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Posts Tagged ‘Obama

Rules of Engagement and Empire Don’t Mix- and ignoring it won’t help

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Sheila Samples, a former Army Public Info Officer, wrote an article in Feb of this year that presaged  the current flap created by the Rolling Stone article, The Runaway General, by Michael Hastings.   Sounds like insubordination has been an open secret for a long time.

I have two questions:

  • Why did it take an expose to get the Obama Admin to address the problem?
  • And why do we have to get this kind of news from Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, or not at all?

Some may characterize this as just the latest public relations blunder.

It’s much more than that. But I fear the major problem is hypocrisy: We have Imperialist motives and goals, but insist on dressing them up as benign.  It’s not surprising those on the front lines feel scorn for their leaders. They risk their lives for Imperialism without being given free rein to pursue it.

We need to get out of Afghanistan now. We no longer have the resources to sustain Empire-building. Not to mention that it is antithetical to what we’re supposed to believe in.

Why can’t we see what dangerous territory our decline is getting us into at home? We might as well be advertising in red-white-blue neon- “Tyrant wanted”.

–Claudia

Update: see also this premonitory article from June 15th about that other mighty warrior “King” David Petraeus and the joys of insubordination:

King David and His Howling Commandos by Jeff Huber

…… A May 24 New York Times story by Mark Mazzetti informed us that last September “King David” Petraeus empowered himself, through a secret directive, to expand “clandestine military activity” throughout his Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility without seeking permission of Congress or the commander in chief. “Clandestine military activity” involves SOCOM assets…..

The Incompetent Leadership Class in a World of Hurt

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Updated below:

It should be apparent to all by now that the Obama administration is fifth-rate at best. Perhaps any American administration in these days would be. It is stuffed with self-important folks with Ivy-league wallpaper, few competencies, and endless ambition.

Meanwhile the US was embarrassed (thankfully, for those of us fearing a world war) by Iran’s recent nuclear deal with Brazil and Turkey; frozen in the headlights by the No. Korean torpedoing of the So. Korean ship; tap dancing as fast as they can to do endless U turns in Afghanistan re: Karzai; and in a daze regarding the Gulf oil disaster. There isn’t a logistics expert in sight, no one with an organizing principle or maybe any principles at all. And the financial meltdown is far from over.

The signs of delusion and decay are everywhere.  Any self-respecting rat should be hunting for the nearest porthole.

–Claudia

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Ron Paul on Obama the Corporatist

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The textbook definition of fascism is the Corporate State.

Text:

Obama is a Corporatist

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Written by laudyms

April 26, 2010 at 9:34 am

Reactionary in Blackface

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Excerpt from:

Remembering Obama

Reflections on Race, Class, Empire, and the First Black President (and a Comment by Allan Nairn*)

By Paul Street ZNet

……As the brilliant Left author, filmmaker, and columnist John Pilger noted last July 4th in San Francisco:

“The clever young man who recently made it to the White House is a very fine hypnotist, partly because it is indeed exciting to see an African American at the pinnacle of power in the land of slavery.  However, this is the 21st century, and race together with gender and even class can be very seductive tools of propaganda.  For what is so often overlooked and what matters, I believe, above all, is the class one serves. George W. Bush’s inner circle from the State Department to the Supreme Court was perhaps the most multiracial in presidential history.  It was PC par excellence. Think Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell.  It was also the most reactionary”. [17]

Pilger anticipated this important insight with a powerful and all-too accurate prediction at the end of May 2008: “What is Obama’s attraction to big business?  Precisely the same as Robert Kennedy’s [in 1968].  By offering a ‘new,’ young and apparently progressive face of the Democratic Party – with the bonus of being a member of the black elite – he can blunt and divert real opposition.  That was Colin Powell’s role as Bush’s secretary of state. An Obama victory will bring intense pressure on the US antiwar and social justice movements to accept a Democratic administration for all its faults.  If that happens, domestic resistance to rapacious America will fall silent.” [18]

Nearly two years later and more than fourteen months into the not-so antiwar Obama presidency, the “peace movement” inside Superpower’s “homeland” is a feeble joke.  Some of its leading organizations (most notably the laughable co-opted group MoveOn.org) have subordinated themselves almost beyond belief to the first black president [19] and through him to the U.S. foreign policy establishment. There is little if any meaningful opposition to Obama’s corporatist record and agenda. The often pathetic so-called radical Left feels compelled to accept the supposedly “progressive” administration (“for all its faults”) and to defend it against vicious and preposterous attacks from the significantly racist, “socialism”-charging Right. MoveOn even enlisted in the cause of Obama and the corporate Democrats’ health “reform” by picketing the occasionally progressive Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s office to pressure him to go against his initial promise to reject a bill that did not contain a public insurance option. [20]

Unpleasant thought it may be to acknowledge, Obama’s race is part of the story behind this sorry surrender. As Aurora Levins Morales noted in Z Magazine in April of 2008:

“This election is about finding

a CEO capable of holding domestic constituencies in check as they are further disenfranchised

and [to] make them feel that they have a stake in the military aggressiveness that the ruling class believes is necessary.  Having a black man and a white woman run helps to obscure the fact that …decline of empire is driving the political elite to the right. Both [Obama and Hillary Clinton] represent very reactionary politics…Part of the cleverness of having such candidates is the fact that they will be attacked in ways that make oppressed people feel compelled to protect them.”[21]……

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Same speech, different day

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false dichotomy by charles davis

April 1, 2010   – In a stunning betrayal of his base that comes as a surprise to all, Barack Obama this week chose to side with wealthy oil and gas interests over the environmentalists that helped get him elected and who — despite the president’s call for the same environmentally destructive offshore drilling they denounced in apocalyptic terms under the Bush administration — will undoubtedly help elect him again when confronted with the specter of a Palin-Beck ticket in 2012. Truly, no one could see this coming.

In justifying his decision to open much of the East Coast and Alaska’s shoreline to new oil and gas drilling on the basis of U.S. “energy security” — one that, naturally, was announced in front of the militaristic backdrop of an Air Force base, as all important national decisions must — Obama cast himself as the sensible moderate, the non-ideological centrist whose only real concern is what works best for America. It’s a familiar approach for the president, and one that grows no less irksome over time.

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Spineless, Timid, Tepid and Wimpy

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The Obama administration stolidly mans their shovels to dig a deeper hole. Never mind the increasingly disparaging comments in print (can you imagine what is being said privately?) about how quickly they collapse when asked to support people-first policies they supposedly favor.

Jim Hightower writes:

The Obama-ites seem incapable of firm stands. They excite us by boldly addressing our economic woes. But when it comes time to follow through — it’s droopsville….

Obama himself has titillated the hopes of working families by proposing a $266 billion national emergency program to put America to work.

Strong stuff — let’s get it on!

Sure enough, after a lengthy romancing of their Republican colleagues (who are devout believers in an abstinence-only job-creation policy), the Democrats finally made their move last week. With the support of five GOP senators, the “jobs, jobs, jobs” bill passed in both houses of Congress.

But … what a letdown. To win those five Republican senators, Democratic leaders shriveled their job investment program from a robust $266 billion to a frustratingly puny $15 billion. Even such phony Casanovas as Sen. Chuck Schumer had to confess that the “package is not a panacea; it’s not going to solve everything.”

Everything? Chuck, admit your impotence. At most, this bill might stimulate the creation of 250,000 new jobs — a bit short of the 11 million that America needs just to get back to where were in 2007, much less the need to create an economic path to lead us into a bold future of new, sustainable, middle-class job creation.

George F. Will opines:

Barack Obama has refuted critics who call him a radical. He has shown himself to be a timid progressive.

His timidity was displayed when he flinched from fighting for the boldness the nation needs — a transition from the irrationality of employer-provided health insurance. His progressivism is an attitude of genteel regret about the persistence of politics.

“Tepid” is one of the most common words used to describe Obama. Just use a search engine- I started to count the entries and gave up.

Digby adds:

According to Sam Stein members the Treasury Department, including Tim Geithner himself, met with a group of progressive bloggers yesterday to tell them what a good job the administration’s done all things considered, but that now they need to get the voters all charged up to help them pass a tepid financial reform bill. This is part of a larger public relations offensive to rehabilitate Geithner and the Obama economic policies.

I doubt any American President has ever offered so many policies designed to fail or made such a concerted effort to be a one-termer.  I’d sure like to know why.

Written by laudyms

March 11, 2010 at 10:33 am

Who’s the Boss? (evidently it’s Rahm)

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There are two things going on in the article below: a big issue about reliable, credible info and sources; and also the rather mind boggling soap opera in the press about Rahm Emanuel, most of which seems to have been solicited by him, and much of which defames the president who is his boss.

The only way this makes any sense is if Obama is by far the weaker personality and has his cojones ensnarled in Rahm’s web.  Frankly any second tier manager would have tossed Rahm out the door months ago. Since this hasn’t happened, we must question Obama’s ability to govern.  If you’re not sitting back on your heels, you ought to be.

Why do journalists expect to have credibility?

By Glenn Greenwald             Salon

…anonymity is used for petty, gossipy, manipulative purposes, such as when Rahm’s friends ran to subservient reporters such as Dana Milbank and Jason Horowitz to plant accountability-free hagiographies of the royal court official whose bidding they were doing.  All of this, on a daily basis, passes the scrutiny of multiple reporters and editors, who know that they are systematically breaching their own rules of journalistic credibility but obviously aren’t bothered by it in the least.  That’s why — despite the isolated good works of establishment journalists — they collectively neither have nor deserve credibility.

UPDATE:  One related point about the spate of “Obama-should-have-followed-Rahm’s-centrist-advice” articles that have appeared of late:  if you really think about it, it’s quite extraordinary to watch a Chief of Staff openly undermine the President by spawning numerous stories claiming that the President is failing because he’s been repeatedly rejecting his Chief of Staff’s advice.  It seems to me there’s one of two possible explanations for this episode:  (1) Rahm wants to protect his reputation at Obama’s expense by making clear he’s been opposed all along to Obama’s decisions, a treacherous act that ought to infuriate Obama to the point of firing him; or (2) these stories are being disseminated with Obama’s consent as a means of apologizing to official Washington for not having been centrist enough and vowing to be even more centrist in the future by listening more to Rahm (we know that what we did wrong was not listen enough to Rahm).  One can only speculate about which it is, but if I had to bet, my money would be on (2) (because of things like this and because these “Rahm-Was-Right” stories went on for weeks and Rahm is still very much around).

Of course, the reason we have to speculate about such matters is precisely because journalists suppress the identity of those who are doing this, leaving us with a bunch of unaccountable royal court gossip and intrigue, the authors of which are completely shielded by these “journalists.”  That’s why anonymity more often than not obfuscates rather than enlightens.

Written by laudyms

March 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

Take your pick- Military going Rogue, or Obama too Weak to Manage?

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Interesting article here by a thoughtful writer and former Army Public Info Officer.  Perhaps when she asserts the military is not following orders, we ought to pay attention. Whether they are going rogue, or our president is weak, we’ve got a big problem.

Walk a Mile…

By Sheila Samples
I know you need your sleep now,
I know your life’s been hard.
But many men are falling,
where you promised to stand guard.
~~Leonard Cohen

February 06, 2010 Information Clearing House — My friend Bernie says he’s suffering from Afghanistan information exhaustion. “During all those months that Obama was dragging his feet about escalating the war in Afghanistan, did you ever get the impression,” he asked, “that foxes were in the hen house, chickens were squawking and running around crazily, wolves were tearing the foxes to pieces, and farmers were shooting wildly into the coop with no regard for the innocent?”

I stared at him, mouth agape, my mind trying to shore up all that activity. “Well … I –”

“And that’s just the generals — David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal — and their boss, or cohort, defense secretary Robert Gates. They were everywhere — everywhere!” Bernie said, rolling his eyes. “And still are. Turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper, open a magazine, check out Congress, look under a rock — peek behind a tree — and there they are. They’re a three-man brigade — “we’re going in, we’re coming out — we’re winning, we’re losing. Or maybe not. We won’t know for 15 years…20 years…or until it’s over –”

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Krugman: Obama Liquidates Himself

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Paul Krugman 01/26/10     New York Times

A spending freeze? That’s the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback?

It’s appalling on every level.

It’s bad economics, depressing demand when the economy is still suffering from mass unemployment. Jonathan Zasloff writes that Obama seems to have decided to fire Tim Geithner and replace him with “the rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon” (Mellon was Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary, who according to Hoover told him to “liquidate the workers, liquidate the farmers, purge the rottenness”.)

It’s bad long-run fiscal policy, shifting attention away from the essential need to reform health care and focusing on small change instead.

And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, “I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.”

Now, I still cling to a fantasy: maybe, just possibly, Obama is going to tie his spending freeze to something that would actually help the economy, like an employment tax credit. (No, trivial tax breaks don’t count). There has, however, been no hint of anything like that in the reports so far. Right now, this looks like pure disaster.

Written by laudyms

January 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Joe Bageant: The Devil and Mr. Obama

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Joe Bageant

Barack promised change — and sure enough, things changed for the worse

(Note: Patrick Ward, associate editor of the UK’s Socialist Review asked Joe to write a piece for the party publication. This is the unabridged text of Joe’s submission.)

By Joe Bageant

Well lookee here! An invite from my limey comrades to recap Barack Obama’s first year in office. Well comrades, I can do this thing two ways. I can simply state that the great mocha hope turned out to be a Trojan horse for Wall Street and the Pentagon. Or I can lay in an all-night stock of tequila, limes and reefer and puke up the entire miserable tale like some 5,000 word tequila purged Congolese stomach worm. I have chosen to do the latter.

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