump and thugs, but to see Bernie shoved to the side after his great win except for a few brave articles is beyond belief. History is full of presidents winning and candidates losing with the wrong people (obviously) getting into the Oval Office which explains a lot about American history.

There was an article about Hillary's speech in New Hampshire sounding like she was Bernie Sanders speaking, in the Washington Post, stealing his plans almost word for word. Is there no end to the Clintons' arrogance?

Jay–Ottawa said...

Someone gimme a little history about the allocation of super delegates. Might the details of that story made public be helpful to Bernie and voters generally? In his victory speech last night Bernie launched what may be a new theme of his campaign: Fairness. Should Bernie weave that rotten super delegate business into his stump speech under the heading of fairness"?

The word "fairness," I suspect, would cause the Clinton camp to cringe like demons before the cross every time it's mentioned. Somewhere in "Democracy in America" Tocqueville mentions the particular distaste of Americans to being one-upped, cheated, unfairly bested, taken advantage of.

Well then ... Was trashing Glass-Steagall fair? Was recapitalizing Wall Street fair? Was TARP fair? Was the Wall Street Bonus Army fair? Is holding down the minimum wage fair? Was the imprisonment of truth tellers (i.e., whistleblowers) fair? Was Citizens United fair? Are the PACs fair? Is the super delegate thing fair? Is the ACA fair? .... Compulsive list makers will have a field day.

There's the contents of YOUR OWN kitchen sink, Bernie. If it isn't too unchivalrous, why don't you dump it over her head?

Jay–Ottawa said...

In my next life I intend to be a Quaker. They are so cool. Did you know their activist arm, the AFSC, was tracking candidates and testing them with interesting questions, some of which go viral?

Meredith NYC said...

Annenigma.... or anyone....

"No wonder the League of Women Voters was a victim of a ho$tile takeover of the Presidential debates."
Could you cite a few points on this, like when,why,how.
Is this why we have media talk show hosts conducting the debates? I can't recall how it used to be.

annenigma said...

I was listening to Chuck Todd before the Democratic Iowa horsetrading, aka caucuses, and he said if Trump and Sanders won, it would be a 'political earthquake' which would rock the Establishment. Then when both won convincingly in the REAL primary of NH, the silence has been deafening.

As we can all clearly see, NYT is still trying to blackout Bernie which reveals that they're not going to change. Think of them as the Goldman Sachs of the newspaper empire. Money and keeping the Establishment propped up is all they care about.

PLEASE cancel your NYT subscription! Don't just threaten and keep handing over your money to them. Tell them why you're cancelling and only after you see an extended pattern of improvement in fairness in the future will you consider paying again. Don't be a sucker!

You can read the NYT free online. You don't have to be limited to the 10 articles as long as you change your browser setting to empty your cookie cache whenever you close your browser. When the box appears that says you've reached your limit, just close your browser and start over on the next 10.

I can't urge you enough to stop feeding that corporate, antidemocratic pig! Exercise your power! It's not just Bernie either. It's the TPP, escalation of wars in the Middle East, and other important issues that they've decided they don't want us informed about so we won't rock their boat/yacht. They know they can't keep the Establishment propped up without deliberately keeping us in the dark. It's subversion of democracy. It's not appropriate in a free society to put those limits on news. Thank God for the internet.

You can still stay registered at NYT to make comments and vote recommends, and you can still be Verified if you already are. You have nothing to lose and you can help us all gain fairness in coverage if they got the message that we're fed up and we're not going to be part of it.

Please don't complain about the NYT continuing to black out Bernie (and TPP, etc.) IF you're still paying them to do that. Money is the only thing that corporations care about. Anyone who continues to work for the NYT is also a sell-out or buying in. Their employees know what the paper is doing, but their own self-interests are more important. The voices of dissent there have been non-existent since Frank Rich and Bob Herbert left. They saw the handwriting on the wall and they had integrity to leave. Please do the same - leave the NYT, at least with your money.

Freeload for the First Amendment!

Meredith NYC said...

Re Sanders win, the NYT article cited unsettling results, and Trump's blunt language. My comment:

Er, just who is ‘deeply unsettled’ NYT? The powers that be are unsettled, the corporations controlling our govt instead of the other way around. And the politicians they vet, hire, sponsor and market to us.

Those who aim to restore democracy in the USA are jubilant, heartened and newly optimistic.

You know, Sanders’ language is also blunt, but not abusive and gross like Trump.

In fact Sanders is the bluntest speaking candidate ever. His sentences are strong, real, concise and meaningful. Subject- verb-object, all connected to reality.

That separates him out right away from the rest and from Hillary who is coming across as the public relations candidate—obfuscator in chief.

Sanders is so obviously authentic, has nothing to hide, and the nations’ problems are so stark, that only blunt remedies can start to solve them. Or maybe Bernie only seems super-blunt after the double talk we’ve been hearing for years.

So NYT, will you now continue to mention Sanders’ hair, his age, his manner? Or will you actually start fulfilling the purpose of our ‘free press’ and write about the issues.
There’s plenty Fit to Print that you’ve been ignoring. Don’t strain yourself---but try it. The op ed page has been letting us down hard. Maybe start by offering readers some new columnists!

Really, only blunt sarcasm fits this situation.

Meredith NYC said...

Pundits accuse Sanders of impracticality. Hillary says shes the pragmatic one. But most of his ideas worked well in our past, re taxes, unions, education, etc

What’s impractical? Clinton’s half baked, too little too late pseudo solutions. Leaving Glass Steagall repealed--she says it's irrelevant to ‘shadow banking’. Well, we still need retail banks for our home and business loans to be separate from wild west investment banking. Reality?

She’ll keep but improve Obamacare? But it’s unrealistic for ACA to ever achieve h/c for all at lower cost. We're doomed to high cost since it subsidizes huge profits for shareholders/CEOs of insurance and drug corporations. Inevitably.

This contrasts starkly with many countries whose lower cost h/c for all have demonstrably worked well for generations---they negotiate insurance premiums and drug costs, or they have single payer. Practical.

The rationalizations for our unbalanced, high profit h/c are so creative, they’re laughable. By contrast, higher taxes fairly applied to all income levels translates to lower insurance premiums, shown in dozens of nations. That’s what our punditocracy keeps ignoring. Reality denial.

Hillary is anti free college? Or low cost? It works now in many nations. It once worked well in the US. See the data. Many older people can testify to their low tuition, leading to good careers, living standards, and retirement—since their states taxed enough to let them get degrees without high debt. They later paid higher taxes adding to state revenue!

So which one is the pragmatic candidate, and which one is in realty denial?

annenigma said...

Not to trumpet Trump, but he also informed us of all the millions the networks make off the debates and resented the fact that the network was making so much mostly resulting from his star power pulling more viewers in (fighting and insulting helps too). After noting publicly how much money they make from the debates, he tried negotiating with CNN for a donation of part of their profits to a charitable cause. When they refused, he used one of his campaign appearances to raise money for veterans. The media didn't actually cover that issue because of what it revealed about them, and Donald didn't want to admit he didn't swing the deal, but that's what happened.

I like listening to everyone, even when it's difficult. I even learned from Ted 'Eddie Haskell' Cruz that candidates read the top NYT comments about them!

(Eddie Haskell - obnoxious suck-up trickster from 'Leave It to Beaver' tv show.)

Ste-vo said...

@ Jay. I am Quaker. We are nice people. Our meetings are always enlightening. In Middlebury, we all support Bernie.

Jay–Ottawa said...

@ Ste-vo
Good to know a Quaker is among us. I know the Society of Friends through continual contact over the years with the AFSC chapter in Syracuse. Their cottage on Euclid Avenue was one of the most respected powerhouses in the area in support of peace and down to earth good works. They had it all in whatever measure you wanted: leadership, office facilities, meeting space, contacts and material support. When in doubt about how to respond to a thorny political or social challenge, one should think to ask "What is the AFSC's position on the matter?"

Pearl said...

Karen: congratulations on your comment to Blow's latest column with top of the line and 1320 reader choices checks so far. His column was particularly vile today with put downs of Bernie and misspeaking for other black voters.
Do print it on our website. Thank you.