Of Course Obama and Kleptocrats Savage Sick, Elderly, Young, Poor & Working Class
Paul Street in “Whose Black President” on what the Obama administration has wrought:
... Barack Obama has belonged to Wall Street, corporate America, and the Pentagon from the beginning. Consider his first year in the White House – a study in the triumph of corporate-imperial conservatism. With its expansion of the monumental bailout of hyper-opulent financial overlords, its refusal to nationalize and cut down parasitic financial institutions, its passage of a health “reform” bill that only the big insurance and drug companies could love (consistent with Rahm Emmanuel’s advice to the president: “ignore the progressives”), its cutting of an auto bailout deal that raided union pension funds and rewarded capital flight, its undermining of global carbon emission reduction efforts at Copenhagen, its refusal to advance serious public works programs (green or otherwise), its green-lighting of escalated strip mining and hazardous deepwater oil drilling, its disregarding of promises to labor and other popular constituencies (remember the Employee Free Choice Act?) and other betrayals of its “progressive base” (the other side of the coin of promises kept to its corporate sponsors), and its appointment of a Deficit Reduction Commission “headed [in economist Michael Hudson’s words] by avowed enemies of Social Security” (Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton chief of staff Erskin Bowles), Obama’s “change” and “hope” (corporatist Bill Clinton’s campaign keywords in 1992) presidency epitomized the power of what Edward S. Herman and David Peterson call “the unelected dictatorship of money.”
Along the way, the “new” White House escalated Superpower violence in South Asia, passed a record-setting “defense” (Empire) budget, rolled over George W. Bush’s not-so counter-terrorist assault on human rights (in the name of “freedom”), extended the imperial terror war to Yemen and Somalia, disguised escalated U.S. occupation of Haiti as humanitarian relief, aided and abetted a thuggish right wing coup in Honduras, and expanded the Pentagon’s reach in Columbia/Latin America – a fascinating record for the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. It called progressives who dared to criticize these and other White House policies “fucking retard[s] (former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel) who require “drug testing” (former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs). Leftists and sincere liberals were accused of being “purists” who do not live in the real world, who make “the perfect the enemy of the good” and fail to grasp the necessity of “compromise” to “get things done.” Never mind that much of what the administration did involved compromises made before Republican opposition was aroused and has been no damn good at all.
I’m with Street and also with Bruce Dixon and his assessment of Obama in “Obama and the Fake Ceiling Crisis: This President is Really Just Smarter Than You Are”:
What if Barack Obama is a Reagan Democrat in every meaningful way, right down to a fanatical belief in trickle down economics? What if the president counts on corporate media and his army of careerists and sycophants to shut down and cover up cracks in the Obama consensus through which reality might leak? What if Obama is not weak, or timid, or vacillating or waiting for us to “make him do it”? What if what we've seen is all there is, all there ever was?
The truth is that Barack Obama's actions are entirely rational, understandable and even predictable if you suppose him to have been a vicious, vacuous and cynical right wing operative from the very beginning.
The historic pattern of post-sixties Democratic candidates has been to come in on the high tide of public disgust at Republican rule, but to push the pro-corporate agenda further than would be allowable under Republicans.
Glenn Greenwald always does an excellent job analyzing the American pathos:
In other words, a slew of millionaire politicians who spent the last decade exploding the national debt with Endless War, a sprawling Surveillance State, and tax cuts for the rich are now imposing extreme suffering on the already-suffering ordinary citizenry, all at the direction of their plutocratic overlords, who are prospering more than ever and will sacrifice virtually nothing under this deal (despite their responsibility for the 2008 financial collapse that continues to spawn economic misery). And all of this will be justified by these politicians and their millionaire media mouthpieces with the obscenely deceitful slogans of "shared sacrifice" and "balanced debt reduction" -- two of the most odiously Orwellian phrases since "Look Forward, not Backward" and "2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate" (and anyone claiming that Obama was involuntarily forced by the "crazy" Tea Party into massive budget cuts at a time of almost 10% unemployment ...
Three days ago, Democratic Rep. John Conyers, appearing at a meeting of the Out of Poverty caucus, said: "The Republicans -- Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Cantor -- did not call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. The President of the United States called for that" ....
The reported deal on the debt ceiling is so completely one-sided -- brutal domestic cuts with no tax increases on the rich and the likelihood of serious entitlement cuts in six months with a "Super Congressional" deficit commission -- that even Howard Kurtz was able to observe: "If there are $3 trillion in cuts and no tax hikes, Obama will have to explain how it is that the Republicans got 98 pct. of what they wanted,"
In other words: it makes no difference to us how much we stomp on liberals' beliefs or how much they squawk, because we'll just wave around enough pictures of Michele Bachmann and scare them into unconditional submission. That's the Democratic Party's core calculation: from "hope" in 2008 to a rank fear-mongering campaign in 2012. Will it work? The ones who will determine if it will are the intended victims of that tactic: angry, impotent liberals whom the White House expects will snap dutifully into line no matter what else happens (even, as seems likely, massive Social Security and Medicare cuts) between now and next November.
I am afraid, too, the impotent ... I don’t call them liberals, Mr. Greenwald ... faux-progressives will assert their will-less wills and secure our fate as a fascist country.
American citizens want an end to the wars. They want Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid to be protected. They want taxes to be raised on wealthy Americans.
The President and the Congress don’t care what the American people want. They stopped representing us a long time ago.
The American political class and the corporatists continue on with the economic raping of Americans and the rest of the world. $14 trillion handed over to the oligarchs in the bail-out wasn’t enough.
The oligarchy, bastards of the universe, want every last drop of our blood, and our political betrayers on both sides of the aisle are hustling to give it to them.
Neo-feudalism, fascism and imperialism have a lock on pathetic, captured America.
Senator Bernie Sanders in “Why Americans Are So Angry” points out that nurses, teachers, firemen pay a higher tax rate than some billionaires. Of course they do.
GE and Exxon-Mobil have made billions in profits this year but tax loopholes enabled them not to pay any federal income tax Sanders also reveals, thanks to tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. Of course.
In December the House and Senate extended Bush’s tax rates for the rich and lowered estate tax rates for the rich. In April the Senate and House cut almost $40 billion in programs for the working and middle classes. Of course they did.
The Dems are fighting to cut ONLY $900 billion from education, health care, nutrition, housing, child care, etc. It looks to cut some money from the grotesquely inflated military budget. Boehner’s $1.2 trillion plan wants no cuts for the wars, and another $1.8 trillion in cuts in the next months of additional screwing of the American people.
But an amoral-media-led lemming America supposes its best route is to cheer on the lesser of two evils Dems. Hoping they prevail. Yeah, Dem Doormats, put your hopes on Obama and Reid, et al.
As Paul Craig Roberts asserts in "Disastrous Outcomes From An Orchestrated Crisis:"
While the world media fixates on the orchestrated debt ceiling crisis, the US government continues to bomb civilians in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia and continues with preparations to do the same thing to Syria and Iran.
The violations of other countries’ sovereignties, the naked aggressions that constitute war crimes, the murder of noncombatants, and the horrible moral and economic expense inflicted by the maximization of the military/security complex’s profits are somehow not a crisis. These are just routine, normal, everyday necessary events. Nothing to notice or to become upset about.
The offshoring of US jobs, GDP, tax base, and consumer demand that has eroded away the US economy and the government’s tax base, thus elevating the deficit, is somehow not a crisis. These are just the imperatives of globalism and the routine maximization of shareholders’ profits and management’s performance bonuses.
The US has become such a ridiculous collection of fools that no real crisis can be recognized. Instead, the country is mesmerized by a fake crisis.
Chris Floyd’s comments in "If the Republic Had Not Died A Long Time Ago, This Would Indeed Be the Death of the Republic (Reprise)" on what the reality is beneath the media circus debt crisis:
Behind all the flim-flammery of this manufactured "crisis", we are watching the creation of a new form of government -- or rather, the further mutation of the new form of government that the United States has been crawling toward for a long time. We called it a "neo-feudal oligarchy backed by a militarist police state" here the other day. No doubt there are many other ways you could describe this murderous, ravenous, lopsided monstrosity of a system. But the one thing you cannot call it is a "republic".
As I wrote in my original piece, back in February 2008:
I don't know what will come next. I don't know if the United States can crawl out of the filthy pit of empire and tyranny over the next few decades and claw its way toward some new manifestation of democracy -- or if it will just keep sinking, raging, rotting, mutating further into a war-and-torture state that must feed constantly on human flesh to survive. Of course, I hope for -- and will work toward -- the former, the new manifestation, although I honestly don't expect to see such a thing in my own lifetime. But whatever will be, one thing is certain now: the constitutional republic of the United States is a dead letter, a relic of history.
And nothing that happens in November -- when one imperial factotum or another gets their turn at the top of the greasy pole -- will change that basic fact. The Freedom Road is a long road -- and we're still a long way from taking even our first steps on that journey. We've got miles of wilderness to cut through yet.
As you can see, I was still an incurable optimist in those halcyon days. We are not, of course, merely a "long way" from taking our first steps on the journey out of our madness; we are whole parsecs away, and hurtling at light-speed in the opposite direction.
The opposite direction. You hear and heed that? We have been going the opposite direction from the republic under Obama and the Dems. They have brought us to fascism.
When do we say “Enough”?
[cross-posted at correntewire]