Tag - obama

Breathtakingly Cynical – Obama’s New Proposal

In a breathtaking display of Cynicism, the Obama administration has announced a program to provide tax cuts for the “middle class,” and to increase taxes on the rich.

This is just a cynical political ploy to polish his appalling legacy, characterized by “Look forward, not backward” in prosecuting torture, kidnapping and illegal imprisonment, coupled with his outstanding lack of effort to remove the US “middle class” from under the health insurance industry’s boot.

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Inconvenient Questions

1. What’s the exit strategy? Is anyone discussing what that is? How do we get out? It’s simple to get in. Getting out is the hard part.

2. What are our political goals in Iraq in re: IS(IS)? What do we hope to achieve? And in what time frame? Will our means achieve the ends?

3. These are just some questions that President Hopey-McKill-List™ did not answer last night. He didn’t even come close to answering.

Color me curious.

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce

Karl Marx wasn’t wrong about everything.

Tonight, President Hopey-McChange goes on the television to attempt the following (as expressed by Chris Nelson):

The President goes on nation/world TV tonight in what’s being billed as an effort to rally the people, and our allies, to a robust, long-term, strategically and historically essential battle to the death against ISIS and its ilk.  

It’s neither essential strategically or essentially. Why? First, because ISIS can be contained. Second, because ISIS does not pose a threat to our vital national interests. Robust and Long-term? Those can’t mean anything other than wasted lives and treasure.


The only silver lining I can see to this is the following: by our obsessive focus on Iraq we can’t escalate against the Russians. Our military simply cannot do that much at one time and our allies in Europe won’t do it. So, there is that.

City by City, Town By Town in the Ukraine

The Guardian has a city by city guide of pro-Russian takeovers in the Ukraine, here.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainians “have a good message” for the diplomatic talks in Geneva. Yay! They have a good PR team. Such awesome:

“We are going to talk, and we probably will have a good message,” Mr. Deshchytsia said about consultations with Mr. Kerry.

In the same article, it appears as if Kerry and Lavrov while talking about substance, don’t have much of a desire to reach an agreement:

But the four-way meeting began with an enormous gap between the Ukrainian and Russian positions. Ukrainian officials planned to present their ideas on how to decentralize authority so that the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine would elect their own leaders and have more control over local budgets.

But Russia has advocated a far more extensive version of federalism, one that would make Ukraine’s eastern provinces largely autonomous regions that could wield veto power over national issues like foreign policy, in effect increasing Moscow’s influence.

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How’s That R2P Taste Now?

Look: innocent people are going to die. There will be more violence in the Ukraine. It could turn into a civil war. A portion of that blood will be on the hands of the regime running the Ukraine presently. Another portion of that blood will be on the hands of Vladimir Putin. And the last helping of blood will be on the hands of the United States of America in conjunction with its NATO allies.


Simple: we could prevent this. If Obama wanted peace in the Ukraine he’d send Kerry to Moscow today and tell him to get a deal done.

But that would require real concessions to Russia. Exceptional America doesn’t make concessions.

So, innocent people will die because Americans are exceptional.

How’s that R2P taste now?

America’s Grand Strategic Pathway to Catastrophe

This from my buddy Chuck Spinney, by way of prefatory remarks for this post by Yale’s David Bromwich, who has become Obama’s most eloquent and damning critic:

Future historians may well view the 25 year pattern of aggressive behaviour exhibited by the United States since the end of the Cold War to be acts of arrogant triumphalism aimed at humiliating the Russian remnants of its Cold War adversary.  Examples are overwhelming, including America’s promotion of (a) NATO expansion after promises to the contrary, (b) the wars of the Yugoslav succession culminating in the Kosovo War, (c) the neo-liberal looting of Russian state property during the Yeltsin regime, (d) the abrogation of the ABM treaty, (e) the unprovoked aggression in Iraq, (f) the unfocused whack-a-mole’ war on ‘terror’ in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, etc., (g) the of “colour revolutions” in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan (h) the war of ‘responsibility-to-protect’ humanitarian aggression in Libya, (i) the quasi alliance with and promotion of Jihadis in the murderous civil war in Syria in the name of regime change, and now (j) the tolerance of neo-fascist conspirators and provocateurs in the active promotion of regime change in Ukraine.

It now seems probable, perhaps inevitable, that a comparison of America’s behaviour with the disastrous triumphalism, vindictiveness, cynicism, and outright lying exhibited by the Allies during the 1919 Versailles ‘peace’ conference lies in the historical offing.

The basic goal of any sensible grand strategy should be to end conflict on terms that do not sow the seeds of future conflict. Yet the United States seems to be careening out of control in the opposite direction.

Barack Obama, a man who likes to compare himself to Abraham Lincoln (a man who understood the nature of a sensible grand strategy), promised to change America’s behaviour.  He came out of nowhere to win the presidential campaign of 2008 with soaring rhetoric centered on the now forgotten slogan: “change you can believe it.”  But as president, the mismatch between Mr. Obama’s words and deeds emerged to cement the status quo, including especially America’s grand-strategic march to disaster.

The attached essay by David Bromwich, a professor of literature at Yale, brilliantly analyzes the central role of Obama’s rhetoric plays perpetuating destructive grand-strategic policies of his three immediate predecessors.

Of course, Obama is merely a bit player in an ongoing drama: the roots of America’s grand strategic pathway to catastrophe reach deeper into the dim mists surrounding the origins of the Cold War and especially the domestic politics defense spending accompanying the rise of the Permanent War Economy that began 65 years ago. The habits and mores of the war economy are now deeply woven into our domestic politics. (See for example, my essay The Domestic Roots of Perpetual War)

Here’s the Browmwich essay link. Do read it in its entirety.  I have thoughts on how the United States morphed from a status quo power to one that is revolutionary, seeking to install or remake regimes across the globe in its image, but it’ll have to wait for another post.

Iraq Not As Bad As Crimea?

Look, I’m not a fan of RT. I was once asked to come on one of the shows and I politely declined, which might have been dumb, but I just had qualms about going onto a foreign propaganda outlet funded by a foreign government that is a rival of my own government to bash my own government. Call me old fashioned, but I’ll go on an American propaganda outlet or TV show any time and complain about the US government, but to do so on RT? That’s just in bad taste in my personal opinion.

All that being said, wow, I’m surprised Obama has stooped so low as to say that what we did in Iraq wasn’t as bad as what the Russians did in the Crimea. That’s just astonishing. Sometimes it’s just better to shut up and not say anything that to say something that baldfaced hypocritical. There are literally thousands of dead Iraqis blood on American hands. How many have died in Crimea? Really, sometimes it’s just better to shut the fuck up. In the annals of shitty justifications this one is pretty close to #1.

Why Was Obama Elected?

Stunning words (at minute 41:10): 

“I think Mr. Obama was the first American president elected by racists. Well meaning racists. People who would be appalled at that thought they were racists. People who went on marches against racism. But they elected him as racists because they looked at the color of his skin and said, “he’s black, he must be on the side of the poor and the blacks.” Why that’s judging someone by the color of their skin!”

Let me add: I think the speaker has the right of it, as well.

Let me also add one last thought: this is precisely why I loathe identity politics. It’s like herpes, the gift that keeps on giving. It keeps blacks, whites, liberals, progressives, women, Asians, Jews, poor, working class, Chicanos and every other possible minority group fighting each other for the meager spoils the elites dole out to them instead of uniting and taking (by force if necessary) what the elites have stolen from them.

By all means, stay stuck in victim politics. One thing is certain if you do: you’ll remain a victim.

Levers of Power

What levers of power will Washington and the EU agree to in punishing Russia for formally annexing the Crimea? Will they induce real pain? Or will they enact face saving measures and then go on with business as usual? Is this the end game for Putin and the West? Or is this just the opening gambit? What powers or levers can Putin utilize to fight back against the EU and Washington?

And where is the Ukraine in all this?

Genuine questions that I do not have the answers to.