Monday, January 18, 2010

Is Obama King?

Peace is the Means and the End

Arthur Silber has an excellent new essay touching on a lot of points that have been on my mind and much more. He also gives us a comparison between Martin Luther King and Obama. Make sure you check out his links to previous essays as it is well worth your time. And also the Link to Jeff Nall should be read.

Peace is the Means and the End -- read it here.


At January 19, 2010 1:06 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

I remember when they announced that Obama had won the Nobel Prize, thinking, "come on, this isn't funny anymore." As far as I can tell, majorities of Americans still believe he shouldn't have received it-- but you have to wonder what the Europeans think of him, the Nobel committee in particular.

(Another thing I thought when they announced he'd won was that apparently Europeans are as easily flattered as we are, and that he really won the prize for his (somewhat presumptuous) victory lap of Europe in the summer of '08, after the dem nomination and very much before the November election.

At January 19, 2010 3:31 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Rob, I like this from Silber as well:

"I also mention for your consideration the concluding section of that article, which discusses an especially egregious instance of monumental lying and massive historical distortion in the name of hack partisanship on the part of Paul Krugman. It might prove of some value to those who are only now disillusioned with Krugman, given his dishonest shilling for the health insurance abomination. I remind you that this example of Krugman's superficiality and manipulativeness dates from May of last year. I'll return to Krugman soon for further examples of his analytic failures, which are numerous and sometimes enormously consequential. His current, unrelenting propaganda on behalf of the health insurance monstrosity should surprise no one, provided they were paying attention and understood the arguments he frequently put forth."

For some time I've felt the same thing about Krugman, that he's one of those sacred cows of liberalism that people regard as unquestionable because he, well, he's Paul Krugman-- but that occasionally there's less there than meets the eye, in something of the same way that the right idolizes Greenspan.

So of course I look forward to Silber's promised critique.

At January 19, 2010 7:24 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Yah, I don’t know what the Europeans think of him though my general impression is that they thought he would be better than he has been with foreign policy though that seems to be true here in the states as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if his euro-jaunt gave him some points that’s certainly a possibility it had something to do with the Nobel prize. Some say it was to encourage him but personally I think they just saw what they wanted to see in Obama like so many others.

On Krugman “less than meets the eye” is a great description. In one of Silber’s links he has examples of guys like Krugman fainting and crying after one of Obama’s speeches. It had me running for the bathroom because the common theme was something like “well I don’t usually cry but Obama man, he had me crying like a baby, it’s like the return of Jesus, no other politician in living memory has made a speech like that, I’m crying, man, like a baby!” Barforama. But I guess people eat that stuff up or some do. I also liked the comparison of Obama with Martin Luther King because every time I read where someone says how eloquent Obama is that they are really trying to compare him to King and Obama is no Martin Luther King.

At January 20, 2010 11:59 AM, Blogger micahth said...

Krugman reminds me of Robert Reich, and not just in the sense of both focusing on economic issues. Both have –or in the case of Reich, at least had, I do not read his blog- a tendency to talk about very real issues that are usually left out of mainstream discourse. And yet the solutions they posit will solve these problems are very much part of mainstream discourse.

Slavoj Zizek is another person who could be put in this category.

At January 20, 2010 12:22 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

that's funny, lumping Zizek with Krugman or Reich.

yeah, they're identical. Zizek clearly wants American Empire, just like Krugman and Reich.


At January 21, 2010 8:41 AM, Blogger micah holmquist said...

I wasn’t speaking of Zizek’s position on the U.S. empire specifically, although in that matter, I’m not sure his record is that great. I seem to remember him supporting the 1999 bombing campaign against Serbia, although when I did a quick web search, I did not find that so perhaps I could be wrong.

What I do know is that in his book Welcome to the Desert of the Real Zizek does come out in favoring of using creating a Palestinian state via western military force, which is problematic and a problematic suggestion for numerous reasons, but Zizek sees it as great and workable.

More broadly speaking, Zizek is in favor of Obama’s health care project ( and the 2008 banks bailout ( I’ll get you the full text if you need it).

These examples all involve a radical critique and a mainstream solution.

At January 21, 2010 10:46 AM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

It seems some people have a hard time seeing Zizek's sarcasm.


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