This interview does a pretty good a job of illustrating the fundamentally conservative nature of liberalism (as represented by the donkey party) in this country, while at the same time attempting to portray conservatives (as represented by the elephant party) as a bunch of out-of-touch rich guys. Excuse me, did I say “rich”? I meant “very rich.” No, scratch that: “super rich.” Ah, fuck it, what I really mean is “very, very rich.”
Here, at least, is a mildly refreshing bit of honesty:
I’ve heard from people who worked in the White House that he doesn’t like rich people. I don’t actually think it’s true. I think he has a kind of Harvard Law School sense of kinship with these guys. He’s a member of the same technocratic elite. He could have taken that path. He has an admiration for those skills. But what he doesn’t have at all is a belief that the pure fact of having made a lot of money makes your views more valuable, or makes you more interesting or smarter than anyone else.
So what we have here is an exercise in hairsplitting, in which a distinction is being made between two subsets of the “technocratic elite”: straight-up businessmen and those who come from essentially the same background but who choose, instead of merely making money, to pursue more selfless, civic-minded endeavors, such as running for the job where you get to have kill lists and a fleet of lethal remote control airplanes for your own personal amusement.
This notion that there’s some great antagonism between Obama and the big money people is yet another iteration of the classic fairy tale about how the Democrats are the party of the little guy and the Republicans the party of Wall Street. Except it seems to be losing traction. Even a hack like Ezra Klein doesn’t really seem to believe it, as demonstrated by all the effort to impress upon us that Romney’s backers were more wealthy than Obama’s. Who gives a shit? If Obama and the Democrats were really perceived as a threat to the bankers, they would have been out collecting ballot access signatures with the Constitution Party instead of cruising to a second term.
I didn’t waste my time watching the foreign policy “debate,” but I caught a recap on RT last night. They edited a bunch of clips together of Obromney and Rombama heartily agreeing with each other. In one segment Obama was smiling as Romney fell all over himself in an attempt to demonstrate his approval of one of the president’s war-mongering policies. I was waiting for Obama to say, “You know, Mitt, I kinda like you. You’re not nearly as much of a douche as my supporters say you are. I have an idea. Why don’t we quit all this pointless debating [big air quotes around that last word] and work together? I have a cabinet position that I’m sure you’d love…”
In a similar vein, here’s Raimondo on how the debate was more like a contest to see who loves Israel more. I used to think the idea that Israel has too much influence on Washington was just an obsession among Alex Jones listeners and other fringe types always on the lookout for threats to “our democracy” or “our sovereignty,” depending on whether they were coming from the “left” or “right,” but at this point you’d have to be deaf and blind not to notice that demonstrating fealty to Israel has become all but an official qualification for any serious white house aspirant.
I love the shameless stroking of Obama’s “national security cred”—based upon his willingness to continue to prosecute and expand upon Bush’s wars—in an article ostensibly denouncing “the warmongers” who want to attack Iran. Obama’s “made his bones on national security” by killing children with remote control airplanes. He might as well have said, “Hey, Mitt, how many kids have you killed with Predator drones? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Now sit down and shut up.”
But we’re supposed to view Obama as the only option for peace because—so far—he hasn’t launched an attack on Iran. So what? There were plenty of people yammering about the threat from Iran back during the Bush regime, and he didn’t attack them either. I guess somebody should go on down to the ranch in Midland and present the man with a Nobel.
This is a variation on the pathetic argument that if Gore had been elected instead of Bush we would never have invaded Iraq, except instead of a hypothetical past reality we’re dealing with a hypothetical future reality—i.e., if Romney gets elected the tanks’ll be rolling into Tehran by Valentine’s Day. It’s also a pretty good illustration of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of lesser-evilist Dimbot apologists.
Here’s the story, according to Richard Reeves at truth[sic]dig:
Taking a few moments away from their normal business of stopping progress, those dastardly teabaggers held speaker of the house John Boner hostage (presumably at musket-point) and “blackmailed their opponents” into accepting a debt deal that nobody in America, save for this gaggle of “know-nothings” nostalgic for the 18th century, wanted. And Obama, president of the United States, most powerful man ever, just went along with it. Why? Because, poor trusting sap that he is, he believed Boner could “deal with the hostage-takers,” but tragically he was wrong.
I think some of the folks at truthdig need to keep digging.
Remember what a horrible dictator Bush was, how he arrogantly disregarded any rules that might have constrained his ability to wage endless war wherever and whenever he wanted? Well, thank goodness we have Team Obama in office now to restore a little humility to the executive branch. Oh, wait, what’s that?
The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon.
My favorite part of the article quoted above, though, is this:
The War Powers Act of 1973, passed in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, puts limits on the ability of the President to send American troops into combat areas without congressional approval. Under the act, the President can only send combat troops into battle or into areas where ”imminent” hostilities are likely, for 60 days without either a declaration of war by Congress or a specific congressional mandate.
Seriously, what a fucking joke. The War Powers Act doesn’t put any limits on the President’s ability to do anything. Bush was right: the congress is an impotent debating society whose only real function is to sit and roll over at El Presidente’s command. It exists to give the illusion that the “people’s interests” are represented in Washington, and it’s the same whether there’s a Republican or a Democrat in the white house. The only difference between Bush and Obama is that Bush was uncouth enough to say it in public.
Every time a US president visits his Chinese counterpart, or vice versa, there’s always the same tired chatter in the media about “human rights,” as in: “President Red White & Blue is expected to give a stern talking-to to President Red over his country’s human rights violations.” Alas, this time is no different:
The formal White House arrival ceremony – the 21-gun salute is reserved solely for visiting heads of state — was a display of pomp and circumstance that stood in stark contrast with the tough rhetoric the Obama administration is employing in its relationship with China on issues from trade to currency and human rights.
And indeed, Mr. Obama did not entirely abandon that rhetoric Wednesday morning. After promoting the virtues of Chinese and American cooperation, the president – the 2009 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize – used the ceremony to deliver a gentle reminder to China, which is holding the 2010 winner of the prize, Liu Xiaobo, as a political prisoner.
“We also know this,’’ the president said: “History shows that societies are more harmonious, nations are more successful and the world is more just when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being.’’
Ooh, boy. Watch out for that “tough rhetoric”! Of course, Hu could just as well have lectured Obama, and Shrub before him, about the human rights violations committed around the world by the United States on a daily basis, otherwise known as US foreign policy, but apparently Chinese politicians don’t have quite the same appetite for hypocrisy that American ones do. Not to mention that if Obama were really concerned about “the universal rights of every human being,” he might give a little shout-out to, in addition to the political prisoner du jour, the virtual slaves who toil their lives away in Chinese factories so Americans can stay awash in cheap consumer goods.
Our Nobel peace laureate comedian-in-chief delivered this knee-slapper, among other no doubt hilarious jokes, at the recent White House Correspondents’ dinner:
The Jonas Brothers are here; they’re out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans; but boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming. You think I’m joking?
As Roderick Long points out, this bears some resemblance to Obama’s chimplike predecessor’s attempt at humor when he pretended to look for the missing WMDs under the furniture in the Oval Office.
This reminds me of the scene in the movie Hearts and Minds in which footage of Richard Nixon doing schtick at some kind of formal affair is juxtaposed with a clip of a Vietnamese man anguishing over the deaths of his two young children who were killed by an American bomb. The man says, “What have I done to Richard Nixon?” Indeed. To Nixon’s credit, at least he didn’t make any jokes about indiscriminately bombing villagers in Vietnam—instead he tried to rationalize [a particular bombing raid apparently] with the “it was the hardest decision I had to make as president” line.
We’ve come a long way. Apparently there used to be some shame attached, at least publicly, to the practice of killing foreigners for no reason. Now we just laugh at it. Is this some of that change we can believe in?