Friday, December 11, 2009

Spaghetti-O goes to Oslo

Do they give Nobel prizes for being a world class asshole? If so, they ought to give one to Obama for his performance in accepting the Nobel peace prize. Heh, you could tell that the mighty O was mighty pissed. That’s what really gets me. For many people a Nobel peace prize would be an honor but not for Mr. Spaghetti -O. The part of his speech I saw on a clip seemed to center on what a hard-bitten character Obama is with his rigid and incredibly narrow view of the world and how much more realistic it was then that of the pansy-ass peaceniks who obviously have no place in Obama-land with their foolish and time wasting Nobel peace prizes. So after spitting on the Nobel peace prize, the people who gave it to him, and the people of Norway by telling them in so many words that they and the peace prize were a waste of time and mighty Obama the Conqueror had to tend to manly tasks, the kind of tasks that real men do, the task of waging illegal wars. Obama would love to stay in lovely Norway but war calls! That’s the politest fuck you I’ve heard in a while. But the liberals will forgive Obama and when voting duty calls they will line up in the sucker’s express and give their all for Obama.


At December 11, 2009 3:07 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

It's O. calling the military "wagers of peace" that got to me. As Justin R. writes in, we're living in Bizarro World.
And from the 50+-year-old Sinclair Lewis novel, "It Can't Happen Here," this remark from "General Edgeways":
"...a great nation must go on arming itself more and more, not for conquest--not for jealousy--not for war--but for peace...."
Oh, so Obama got it right--war IS peace!

At December 11, 2009 7:34 AM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

Here in the Golden State BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has been having a particularly bad year. Bad service, bad labor battles, people getting hit by trains, the worst thing being a BART cop essentially executing a passenger on a station platform and having it filmed and rebroadcast hundreds of thousands of times.

BART's spokesperson is a guy named Linton Johnson. He's what they used to call a "flak-catcher". He goes out and gives the best spin on bad news and tries to answer questions without actually getting to the meat of the matter. For ex, how could Johnson, in his capacity as spokesperson for BART, even attempt to address the whole relationship between law enforcement and minorities (Johnson himself is African American)? He can't address the underlying dynamic of a stratified social structure, the need to devalue whole sectors of the populace in order to devalue labor in the marketplace. He's got to give BART's best face when dealing with the unions the next time contracts come up.

When he was in front of the cameras trying to give the best spin for one of BART's cops shooting a black man in the back a lot of people in the community got very angry at him. And you could argue that as a black man he should have held his own ethnic identity and the mistreatment of minorities more important than covering for the thuggishness of BART employees.

But Johnson's job is to represent BART. You waste your energy getting angry at Johnson.

Obama's job is to represent the corporate state. He wasn't their first choice, but Hillary Clinton and John McCain failed as performers.

When McChrystal mouthed off he wasn't removed from command like Truman removed MacArthur. He was given his troop increase. That says something about Obama's position on the power chart.

Obama's job is to put a veneer of hope on a system that is run by the wealthy for the benefit of the wealthy and is by the day keeping more and allowing less to flow to the vast majority of the citizenry. Bush's politics of fear was beginning to fail. It was time for a Democrat to hold office, to offer a suggestion of hope without ever changing the actual system at all. A Democrat gets us used to the unconstitutional laws and policies put on the books since 9/11. So we stop complaining about someone from the NSA going through our emails. A Democrat teaches us that the government can't really help us. So we stop asking for jobs programs or more food stamps or better schools and colleges that working class people can afford. In the process the Democrat is shown to be "weak" and is eventually replaced by a "strong" Republican. It's all part of the process.

If you want to hate Linton Johnson you can, but it doesn't do anything to change BART. And you can hate Obama for not being what he's pretending to be. For most Americans the question now is: Will the trains run on time?

At December 11, 2009 11:02 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Bob,
While I don't necessarily think you are wrong, I'm inclined to think you oversimplify. Truman caught flack for firing McArthur, although I don't doubt that Obama would've caught a lot more given how much the post-deregulation corporate media has drifted right.

But as far as hating BHO goes, naturally I can't speak for Rob or Mimi, but I don't hate him, or at least I try not to. I intensely disapprove of both him and his predecessor and think they are bad human beings and murderers, and ultimately more responsible for their actions than not.

Obama never had to promote McCrystal, nor did he have to escalate in Afghanistan.

Don't forget that he told everybody back in 2008 that he intended to ramp-up the war in Afghanistan, and millions of people heard this, but decided they didn't, and voted for him.

McCrystal mouthed off in public in part because he saw how other people who approached Obama from the right could get away with mouthing off at him, and his calculation was obviously correct.

I try not to hate the delusional millions who enabled Obama, actually believe he's a liberal, and believe that's a good thing.(I think you are absolutely correct about Obama deliberately ruining liberalism in the eyes of ordinary folk, if I am apprehending your meaning clearly.)

Some of the afore-mentioned delusional pro-Obama millions are my friends. Maybe some of your friends also belong to this large group. If I told every one of my pro-Obama friends, "don't you see what a con-man he is?" I don't see it having much effect.

(In some cases I've tried, and the response seems to mainly be a certain unease. In some other cases they seemingly decide I've become "one of those Naderites" and they decide to accept me in my new role that fits their ready-made box, and that seems to be the end of my small window of opportunity to explain myself.)

Still other friends of mine voted for McCain, for a variety of reasons. I don't hate them either.

As far as your assertion that most Americans just want the trains to run on time, I wonder if this is true. My impression is large numbers of people think the two-party system is royally fucked, but don't know what to do about it.

[A recent op-ed in Haaretz: "Obama awarded Nobel because he's a Democrat, liberal and black"

I don't know if this is true, although he does belong to the democratic party and is clearly black.]

At December 11, 2009 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Bob --

I'm inclined to think Obama was the first choice, for the reasons I outlined in the comment thread several posts back, here on Dead Horse.

He was chosen for the same reason the BART spokesman was chosen -- using a spokesman from a minority race creates a buffer against criticism from left-leaning people.

The tensions surrounding assessment of Obama as POTUS are coming to the fore. The primary tension is the question of whether the POTUS is just a figurehead, or an actor with his own power and authority. The extreme view of the powerful actor perspective imbues Obama with dictatorial powers.

In truth the POTUS has power to do many things -- especially now under the Yoo/Addington "unitary executive" role that was sought for 30 years by Rumsfeld & Cheney as an ideological notion arising from Nixon's fall after Watergate. Rumsfeld and Cheney believed their man Tricky Dick should have been blameless, their rationale was that the POTUS should be closer to a dictator than to a leader. And that's what they put Yoo and Addington to work on when Dubya Bush became POTUS.

With the POTUS having the power to declare anyone as a "domestic terrorist" or "enemy combatant" and thereby deprive that person of civil rights -- and there's enough authority to eternally detain, torture, and even "disappear" that person -- then it's pretty tough to say the POTUS is merely a figurehead.

The "figurehead" argument arises from the idea that all POTUS candidates are vetted by the major parties, and the election commissions ensure that only the major party players get public notice and a presence at debates. This line of thought doesn't cancel the real powers and authority of the POTUS. It merely puts the exercise of such power and authority into a perspective which says, whatever the POTUS does, it's got to be within the scope of deeds that would be approved by the POTUS's supporters (the financiers of the POTUS's campaign).

Obama actually exercises presidential power, so he's not blameless.

But if we want to know WHY he exercises power the way he does, we need to know more than who is Obama -- we also need to know who is pulling his strings.

Both Gepetto and Pinocchio are to blame here. Obama didn't have to pursue the office of Senator or POTUS. That choice, that pursuit, puts culpability on his shoulders. We should not be letting him off the hook merely because his backers obviously have him on a tight leash -- because he willingly accepted that tight, short leash.

At December 11, 2009 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: I see no problem with hating Obama. I don't see where that's an issue, and I'd love to hear someone argue why hating Obama is bad.

Is it grounded in Christian sayings, i.e. "hate the sin, love the sinner"?

At December 12, 2009 10:03 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

These are all good comments though I have to say I cannot agree with the position that Obama is blameless. It ignores over one hundred years of history where presidents have been accruing power and handing it off to the next in line so the power of the president has grown over the long term rather than the opposite. That Obama is an obvious example of this cannot be denied. If Obama has ceded any of his power to Centcom and the generals it was done for political considerations not because Obama has no power. Obama strikes me as a completely authoritarian personality combined with sleaze ball. That Obama is under pressure from the military-industrial complex cannot be denied yet Obama is a willing player which is an important point to recall. Hate is too strong a word. You cannot hate someone you do not know. I guess what I feel mainly is disgust and that’s about all I have to say on the topic which has been discussed before and my position hasn’t changed.

At December 13, 2009 9:40 AM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

What's the saying? "Don't hate the playa, hate the game," I think it is.

There are pluses and minuses to whoever becomes a President. As for the American public, Obama is probably a tad better choice than whoever the Repubs could have put up because a Republican who wins the White House is publicly used as a justification for a more rapid move to fascism than under a Dem (although, as I wrote earlier, Dems in office provide cover for past gains by the State). And Dems do have some small allegiance to working people as opposed to Repubs. Palin may be an idiot, but she's clearly farther down the road to fascism than Obama, and she'd have had a good shot to be in the WH before 2012 if McCain had won.

That said, no one who gets to run for President has much power to change things. As Charles says, all candidates are "vetted" by the powers-that-be, but unlike Charles, I haven't seen much evidence that anyone in the Presidency in my lifetime hasn't either been thoroughly compromised by those powers or effectively sabotaged by them if they do any independent thinking.

So hating Obama for doing what you should expect that he'd be doing, considering the actual circumstances in which he exists, makes you as delusional as the delusionals who voted for Obama in the hope that he'd change things. Or the delusionals who voted for Nader or whoever was on the Green Party ticket, thinking that that would somehow change things.

My point is that it's a rigged system, always has been, but clearly worse now than before. Obama is a corporate Democrat. When he's handed the stinking economic mess that the Bush Administration left, he does a half-assed job of resolving the dilemma, protecting the interests of the corporatists and bankers while throwing a bone to the majority of Americans. For that he is scapegoated by the media as a socialist. That's part of the game.

Bill Clinton was a more effective corporatist than any recent Repub President precisely because he pretended to be (and the media often painted him to be) a man of the people. That's what people need to be aware of. After all, if Clinton was eliminated does anyone here think that Gore would have been that much better (or allowed to be much better)? And when Gore ran for President, did you notice who was a heartbeat away?

As for Truman and MacArthur, I'm not saying that Truman didn't suffer politically for taking action. I'm saying that he did it. As far as McChrystal, I believe that Bob Gates gets the say on what happens to him. Obama gets the memo and he gets to give the speech.

At December 13, 2009 2:10 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Bob, if you like pithy sayings, there's always

"A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest."

As far as the alleged lack of presidential power goes, I think CFO's laying culpability at the feet of both "Gepetto" and "Pinnochio" is correct. Don't forget that Pinnochio can summarily ship you(or me) off to a prison in Poland or Jordan or Croatia if we don't act right.

When we talk about hating or not hating Obama, my reasons, I think, are different from yours. Even though he irritates me to no end and I see him as an arrogant phony, I don't want to hate him mainly for my own sake, because I think it is corrosive for my soul. But I do see him as culpable.

I also don't want to hate him because I think the next logical consequence that flows from hating him is hating all the people who voted for him, or even hating all the voters who give their consent to the two party system, and I don't want my head to explode in frustration at the world around me.

Finally, I'm not sure I accept your assertion that BHO is marginally better than McCain. Besides, if the system is as hermetically sealed off from the influences of the people as you contend that it is, and the president is as powerless as you say he is, Sarah Palin as president would make no real difference, right? The same string-pullers as before would direct her as they direct Obama, or as they would have directed McCain.

If you really fear she would make such a difference, then maybe you mistrust your "don't hate the player" dogma more than you acknowledge. Besides, Obama seems to be handling the slide towards fascism just fine by himself.


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