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Obama: A Presidency of Hope or Failure?

category international | miscellaneous | feature author Wednesday December 09, 2009 15:05author by Gerard Horgan - Freelance Report this post to the editors

A critique of the Obama Presidency

featured image
Obama - Hope, No!

A critique of the Obama Presidency from taking office in January of this year to now.

Criticism of the Obama Administration in the United States (and around the world) is more noticeable as is the slide in the opinion polls for the young president. This may seem predictable given the unrealistic levels of global expectation that accompanied him as he swept into the Oval office with the words ‘hope and change’ ringing around America. However, just over nine months on, commentators and supporters alike are disappointed at Obama’s apparent inability to deliver on his campaign promises. The polemicist, Gore Vidal, in several recent interviews went as far as to say that Obama will be a ‘one term President’ who is ‘completely overwhelmed’ by the challenges that confront him.

This unease and anger seem to galvanise after the Administration’s decision to bailout the major US banks and financial institutions in the form of a ‘stimulus’ package, which is pushing close to $1 trillion dollars. The Nobel Prize winning economist, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, commented on RTE’s Primetime programme that this amounted to a massive “theft of the American taxpayer”. The ill feeling surrounding this package intensified when it was revealed that part of this enormous sum of money was used to pay the annual bonuses of senior banking executives who had largely caused the crisis. This was against a backdrop of economic decline with millions of Americans losing their jobs, millions more facing home foreclosure while the dispossessed are filling the growing number of tent cities which are becoming an increasing feature on the outskirts of major American cities.

Some time back, the popular political satire show, Saturday Night Live, ran a sketch of President Obama, which focused not on his idiosyncrasies but on his policy failures. In the ‘Obama checklist’, the skit highlighted his failure to close Guantanamo Bay, withdraw US military forces from Iraq, ameliorate the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, introduce comprehensive health care and immigration reform, present long overdue climate change legislation and tackle the Israel-Palestine imbroglio.

Humour aside, Saturday Night Live, highlighted the very real issues at the heart of the Obama presidency and the perception that both he and his administration are floundering in the face of the multiple crises that have arisen in the past 12 months.

The war in Afghanistan, increasingly characterised as ‘Obama’s War’, is in serious trouble with the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, warning of ‘mission failure’. NATO forces have a tenuous grip on Kabul, the precariousness of which is highlighted by suicide bombers who are able to penetrate the centres of government and administration with relative ease and alarming frequency. Reports indicate that large swathes of the countryside are controlled by the Taliban despite assurances from Washington and London that the war is not lost. The recent elections were a fiasco with widespread voting irregularities and accusations of corruption undermined what little remained of Harmid Karzai's legitimacy.

President Obama’s decision to commit 30,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan (with additional troops from several NATO countries) is, according to the White House, an effort to create ‘stability’ and increase the training of Afghan forces (25% who reportedly ‘walk away’) so that these forces can ‘step-up’ as NATO forces ‘step-down’. Curiously, Obama announced that the withdrawal of US forces is penned in for mid 2011 – why this was flagged in such a public manner is unclear as all the Taliban have to do (in fact all they ever had to do) is to sit tight and wait – such a seemingly fixed deadline may come back to haunt the administration. Obama is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place - an escalation of forces could prove highly costly politically and in terms of human life while a complete pull out of NATO forces is sure to see the immediate implosion of the corrupt and discredited Karzai regime. The quagmire that is Afghanistan may consume Obama’s first, and if we are to believe Vidal, only term, while other issues such as health care and climate change will undoubtedly suffer.

In Iraq, the situation is hardly much better. Obama’s promise to draw down troop levels in that volatile country seem hollow in light of the 'super-bases' being constructed outside Baghdad for the estimated 80,000 US troops who may remain on after an ‘orderly withdrawal’ – an Orwellian phrase if ever there was one. Other promises such as brokering peace between Israel and Palestine and reaching out to Latin America leaders have all been dashed against the demands of US global hegemony. Indeed, Obama’s recent unsuccessful trip to Copenhagen to secure the Olympic Games for Chicago has called into question his judgement - a trip one senses President Clinton would never had made.

Domestically, President Obama is facing growing resistance from within his own party. Congressman Dennis Kucinich in an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now highlighted the growing exasperation with the seemingly unending foreign commitments and the consequences for the home front:

“You would think that we don’t have enough to do here at home. You would think that we don’t have 47 million Americans who go to bed hungry, 47 million Americans who don’t have any health care, 15 million Americans who are out of work, another 10 million Americans whose homes are threatened with foreclosure, people going bankrupt, and business failures. All these things are happening in our country and we’re acting like a latter-day version of the Roman Empire, reaching for empire while inside we rot.”

Kucinich went on to touch on one of the major issues facing the US economy – the level of indebtedness, which currently stands at approximately $13 trillion dollars:

“We are borrowing money right now to be able to prosecute wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States is going deeper and deeper into debt. We borrowed money or printed money as the Fed may have it, to help finance $13 trillion dollars in bailouts for Wall Street. You know, we have money for Wall Street and money for war, but we don’t have money for work. We have money for Wall Street and money for war, but we don’t have money for health care. We have to start asking ourselves, why is it that war is a priority, but the basic needs of the people of this country are not? And how are we getting the money to pay for the war?

We’re borrowing it. We’re going deeper into debt. We’re mortgaging our future. We’re creating conditions where we will become less democratic because we can’t meet the most essential needs of our people. This needs to be challenged. And it needs to be challenged in a forthright way. It can be challenged without making President Obama the issue. The issue is the war; the issue is America’s reach for empire. The issue is our inability to meet the needs of people here at home.”

In University College Cork recently, Kevin Sullivan, former speech writer for the Clinton Administration said that: “Americans still don’t know what kind of President Barack Obama is, he hasn’t played his cards yet”, however such statements seem hardly credible in light of Obama’s ‘blank cheque’ support for Wall Street, the continued missile strikes in northern Pakistan (which is creating greater instability in a country that is in real danger of reaching ‘failed nuclear state’ status), the floundering of the Afghan misadventure and his failure to protect the many millions of Americans who once chanted the old Latin American Union slogan: ‘Si, Se Peude!’ or ‘Yes we can!’, and who have painfully discovered that 'No, they can't'.

It would seem that ‘Brand Obama’, that creation of the advertising industry during the 2008 presidential election, is slowly unravelling to reveal an inexperienced politician, beset by crises that seem destined to doom his presidency before it has begun.

author by Obamanationpublication date Tue Dec 08, 2009 01:41Report this post to the editors

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=200...09638

...to realise that Obama was never going to "change" anything much

He was vetted by these folks long before he got elected. They knew he'd play ball.
Goldman sachs, j.p. morgan, citigroup all did quite nicely so far in his presidency.

here's john mc cains chart to compare:
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cid=N0000...=2008

kinda evident who they preferred isn't it?

plus ca change.....

author by Davepublication date Tue Dec 08, 2009 15:00Report this post to the editors

Kennedy was a relatively inexperienced President who got into power on the back of the WW2 generation who had come of age in the early 1960's, the first President of the 20th century who was actually born in that century, a member of a generation who had grown up in the Depression, fought the Nazis and Japs and emerged "victorious."
This generation were angry that Soviet Russia had the "lead" in space, was on control of Eastern Europe, threatened to dominate new post-colonial nations who had emerged from under British and French control, who feared democracy was under threat from Soviet nuclear hegemony. The post war economic progress raised their expectations of a society with poverty erradicated and social injustices especially racism tackled.
A detached analysis of Kennedy shows he was a disappointment.
His aggression toward Cuba brought both superpowers needlessly close to all out nuclear war.
His support for South Vietnam was already showing signs of mission creep that would drag America into perpetual war in the mountains, jungles, swamps and rice paddies that ultimately wasted billions and cost thousands of young American lives and millions of impoverished Vietnamese peasant guerillas and soldiers that ruined the Great Society ambitions of Johnson and almost ruined the United States itself.
He kicked the can of Civil Rights further down the alley for the next administrations in a futile struggle to keep Southern racist conservatives on his side.
The glory of the moon landings in 1969 didn't last long as the space program became an overly expensive white elephant.

Kennedy was killed entirely by fluke when his open automobile passed under the windows of the Texas School Book Depository where a deranged ex-Marine just happened to work.

Kennedy exited the stage at just the right moment before he actually had to face up to reality.

author by john throne - labors militant voice. publication date Wed Dec 09, 2009 17:40author email loughfinn at aol dot comReport this post to the editors


Malcolm X: "You cannot have capitalism without racism."
Racism and Sexism. Be "Righteously enraged."

Malcolm X was right. You cannot have capitalism without racism. It is impossible. Towards the end of his life Malcolm X became a socialist and fought for working class unity. That is why they murdered him when they did. He identified capitalism as the enemy and explained that it was inevitably linked to racism. Yes, he explained, you cannot have capitalism without racism. For all of us who want to fight racism this has to be our starting point.

Some people thought Malcom's position might no longer be true, now that Obama is in the Whitehouse. But far from it. Capitalism still needs and will always need racism. If the tiny minority of the capitalist class are to continue to rule the great majority of the working class they must divide the working class. So the weapon of racism must continue to be retained and used. In fact in this period when capitalism is in deeper crisis and the working class are more angry capitalism has to step up its racist policies of divide and rule. Racism is more central to their rule and control than ever.

Not only has racism continued with Obama in the Whitehouse but there are several reports which show that in some areas it has increased. In order to prove himself to to the mainly white capitalist class Obama has surrounded himself with the white capitalist swindlers and so called advisers such as Sumners, Bernanke, and others. And during his campaign he never stood up and challenged the source and the reality of racism. He tiptoed around it so he could get the white vote. So he never took any action to attack and weaken racism. But this is not all.

Take his economic policies and the unemployment rate. According to the most recent jobs data not only is the unemployment rate for blacks nearly twice that for whites, the gap in some demographics has widened rapidly since Obama took office. The unemployment rate over that time for white college graduates under 24 grew by about 20 per cent. For their black cohorts the rate grew by about twice that rate. A report from the Pew Research Institute finds that blacks were the most likely to get higher priced sub-prime loans, leading to higher foreclosure rates. In fact blacks have now replaced Hispanics as the group with the lowest home ownership rates. Things are getting worse for black people under Obama.

What is going on? We need to use our imagination. Think of the conversations in the board rooms and the golf clubs and where white bosses congregate. In spite of Obama's extreme determination to serve capitalism and not attack racism they do not trust or like him. This is reflected in their hiring practices right down to the most low paid positions. And also possibly even more in the high paid positions. They do not want an Obama in their board room. The US ruling class is still far and away WASP. And I hear the term "Uppity" we know the next word has been emerging again.

It is not only on the economic fronts that the situation is getting worse for blacks. Since Obama emerged as one of the two major candidates of the Democrats, as their candidate for the Presidency and his election to the presidency, a two year period, anti black hate crimes have gone up 8% while those against other racial groups have fallen 19%. (FBI reports) There is a backlash against blacks because of Obama's election, not only at the middle and upper levels of capitalism but also in the lower paid sections of the working class and the unemployed.

Obama's election did not reduce racism in the country. Most Obama supporters defended his policy in his campaign of not confronting racism, of campaigning in a way that would not "frighten" white voters. Put another way this means leaving the racist prejudices intact, not challenging them. But for racism against black people and all racist groups to be ended racist prejudices HAVE to be challenged. Obama decided that above all he had to get elected, he decided that above all he would not challenge the employers policies of divide and rule, that above all the white vote was most important for him and he would not do anything to upset this so he did not take on and challenge and attack racism or divide and rule. His strategy was to leave the racist prejudices intact. It was and is disgusting.

Of course there is no such thing as the white vote in reality. It is a construct of the employers and capitalism who have to work very hard with their political monopoly, their mass media, their education system, their vicious state apparatus, to maintain the propaganda that there is a white vote and to "create" and maintain a white vote. The war criminal and mass murderer Kissinger, the war criminal and mass murderers Cheney and Rumsfeld and Bush have nothing in common with the minimum wage white worker or the white worker, usually an ex vet, sleeping under an over pass. There is a class issue involved. The ruling class want to hide the fact that there are classes and that they are the ruling class and a minority. They do not want to be identified as the ruling class so they continually emphasize the divisions that exist, race, gender and so on. Obama cooperated with the ruling class. He wanted their support and he wanted to reassure them he was no threat in spite of his black skin. So the racial prejudices were not challenged or attacked by him, he allowed them to remain intact, and now that he is in the Whitehouse they are in fact getting worse. There is a backlash. And the divide and rule policies are seen to be alive and well.

If you cannot have capitalism without racism as Malcolm X correctly said, then this means that the struggle against racism is the struggle to end capitalism, is the struggle for a democratic socialist society. We have to confront racism and sexism and all that divides the working class. We need to confront it with all our weapons. Racism, sexism, are crimes against the working class and make our lives worse in every respect, they are immoral and all who practice them are immoral. Any working class person especially who is a racist or sexist should be ashamed of him or her self. Not only are they participating in crimes against their fellow workers and human beings as a whole but they are doing the bosses' dirty work. Racism, sexism, divide and rule, are the weapons of the ruling capitalist class. This is how they keep working class people down. Any worker who is a racist or sexist or who puts forward these ideas is acting against his or her own interests and the interests of his or her class. Let us be blunt. They are being stupid. They are being conned by the boss class who at the same time is putting its hands in their pockets and taking everything it can from them. But not only that they are being cruel and inhumane to their black and hispanic and female and other minority fellow workers and human beings.

Working people have to take an open stand on the basis of humanity and morality against racism and sexism. But we also have to explain that this stand is what is in our own interests as workers. We need unity as a class to defend our interests and to gain better living standards. The union leaders in particular have a central role to play. The trade unions have in the main a united membership, the trade union leaders control the resources of its millions of members, they have access to its millions of members in the workplaces, they should be taking the lead in the fight against racism. But they are almost as bad as Obama. They do not want to risk their positions and control by taking on and attacking racism. So the inevitable result is that racism continues in the unions and these organizations which have the potential to transform the situation remain paralyzed. The union leaders are a scandal.

Fighting racism and sexism means openly identifying and fighting these crimes against working people and against humanity. And it means fighting them as immoral and anti humanitarian. All union leaders and all activists and all working people must take this stand. We must express ourselves with rage and vehemence whenever we meet racism or sexism. We must be righteously enraged. This is our responsibility.

But also we need to fight racism and sexism with a program and method of struggle which unites working class people as the only force that can end racism and sexism. Only by ending capitalism can we end racism and sexism. And only the working class can end capitalism. And only the working class can build an alternative society.

Below is a program to begin to unite and mobilize the working class:

#For a $15.00 minimum wage or a $5.00 raise whichever is the greater, for all workers male and female.
#Free education to all levels and free health care at the point of use for all. Pay for these out of the obscene wealth of the rich and by reducing military spending which is used to protect corporate profits and interests abroad.
#End capitalism by taking over the dominant sectors of the economy and putting these under democratic collective control which will allow working people through democratic collective structures to plan and control a new economy in their own interests.
#Against racism and sexism and all forms of discrimination.
#For a united mobilized working class taking mass direct action to achieve its objectives. The working class is potentially the most powerful force in society.
#For a democratic socialist world.

Related Link: http://weknowwhatsup.org
author by iosaf mac diarmadapublication date Wed Dec 09, 2009 18:29Report this post to the editors

It delighted me to work that out much earlier this year. The 3% blacker doesn't refer to melanin but the amount of black budget or non-disclosed funding allocated to the US defense and security services departments and their respective military industrial complex partners under Obama's first budget on such things.

Now hard as we might try today to examine the Lenihan budget - we won't find much hint of investment in drones or the death ray.

Of course as I noted in the article which looked at the Defence estimates for 2009 - 2010, many people don't believe in the death ray and thus don't care if “Directed Energy Technology” R&D went up from Bush's humble $62.7 million to $105.7 million in 2010 under Obama. All the same scoffers will scoff and say that such figures are pittance. Global Hawk drones got an extra $486.8 million and will thus upset less people. c/f Obama's Intelligence Services "of Change" = Just another Blair. article and comment http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90449 and comment http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90449#comment251513 and the figures themselves which speak loads in a discreet sort of way : http://www.defenselink.mil/comptroller/budget.html

I realise that for many people whether or not Obama's presidency votes extra dollars to black budget projects and continues the hi-tech love affair with remote controlled war is not really important in their understanding of whether or not his presidency will be one of hope or dismal sameness

So - I suppose I've to come on side with this excellent article and put something more meaty on the table to justify my opinion that Obama is just another capitalist figurehead, not as easy to hate or oppose as Bush, not as comic as Reagan, not as charismatic as Clinton but gosh can he speak.
Now isn't that odd how I praise his oratory and down his charisma in the same phrase? Or is it? His oratory won me over in March 2008 as I reported in this article : "E pluribus unum" a miscellany of links for Obama's "race speech" http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86766 But as much as his words won me over the aftermath & how the Reverend pastor Jeremiah Wright was quietly dismissed put quite a dent in my enthusiasm.

& enthusiastic I was to accept an invitation to watch the election count with the Democrats overseas in a nightclub hired for the celebration in Barcelona where I lived. A night of not quite hedonistic shambolic kind of dancing to not the best kind of music being told again and again by his faithful that yes Gitmo would close! and yes Iraq would end! and yes there would be a new start!

As regular readers will know I took a great interest in the Honduran coup d'etat and wrote many almost 30,000 words on the recent history of US inteference in Latin America to explain the decision to open new US bases in South America, this summer

Now that was a humdinger. I pointed out that all this happened and was happening and still is happening in Obama's backyard. That the Pentagon was built on the banks of the Potamac river where once President John Quincy Adams had taken his daily morning swim buck naked. The militarty industrial complex is quite literally in Obama's back yard. Yet change didn't reach it . It was pointed out by even Democratic senators, who had in their time sponsored Obama and sought his junior signature on their appeals for improvement, that Obama and Clinton's foreign policy in South America had not followed constitutional rules of transparency or consultation on the establishment of more US bases in South America than at any time in history .
c/f
Honduras beginning :http://www.indymedia.ie/article/94157?search_text=honduras

The new Latin American century, FARC, arms races, US bases & sundry fibs
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93553?search_text= honduras
New Latin American century (part 2): Nixon, Pinochet, Brazil, Chile, US bases, declassified files
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93578
New Latin American century (part 3): US "Forward Operating Locations", Domination, Robots & fibs.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93652?search_text= honduras

Honduras farcical end : http://www.indymedia.ie/article/94157?search_text=honduras


I could go on.

But I don't think one really needs to go on.

If Bush was a president who could unite us all in opposition then Obama will be a president who might unite us all in disappointment. & the more I look around I realise that it really was the newest generation who latched on to the hope the most. Those who had no memory of the smooth sameness which is the transference of power from the Republicans to the Democrats.

So there are those who would speak of debt and the end to the economic strength? I wonder is that out of as much understanding of the dismal science of Economic and the paradoxes of the monetary system and reserve or central banking systems or more out of a homespun realisation that the Eire state can't afford a death ray or a FAS course to encourage a knowledge based economy which might present the military industrial complex with the employable types of people who would know how to make a death ray.

Oh well we're all at pizza cutting now.

But perhaps we need a reader friendly explanation of monetarism and how debt and defecit are inherent to the capitalist system again?
Anyway - great article. thank you Mr Horgan.

We can believe the USA has changed in 40 years
We can believe the USA has changed in 40 years

You could have got a FAS course on the death ray instead of a toxic mortgage
You could have got a FAS course on the death ray instead of a toxic mortgage

unthinkable really.
unthinkable really.

author by Obama for Progresspublication date Wed Dec 09, 2009 19:05Report this post to the editors

Obama was / is manufactured PR (public relations / propaganda) brand with little relevance to reality.

All the "Obama Brand" gave "the rabble" were words like "hope" or "change". It was an easy ticket for change without having to do much about it (some impressive grassroots campaigning), hence the little change that happened.

Good branding. It shut the rabble up for quiet some time.

Obama (the person) deserves an Oscar for his fictional portrayal of some sort of "saviour". Who ever / whatever manufactured the brand, is truly a genius of PR

author by Boadiceapublication date Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:36Report this post to the editors

The thing President Obama most needs to do -- which also happens to be the thing he is least likely to do -- is to tackle the centuries old problem with the bankers: in a way whereby the governments of the world end up having control of the central banking cartel, instead of the other way around.

"The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks."
Lord Acton (1834 - 1902).

PEOPLE VERSUS THE BANKS (Letter dated November 30th 2009 to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP):
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/PrimeMinisterGordonBr...l.htm

author by 5 Arrestedpublication date Thu Dec 10, 2009 14:30author address Los Angeles USAReport this post to the editors

Dec 9, 2009
Peace Prize Protest

Five LA Catholic Workers were arrested today at the Downtown Federal
Building, for calling on President Obama to end the wars or give up
his Nobel Peace Prize. Catherine Morris, David Omondi, Jeff Dietrich,
John Yvetich and Mike Wisniewski climbed the steps onto federal
property and blocked the doorway while shouting ” Obama! No Peace, No
Prize!” Documentary filmmaker Ernest Savage was also arrested while
attempting to record the event.
We pray for the madness to end.

Photos on link......

http://lacatholicworker.org/2009/12/09/peace-prize-protest

Related Link: http://lacatholicworker.org/2009/12/09/peace-prize-protest
author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Thu Dec 10, 2009 14:40Report this post to the editors

You couldn't make it up! Obama justifying his war in Afghanistan while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. Clearly that should now be The Nobel War Prize. Every tinpot dictator in the world can claim he is fighting a just war - should bin Laden be given a Nobel? Well, he could certainly argue that he is fighting a just war, by his lights. The Nobel committee have disgraced themselves.

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Thu Dec 10, 2009 17:32Report this post to the editors

Obama, The Great Black Dope?

What is happening to Barack Obama? Who's working on a dream? What dream?

Wake up and smell the coffee American workers, you have been duped once again by him and his PR machine, the same PR vultures that sold you that other great white dope. From one dope to another.

Send your ominations for the Nobel Peace Prize for Hoodwinking and Dope of the Decade to:

postmaster@nobel.no

As Muhammed Ali said, "you ain't as dumb as you look!"

Photo essays etc on workers issues etc: http://myspace.com/libertypix

author by Amazedpublication date Thu Dec 10, 2009 18:18Report this post to the editors

Mr Obama must be the biggest conman and liar in the whole of human history to date?

"Keep to my election promises?"

"No, I can not."

author by pucapublication date Thu Dec 10, 2009 20:39Report this post to the editors

You gotta love a good performance. He talked about having closed Gitmo...bring back Bush.

author by iosaf mac diarmadapublication date Thu Dec 10, 2009 21:28Report this post to the editors

A little bit of history ended this Thursday as Fidel Castro saw published his last "reflection" in the Cuban newspaper "Granma" named after the boat which left Mexico for the island all those decades ago. On board that boat were many, most of whom did not survive the first campaign. There was one doctor, whose image has more than once been used and misused by those whose shallow understanding of progress can be pinned on a lapel or blazoned on a t-shirt. I refer of course to Che.

The last "reflection" which I've joked before were really a series of letters which Fidel sent the official newspaper of the Cuban communist party and with extraordinary luck saw each and every one published focussed on Obama's cynicism.
Obama was not obliged to accept the prize is how the old bearded one began.

& he's quite right too. In the history of the various Nobel prizes there have been instances of people who didn't accept for various reasons but certainly disgust at the cynicism involved ame into it. For the Nobel prizes are based on the legacy of a millionaire who invented dynamite & more than a few people wer sent to heaven or hell or the mortician's lab thanks to that fortune whilst on the other side of reality many men were assured dusted lungs and grimed faces chipping away at the tunnel rock faces of coal, gold, diamonds and whatever other edible things come down mines. Jean Paul Sartre and Le Duc Tho declined their Nobel prizes in 19664 and 1973 respectively. Sartre did so quite probably because he was being either extraordinary awkward that day or Simone du Bouvoir wouldn't let him out of the flat. Either way he is recorded as explaining himself thus : "It is not the same thing if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre or if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prize winner. A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honorable form." Le Duc Tho seemed to show extreme disgust that he was expected to share the peace prize with Henry Kissenger. As a child I was told a story by a drunken auld wan named Dicey Reilly who must be delighted with the new budget which shall transform Ireland in the eyes of the late capitalist world societies into a pre-Victorian place of squalor and gin (exactly what they all want) that W.B. Yeats's reaction on hearing he was to win the prize denied Joyce was quite simply to wonder aloud how much is it worth? .

You may read the whole Fidel Castro text, his last text as comrade daddy of the revolution which gave us Che t-shirts in its Spanish original here :- http://www.granma.cu/espanol/2009/diciembre/mier9/cinic....html You may see how Fidel keeps on top of figures and data which he seems to believe belie the perfidious yankee cynicism and falsehoods of old; like carbon footprints, child poverty, war spending. Oh yes - if anyone can see that Obama is (as I explained in a comment up this page) "3% blacker than Bush" then Mr Castro can.

You may read Obama's acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize joining such luminaries as Roosevelt (of the big stick) and Wilson (of the 11 points and league of nations) and Kissinger of the dominoes and blanket bombing here in English :- http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/12/bara....html
& bear in mind that this prize has done more to attract negative feeling to Obama on the domestic front than any other matter. Only 17% of US citizens believe he should have been given the prize. That may be more than those who could find Afghanistan on a map (or even spell it properly to find it via google Earth) but it is a far cry from the vast majority of people who believed in him

You can even see a snuff youtube video if you aren't very good at reading. No shame in that fewer and fewer and even less people can read these days - it's a troublesome affair and surely you needed some cheap gin to get through this comment.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u26Oljj225o

& if you are very intellectual and philosophical you will no longer pay attention to the dreary plying of an old trade which was voiced in Obama's moment of laureate cynicism, doublespeak and double think : his argument for just war .

Now the "just" in Just War is understood by philosophers and theologists to mean a War which can be justified . It was an argument had in ancient war which meant that they managed to convince themselves that every single act of conquest was not only ethically warrented but a moral neccesity. As was once written Rome conquered half the world in self-defense"

But when I read "just war" I don't think about the self-defense by which empires are conquered - I just read "war" and just "war" and nothing more.

Whereas Bush called down God to bless his crusade against Saddam Hussein in which alas so many hundreds of thousands of innoncents would die, it seems now Barrack Obama can call down theology to justify his war in Afghanistan.

Strange.

The Soviets justified theirs as a geopolitical strategy and a call to help an ally.
The British didn't bother justifying theirs after noble Elphinstone saw every one of his straggling soldiers and their wives and kiddy's slaughtered up the Khyber by the perfidious Khan. War on the Afghani people was simply a matter of bloody hatred and growing opium.

We are all too cynical..................Obama has made & is making "great progress".

Caption: it


author by Redrumpublication date Fri Dec 11, 2009 19:12Report this post to the editors

They forgot to give a Piece Nobel to G.Bush, Pinnocet, members of NPD, BNP, LAOS one should go to Zen Mrie Lepen...

I used to think that somebody could be awarded for a nobel based on what he/she has done, not based on what she/he will do...

Obama is doing the same "fight the "evil"" as Bush used to do.

Obama is Ghanti the second.

author by Linkerpublication date Fri Dec 11, 2009 22:51Report this post to the editors

...by paul craig roberts

"essentially obama is irrelevant"
worth a read.

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts12022009.html

author by Ray of Hopepublication date Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:14Report this post to the editors

It seems that Dr Ron Paul's latest set of attempts to have "The Fed" audited -- which (almost unbelievably!!) has never yet happened apparently -- may soon be successful.

If so, the era of "puppet US presidents" may be coming to an end: and with it the extremely varied and HUGE mountain of greed-driven global problems for humanity which continue (it seems to me) to accumulate through this extremely worrying arrangement, and which appears to be a very long way past its "sell by" date.

For those who might not know, medical doctor Ron Paul is a US Congressman (i.e. a TD in Republic of Ireland terms) of long standing, and his web site address is: http://www.ronpaul.com

Sadly, it seems to me that we don't have any "elective representatives" -- not even ONE -- of Dr Paul's kind here in the Republic of Ireland at the present time.

Hopefully though, some of our own TDs may yet follow Dr Paul's lead, and take steps to ensure that the Republic of Ireland Central Bank, and -- far more importantly -- the European Central Bank, are also annually audited and the results made public: which I assume (as is the case with "The Fed" Central Bank of the United States) does not happen in EITHER European case at the present time.

If I am in error regarding this point, I hope somebody will correct me, and inform me (on this thread) where I can see annual audits of the Republic of Ireland and the European Central Bank accounts.

I'd also be very interested to know if either of the two Central Banks in question (Republic of Ireland and European) have ever paid any taxes -- having due regard for the fact that, in so far as I know (again I hope someone will correct me on this thread if I'm wrong), both of these Central Banks are privately owned and privately run (for all practical purposes).

author by Petepublication date Sat Dec 12, 2009 16:48Report this post to the editors

That was a clever move by the Norwegians.

Now the new American president ( poor Obama) will have to live out his life and live and die as a man of peace.

Not as a war-monger.

Typical Viking scheming !

author by Raymondpublication date Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:24Report this post to the editors

Influential Daily Telegraph columnist Gerald Warner is publicly scathing about the way the "Main Stream Media" is failing to treat "Climategate" for the "world-wide scandal" he believes it is.

His very strong views on this subject can be read in yesterday's Telegraph article at:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/10001989...tury/

author by Debunkerpublication date Wed Dec 16, 2009 19:44Report this post to the editors

Lord Christopher Monckton, who served as an adviser to Margaret Thatcher's policy unit in the 1980s, is making it very clear that he is extremely worried President Obama will sign the Global Warming Treaty at Copenhagen -- using his "executive authority" -- and, if necessary, later use the United States Supreme Court to get around the stiff opposition believed likely to emerge to the Treaty from the United States Congress.

An interview (dated November 27th 2009) with Lord Monckton on this subject can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS4HrQ4CYZU&feature=related

For anybody in a hurry, go to 09:32 -- which is where Lord Monckton starts to refer to President Obama in this interview.

author by Bazooka Joepublication date Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:25Report this post to the editors

When Obama 'Saves the World' in Copenhagen after an all night last minute session he will be further propelled before us as the great Man of Peace he isn't.

author by Toast-Junkiepublication date Thu Dec 17, 2009 23:11Report this post to the editors

I remember reading an interesting post somewhere about how you could have the most wonderful people in the position of presidency and still in the end nothing would change. Congress is the biggest problem. If anything is decided you have to rely on them to agree and vote on the resolution that has been suggested.
Obama can promise a lot, but it's all up to Congress if it goes through or not.
All the senators can be paid off or whatever by companies to get what they like and if enough are paid off a resolution can pass or fail due to that alone. It's why a health reform could never happen alone for that fact.
Afghanistan, Iraq...the Republicans aren't happy if the troops pull out, so you can forget about that. All the things that have arisen in this topic can be linked to Congress unwillingness to co-operate.
I don't think much of presidents in general, because anyone who knows how the system works in most "democratic" countries don't work. If you have enough money, you can bribe the country how you want. Freedom and "Justice" can only be bought.

author by pucapublication date Sun Dec 20, 2009 05:47Report this post to the editors

He didn't expand the Bush doctrine in Oslo but he added some philosophical scaffolding, namely war is the moral equivalent of peace.

author by pat cpublication date Sun Dec 20, 2009 14:37Report this post to the editors

Heres a few views on Copenhagen.

The Moment Of Truth
By Fidel Castro

Despite the maneuvers and deception of the leaders of the empire, their moment of truth is drawing closer. Their own allies are losing confidence in them. In Mexico, the same as in Copenhagen or elsewhere in the world, they will be met by the growing resistance of the peoples that have not renounced the hope to survive
http://www.countercurrents.org/castro181209.htm

Better To Have No Deal Than One That Spells Catastrophe
By Naomi Klein

The only offer on the table in Copenhagen would condemn the developing world to poverty and suffering in perpetuity
http://www.countercurrents.org/klein181209.htm

No Delay At Copenhagen
By Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Postponing hard decisions about the fight against global warming will only make an already tragic predicament worse
http://www.countercurrents.org/silva181209.htm

author by pat cpublication date Sun Dec 20, 2009 14:51Report this post to the editors

Some more views on Copenhagen with emphasis on Obama.

With Climate Agreement, Obama Guts Progressive Values
By Bill McKibben

Obama has taken the mandate that progressives worked their hearts out to give him, and used it to gut the ideas that progressives have held most dear. The ice caps won’t be the only things we lose with this deal
http://www.countercurrents.org/mckibben191209.htm

The Truths Copenhagen Ignored
By Johann Hari

The world's worst polluters – the people who are drastically altering the climate – gathered here in Copenhagen to announce they were going to carry on cooking, in defiance of all the scientific warnings
http://www.countercurrents.org/hari191209.htm

Copenhagen Ends In Failure
By John Vidal, Allegra Stratton &Suzanne Goldenberg

The UN climate summit reached a weak outline of a global agreement last night in Copenhagen, falling far short of what Britain and many poor countries were seeking and leaving months of tough negotiations to come. The so-called Copenhagen accord "recognises" the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2C but did not contain commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal
http://www.countercurrents.org/vidal191209.htm

Why Copenhagen Failed
By Shamus Cooke

To anybody interested in the future of the earth’s climate, the conclusion of the Copenhagen conference represents either colossal disappointment or profound rage. The financial pledges— if honored— that rich nations made to poor nations will do nothing to combat global warming. The few climate related agreements that were made were of zero substance, especially when compared to what the situation demanded
http://www.countercurrents.org/cooke191209.htm

author by conor burkepublication date Tue Dec 22, 2009 16:28Report this post to the editors

i have to ask why have you choosen to use a picture of obama with the word socialist printed underneath . thats the kind of thing one would expect to see on the fox news website , but there intentionally in order to mislead people. i am going to assume that this was done in a very tounge in cheek manner as a sort of contradiction in which it is hoped people will see the funny side of calling obama a socialist when he infact is as much of a capitalist as bush or clinton . however the reason for my slight annoyance is that there will always be that small group of people who dont get it, and will percieve this to be an accurate depiction

author by ellypublication date Sat Dec 26, 2009 20:55Report this post to the editors

The simple fact of Racist promotion follows through in their foreign policy of continuance of the unjust wars, and illegal violence started by the admitted eugeneticists Bush Senior & Jr. It is pitiful indeed to hear that the U.S. soldiers are calling the Arabs 'sand niggers' and other epithets filled with racist hatred for the peoples they seek to conquor.

Just the other night Obama explained on TV that Afghanistan had attacked the U.S.A. and that is why he is increasing the number of combat troops since his administration by 40,000. The truth is opposite, as the British and U.S. Imperialists are the only countrys that has entirely threatened and attacked the middle east countries which are the erstwhile Holyland, and cradle of written civilization.

He lies and seeks alliances not on the basis of liberation but on obeyance to the propaganda and lies of the empire to justifiy the unjust wars, and illegal violence. The anti-fascist covenants are again been disallowed and broken even while they are by the U.S. Constitution the supreme laws of the land.

Take for example the Nuremburg Trials (1945) chaired by U.S. judge Jackson which says that the planning and doing of aggressive war is the supreme international crime on the planet earth, as they actuate all other crimes high, low, big and small. He further says that they are the supreme international crime whether Germany does them or the United States does them. The Geneva conventions of war says there are three obvious war crimes being committed 1) targeting and killing of civilians, 2) torturing and killing of prisoners of war, 3) collective punishment such as the droning and bombing of villages, towns, and cities to rubble throughout the Holyland because those people there have legitimately decided to take up armed struggle to free their countries from the illegal invasions and occupations by the U.S. Imperialist troops and their puppets.

Also they break the United Nations Charter which says that if forms the UN to make aggressive war just a long distant memory to the comming generations. In other words the anti-fascist side fought to end Imperialist aggressive wars forever and make collective agree as democracy between nations their foreign policy. This the Security Council has subverted with veto by the Imperialists who control the Security council. That process is the same that ended the peaceful original purpose of the League of Nations. You can see that Obama is an Imperialist perpetuator, a man who bails out the rich bankers, and insurance brokers while pilfering the public treasury and the value added of the workers. He leaves the workers-peasant farmers, and students in the lurch with pittance.

The workers did not cause the wars nor do they cause depressions. Everyone works, poverty ends (IWW). Imperialist man has done depressions and still they think they get away with it by greenwashing a first elected blackman as President. Tell me how you can revive an Imperialist economy by 'bailing out the very corporations and execs. that cause the depression and wars that cause them. He has only in reality guaranteed the crisis to be prolonged, and that they will be deeper and wider in the not to distant furture. You cannot fool all the people all of the time said Pres. Lincoln, and the vast majority are not fooled by Obama even now. End pollution wars, not endless wars for more pollution. Re-tool to wind, tidal, and solar power. Viva socialist liberation.

author by Hugh B - Klepto's Anonymouspublication date Tue Dec 29, 2009 14:10Report this post to the editors

So far the Obomber has killed more people with those drones than were killed by Bush, with those same drones.

One of his very first acts as Prez was to order the commencement of bombing in Pakistan using drones.

Obama = Chope

Better than G.W.B. ??
Better than G.W.B. ??

author by Cianpublication date Mon Jan 04, 2010 19:20Report this post to the editors

Anybody who watches Fox News with a straight face and seriously believes that Obama is a "socialist" will never in a million years be interested in what indymedia contributors have to say about anything. You are right that they would not get the irony of tagging Obama as a socialist, but do you seriously believe a nicely referenced article would get them on board? Anyone with Bill O'Reilly's type of worldview is so far away from being convinced by anything written here that I don't think time should be wasted on catering to such a non-existent audience. You cannot write a political article that communicates effectively the same message to every single person wherever they lie on the political spectrum. The gap is just too wide. We're talking totally different worldviews here - they might think Obama is a "socialist", but do they mean the same thing by "socialist" as you, or me? Almost certainly not. Any article written to communicate with Fox News viewers would use completely different language, tone, expressions and phrasing and would most likely be worthless and laughable to most indymedia readers.

author by Sillymepublication date Tue Jan 05, 2010 06:46Report this post to the editors

Faces change but the "interests" of corporate America remain. The Democrats may earmark public expenditure towards communities needing urban renewal and may rope in a few million more disadvantaged citizens into the medicare system, but the military industrial complex maintains its global strategies and fingers in every pie. Better maybe than Bush, but socially a game of musical chairs. No matter who you vote for a corporate-leaning administration always gets in. Remember that when you elect a Fine Gael-Labour coalition about two years from now. They'll throw some communities a few fingerlicking pigs trotters, while the middle classes book their summer and winter package holidays, and Shell gets ready to sell lotsa gas.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:31Report this post to the editors

It took an interview with an eminent black scholar on the English-language segment of Russian TV recently to reveal that most US Afro-Americans have lost faith in Obama and recognise at last the shadow over the substance. He talked the talk, but that was about it. Meanwhile, the US has supplied 'drones' to government forces in Yemen and is actively aiding and supporting the Yemen military against the rebels - war by proxy, as the US has done many times before. Yemen, seldom if ever mentioned in terms of international terror by the US administration, has now popped on to their 'watch' list.

author by jedpublication date Tue Jan 05, 2010 21:44Report this post to the editors

he doesn't have the power of a dictator for social policy. the american system is designed to seperate powers. there country was found on the belief that the accumulation of total power is a bad thing.

author by Sceptic - None Whatsoeverpublication date Tue Jan 05, 2010 23:01Report this post to the editors

He who has been elected by the people of The U.S of A. Is simply an Actor Who Is Playing The Role Of 'Mr President'.

Nothing More Nothing Less .

author by Obamanationpublication date Fri Jan 08, 2010 09:26Report this post to the editors

Award winning journalist tells it like it is on democracy now. Enjoy

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/6/obama_has_kept_the...e_set

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