Tag Archives: obama

Cornel West on The Obama Presidency

From an interview in Salon with Cornel West:

“No, the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free.

And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that’s a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are—we’re an empire in decline. Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life.

You would think that we needed somebody—a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility. That’s right. That’s true. It was like, “We finally got somebody who can help us turn the corner.” And he posed as if he was a kind of Lincoln. And we ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist. …

I think Obama, his modus operandi going all the way back to when he was head of the [Harvard] Law Review, first editor of the Law Review and didn’t have a piece in the Law Review. He was chosen because he always occupied the middle ground. He doesn’t realize that a great leader, a statesperson, doesn’t just occupy middle ground. They occupy higher ground or the moral ground or even sometimes the holy ground. But the middle ground is not the place to go if you’re going to show courage and vision. And I think that’s his modus operandi. He always moves to the middle ground. It turned out that historically, this was not a moment for a middle-ground politician. We needed a high-ground statesperson and it’s clear now he’s not the one.

And so what did he do? Every time you’re headed toward middle ground what do you do? You go straight to the establishment and reassure them that you’re not too radical, and try to convince them that you are very much one of them so you end up with a John Brennan, architect of torture [as CIA Director]. Torturers go free but they’re real patriots so we can let them go free. The rule of law doesn’t mean anything.

I think a post-Obama America is an America in post-traumatic depression. Because the levels of disillusionment are so deep.”

Full interview (image from the article) http://www.salon.com/2014/08/24/cornel_west_he_posed_as_a_progressive_and_turned_out_to_be_counterfeit_we_ended_up_with_a_wall_street_presidency_a_drone_presidency/

Secrecy Is the Problem

Hamilton Nolan writing in Gawker: “In a perfect world, perhaps, a government capable of monitoring its own power could exist. Until then, we have the press. The most important job of the press is to push hard to bring government secrets to light. Yes, in some cases, judgment is required, and it is often exercised, including in the case of this NSA story. To nitpick over that point is a sideshow. Why is this so important? Because if the press does not expose government secrets, no one else will. There is no other check on the governments powers of secrecy. This is the system we have. And this is why it is so distressing to see professional journalists acceding to the governments own demand for secrecy— saying, in effect, “well just take their word that everything is okay.” It doesnt matter if a journalist happens to think the current administration is trustworthy; journalists still seek out government secrets, because that is the journalists role. Only corrupt bureaucrats see their mission as keeping the activities of our free government secret from the people they affect. There are more than enough corrupt bureaucrats already. We dont need the press to do their job for them.The government has always tried to keep too many secrets. That, we expect. But when the press gives up on exposing those secrets, it is really time to start worrying. Because then there is no balance of power at all.”

via Secrecy Is the Problem.

Why Romney/Ryan Could Win

“At issue is not that R&R are such bad or good candidates, but that people have been fed such hatred toward Obama over the last 4 years they want to have any person but him in the WH. Sure Obama has had his issues, but many of the problems were exacerbated and the lack of resolution is due to a completely dysfunctional governing body that decided the election process is more important that the governing process. This is why we have hundreds of bills from the past few years that address politicians need to win voters’ approval as opposed to passing bills that improve the operation of the country. The end result is that is that the blame is laid squarely on Obama when in fact, it was in large part due to the house stymieing every effort to make anything work. Coupled with the fact that Obama was not a bull in the china shop early on, did not take advantage of the early majority he had when he took office and the false narrative of an ineffectual administration is easy to play out. Finally, the GOP is simply better at smear and it has taken Obama a few years to get his skin thickened.”

Paul Ryan as Romney’s running-mate | MetaFilter.

Why Romney’s Taxes Don’t Matter

“No republican is ever going to vote for Obama because Romney doesn’t release his taxes. No Democrat is ever going to vote for Romney because he does release his taxes. .. . The reason why the democrat/Obama camp is making/keeping this an issue is twofold: In many respects, political awareness is a zero-sum game. There is only so much attention that undecided voters are going to pay to politics over the next few months. Every minute spent talking about Romney’s taxes is a minute not spent on some other topic. For Romney’s opponents, this is a cheap and easy way to hijack the debate. Romney would like to make the campaign be about the unemployment rate and the deficit. Obama would like to make the campaign be about a tax-evading vulture-capitalist. Romney’s taxes are a zero-cost topic of conversation that sucks the air out of the room. … Romney is the republican John Kerry: he aspires to be the adequate, inoffensive alternative to an un-popular, polarizing incumbent. Like every presidential race, the opinions of registered democrats and republicans are mostly irrelevant: 80% of voters were decided before the candidates were even named. The election, like all elections, will be decided by a strange and small consortium: Politically ignorant people who genuinely don’t know enough to have an informed opinion, and who are therefore genuinely persuadable by political ads, and; Genuinely conflicted independents. … All told, you are talking about maybe ~10% of total votes cast that are persuadable at this point, and the only ones that matter are in swing states: …
So maybe 0.3% of the total US population will decide the election, around 100,000 people. If the campaigns and outside groups spend $2bn, they might end up having spent $20,000 per electorally-significant, persuadable vote… This is where the tax-stuff comes into play: Obama doesn’t have a lot to run on that will win him votes. But if Mitt Romney turns out to be some kind of actual bad guy, a rich cheater and tax-evader who wants to steal from the poor and give to the rich, then there’s an angle. You have something to vote against, even if you don’t have a lot to vote for.”

otherwiseyep comments on Romney Demanded to See Ted Kennedy’s Tax Returns in 1994.

Why the US Can’t Default on Its Debt

“All Obama would have to do is hold a press conference and say “per our Constitution in Amendment 14, Section 4 we can not default on our debt – as such I am authorizing the Treasury to continue issuing bonds under the Necessary and Proper Clause to ensure a functional government.” Then as he leaves the room, give the middle finger to Republicans. If Republicans in the US House refuse to raise the Debut limit,the Executive branch should simply announce it’s going to continue to pay the bills and dare Republicans in the Legislative branch to take them to court. In a situation where the entire weight of world bond markets was bearing down on Anthony Kennedy’s head, would he really vote to crash the economy and destroy the credit rating of the United States? I can’t see a Republican Supreme Court going toe to toe with the entire massed forces of Wall Street and not blinking.”

LettersFromTheSky comments on John Boehner plans on holding debt ceiling hostage once again this year.

ACORN as Bain

“I’m just trying to imagine if Obama had been listed as the Chief Executive Officer of, say, ACORN, but then he tried to insist that he had not actually been involved with ACORN, despite having attended several board meetings and of course dutifully filling out legal proper paperwork listing himself as the CEO. The rage would be so great that it would make Rush Limbaugh assume his final form.”

via MetaFilter