"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Aug 24, 2011


You got to give it Obama.

That fucking guy is bold.

We really ought to step back and admire Obama's audacity, for a moment. There's not a Republican in the country who could have pulled off an escalation in Afghanistan, the destabilization of Syria, an increase of support for Baluchi irredentists in Pakistan and Iran, a robot war on the Arabian peninsula, the toppling of Qadaffi, the re-entry into Somalia, the breaking of public unions and the handing over of billions of dollars to banks and insurance companies at the exact same time as shepherding in a vasty vast domestic austerity scheme.

Imagine, if you will, John McCain sitting at the helm during all the same. Think he'd have pulled it off with Public Enemy Palin looking over his shoulder?

Not a chance.

But, get a transformational world historical fan of the sky death robot - one who knows how to stake a motherhood position better than Ronnie Saint Reagan - into the job, and you almost have to applaud the guy for the audacity of his grinning, casual evil.


Abonilox said...

Didn't you just know it was all over when he got the Nobel Peace Prize?

fish said...

But Ezra Klein assured me there was nothing more Obama could do. This is the best of all possible worlds.

Slim Charles said...


Yes, exactly. This is what I've been thinking now for some years.

That Obama's "compromise," "overly conciliatory manner," and "refusal to be a fighter" is a ruse, right? He actually is on the side with which he pretends to compromise.

That's it, isn't it?

mp said...

very nice summary of o's accomplishments.

Arthur Silber said...

Well, not to blow my own horn -- aw, fuck, to blow my own horn VERY loudly -- some of us saw this early in 2008.

Note the movie pitch (or synopsis, or treatment, or whatthefuckever) at the beginning. It's MY movie they're making!

And I never got one goddamned cent. Fucking Hollywood.

C-Nihilist said...

Jack, found an illustration to go with this post:

Jack Crow said...


It's probably gauche and too-obvious, but your influence is showing, here. And blow that horn as loudly as you'd like. I don't think I'm alone in believing you've earned it. "Cassandra" may be a shitty job title, what with how Priam handles prophets in his own house, and how Ajax and Agamemnon always behave, but it's a noble calling anyway.

mp, thanks.


To push a coyly esoteric pet theory of mine own, Obama is a both a glyph and a cipher. That's how he works, by representing and scrambling his self at the same time. It was the genius behind his campaign Motherhood position.

Some people are all glyph. Take Trent Lott, or Limbaugh, to use well known examples. Also, Hillary Clinton* and She Who Must Not Be Named. Every public act is a representation of they honestly are. It's a scribbled image, and these scribbled images add up to a pattern which has some predictability and continuity to it. And even though Limbaugh is a performance artist, he really is performing his own self.

Some people are all cipher. Their inscrutability makes them perfect receptacles for projection. Bill Clinton is a fine example of this type.

Obama, perhaps like Palin, is both. As Arthur, and Chris Floyd, and Lambert and a number of others have documented for nearly four years, Obama has always been a merit society technophilic thanatocrat. If you go back and read his campaign position papers, he was in favor of war escalation, "democracy" exportation, deregulation and financialism as far back as 2007. His only policy change of any note was to glom onto Hillary's "individual mandate." But, Obama the technocrat (a glyph) is not at all the same as Obama the campaigner and politician (a cipher), upon whom disparate and often conflicting population groups have projected aspirations, hopes, fears and fantasies (pro and con).

* - Hillary Clinton is a merit liberal technocrat. She is openly and honestly so. Her public persona is also who she really is: a dry, mostly bland, highly educated and intelligent woman of means. That hasn't prevented "PUMAs" from projecting on to her the image of a socialist, feminist warrior for the hoi polloi. That they come across as wooden lipped and tin eared owes more to the attempt to shoehorn Hillary into a role she obviously doesn't inhabit. It's a failure of projection.

Jack Crow said...




Have you read Monsieur's jest at Yglesias, yet?


The Dynamite Prize was never more perfectly ironic. Not even when given to Peres.

Justin said...

It's enough to make me shed tears in an unguarded moment.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Don't forget successfully putting Social Security on the chopping block.

Republicans have tried to do that forever, but only a Democratic President could get the job done.

Richard said...

Obama is the symptom and not the disease. The secret here is that liberals have been the beneficiaries of Reaganite policies going back to Reagan himself, but lacked a suitable political figure to transition their public acceptance of neoliberal/militaristic policies.

Clinton was the first attempt, and he succeeded, but only partway, because he still needed working class support to become President and stay there. By 2008, Obama could successfully build a coalition as a classless, "post-partisan" politician (recall the 2008 convention in Denver, an event that celebrated, to the exclusion of all else, the upper middle class elite of the party, an elite on the verge of taking power). He could thereafter govern accordingly, progressive fantasies notwithstanding. SEIU played a major role in this, with its embrace of business unionism under Andy Stern, and the marginalization of unions centered in manufacturing.

Of course, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown served the same role in the UK.

Jack Crow said...

Oy, I despise "financialism," as a term. I wrote it in there as short hand reminder-to-self, and forgot to go back and replace it with "financial reform..."


I wonder how Reverend Goodhair feels about all this. If the Democrat were anyone but Captain World Historical, I think Perry would be a lock, even if Uncle and Corporate had their money behind the institutionalist.


Then again, we've got a rafter of liberals, anarchists, socialists and Marxists who actually believe the "rebels" in Libya are revolutionary and that Truth and Justice Shall Ensue.™

Susan of Texas said...

I'm wondering how Democrats will top themselves next time. We'll probably have a female president who will repeal the 19th Amendment.

fish said...

Have you read Monsieur's jest at Yglesias, yet?

I do enjoy when he pulls the knives on MattY. Also agreed with you that China's form of imperialism is different but still very real (and maybe more effective long term).

Peter W said...

...we've got a rafter of liberals, anarchists, socialists and Marxists who actually believe the "rebels" in Libya are revolutionary and that Truth and Justice Shall Ensue.™

I think, if we can take Louis Proyect as a bellwether, they'll consider the toppling of the Evil Dictator Mission Accomplished, and the fate of the Libyan people will be quickly forgotten. Just as liberal Kosovo interventionists wouldn't recognize the name Pristina today.

Jack Crow said...


The neoliberal Egyptian order no longer bears the destabilizing burden of a corrupt octogenarian or his loathsome and odious son.

Its officially recognized junta may make occasionally worrisome noises about the Eretz, but strikes have been broken, and the Egyptian people who had their revolution strangled at birth.

Obama, no doubt, is as pleased as the money managers who funnel funds to the defense industry.


The symptom can still have great effect, I think.

rapier said...

Obama did none of it. He was simply there when it happened. Neither leading or following he is merely along for the ride. As McCain would have been or anyone else for that matter. Not these exact things for the world is not planned so precisely. All they and we know is what happens will benefit the fewest number of people. Those who already have all the benefits.

It follows Obama will follow them where they lead. So too will anyone else who approves 'policy' or just lets whatever happens pass as such.

Jack Crow said...

This idea that the President of the United States is merely a pawn seems contradicted by the power he regularly wields.