Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Afghan lite, or believe what you will

Arthur Silber,("Every Word He Utters Is a Lie") listened to Obama's speech, and writes:

"...In fact, and this is the point of significance, no man or woman is going to ascend to the office of president unless he or she will utter precisely the same empty phrases and offer the identical meaningless assurances."

and concluded that we will be in Afghanistan for a very long time.

I tend to agree. Not the part about how every word he utters is a lie, insofar as I believe the president really was born in Hawaii, really attended law school and so forth, but you have to allow Arthur his poetic license. (Incidentally he's been on quite a roll of late, if you haven't noticed.) Yahoo and CNN and the New York Times and undoubtedly others provide handy links to texts of the speech, so you can read it for yourself.

To me Obama is a sort of gestalt president, insofar as his words can be interpreted as representing pretty much whatever you think they should represent, presumably consistent with your hopes, or your fears, or whether or not the frozen lasagna you had last night agreed with you. And no, I don't see this as a compliment, nor as proof of his 'special genius' playing political chess so many moves ahead of his opponents and mugs like you and me who are too benighted to understand his long game and all that.

If Obama is a gestalt president, this is in substantial part because of how dizzyingly tribal our culture has gotten, which of course he has been happy to exploit. If he pushes through a scheme that further entrenches for-profit health insurance companies and liberals gush, or he pushes through a 'stimulus' package that consists mainly of tax cuts for employed people and conservatives call him a socialist, then his opacity isn't so much a function of his cleverness but the heightened screwiness of our culture. (Don't forget that the Nobel people helped, awarding him a nifty peace prize after he amped up airstrikes on Afghanistan. Hey, but at least he gave a swell speech about nuclear disarmament!)

I assume we will have a modest reduction in troop levels, but this proves he's a liberal and a really a good guy at heart, and really hates the fact that he ordered a surge in '09(he had to!), and that any reduction will likely only take us back to GWB levels but he can't help that because look at the tough spot he's in, and he really hates how we've been in Afghanistan for a decade, and if some of those troops are subsequently deployed across the border in Pakistan he can't help that either because the world is a dangerous place, etc, etc, etc,

[hold on, I need a breath...]

only if you supply the belief. You gotta BELIEVE.

On the other hand, there are actually people who believe that Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin have all the answers. Well, they're plumb loco.

Henry Giroux, "Reveling in the Pain of Others: Moral Degeneracy and Violence in the "Kill Team" Photos"

CNN, "Should the US negotiate with the Taliban?"

Stan Goff, Feral Scholar, "Why I won’t vote (and you shouldn’t either)"

(Silber also supplies this helpful Caruso link.)

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At June 23, 2011 7:21 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

The news media also lies with every word they speak pretty much because the way the news is slanted. If you frame a story within a narrow framework even the facts can become lies. So in this case I have to agree with Silber that everything he says is a lie because of the way it is slanted, in my opinion I should say.

At June 23, 2011 8:14 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Rob,
Obviously you hate freedom, otherwise you wouldn't say such crazy stuff.

The media and their numerous subterfuge-laden agendas are unceasingly fascinating to me, but possibly I don't get out much.

For example, the way CNN, ABC News, and MSNBC, etc were fussing over the newly credible Michelle Bachmann, as if she did something incredible by avoiding saying anything overtly crazy at last weeks' GOP debate.

At June 23, 2011 9:10 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Hey Jonathan,

Shelly has sex appeal like Palin except without the dead moose which makes her a better bet I suppose. I'm staying with mom for a bit so I get to see the news hour and other mainstream fare, and it is truly awful. I like the way the NYT wants me to buy their rag on the internet. Ha, ha. I'm sorry but I don't need to pay for propaganda.

At June 24, 2011 10:49 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Rob, my best to both of you.

Bachmann may also be easier for the media to love than Palin because she's more polished and that means less work for them keeping her out of trouble, excusing and downplaying her gaffes.

Palin knows her shtick is popular with a certain stratum of her potential electorate but generally doesn't seem too worried about seeming palatable to the rest of the GOP, or so it seems from my vantage point.

At June 24, 2011 8:21 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Maybe Bachman just hasn't had her Paul Revere moment yet. The caliber of today's candidates remind me mostly of that crazy Nero who fiddled while a decadent Rome burned to the ground. In the end they are all crazy because only crazy people want to be mass murderers.

At June 24, 2011 10:44 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

I don't know if they're crazy in the sense of ''not knowing any better''.

Maybe Jack Crow is right when he says that they just don't care about the consequences as long as they're OK. Did you see his last 2 posts? They're very good.

I'm reminded of this excellent post by Arvin Hill from Nov '08; he discusses BHO's ascendancy, but I think the same things could probably be applied to Bachmann and Romney.

At June 26, 2011 5:22 PM, Blogger rob payne said...


Yes I saw Jack's last posts, and they are good. To me they are just plain crazy. If they didn't know they would be murdering they must be crazy. If they know they will murder but don't really care then they are crazy. To me,...they are just crazy.


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