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Will Obama Stay the Course?

Posted on Dec 2, 2008
Obama's defense team
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President-elect Barack Obama announces his national security team during a news conference in Chicago on Monday.

By Robert Scheer

I do so want to believe that Barack Obama is on the right track. His brain is big, his style fresh, his pronouncements both logical and compelling, and it does feel good to have a president-elect elicit universal respect rather than make the world cringe. Indeed, he’s downright inspiring when he defends constitutional restraint on the presidency and shuns torture. Bush is so yesterday, but imagine how panicked we would now be if John McCain and Sarah Palin were about to take a turn at the wheel.

Yet, it all does hang on him. Yes, Obama. The superstar, and not that supporting cast of retreads from a failed past that have popped up in his administration in the making. Now that we have the list of his top economic and foreign policy picks—mostly a collection of folks who wouldn’t know change if it slapped them upside the head—we’ve got to hope that it’s Obama who is using them, and not the other way around.

Maybe he picked a bunch of Wall Street insiders to send a comforting message to the financial community that he is turning to folks just like them to get us out of the mess that they created. So far, Wall Street hasn’t done anything to pay back the taxpayers for the upward-of-a-trillion dollars wasted on that bailout. The credit markets remain frozen, and these banking grinches are stealing Christmas by further cutting individuals’ credit lines.

If there is a grand arc to Obama’s appointments strategy, it seems aimed at providing the appearance of continuity on the part of a leader who still promises to be very different. Clearly that was the case in retaining Robert Gates as secretary of defense and retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones as his White House national security adviser. Both choices could have been far worse. Jones has been involved in the exercise of “soft power” initiatives and seems like an otherwise sensible fellow. Gates has been a vast improvement over Donald Rumsfeld in grasping the limits of military power.

Gates also dared challenge the military-industrial complex over egregious military spending on projects such as the $65 billion F-22 stealth fighter plane that was designed to penetrate Soviet air defenses that were never built and has yet to fly a combat sortie in either the Afghanistan or Iraq wars. That’s a start on cutting military spending, which under President Bush grew to be higher than at any time since World War II, exceeding the levels of both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Thanks to Bush, the United States now spends as much as all of the rest of the world’s nations combined to defeat an enemy armed with a weapons arsenal that, in the case of the 9/11 attacks, could have been purchased for a couple hundred bucks at Home Depot.


Square, Site wide

Unfortunately, on Monday Obama stuck with the absurd “war on terror” language he inherited from Bush in describing the attacks in Mumbai conducted by 10 lightly armed fanatics who should have been quickly dispatched by a well-functioning local paramilitary force. These terrorists did not, as available evidence would indicate, have anything to do with the Taliban or al-Qaida based in Afghanistan, where the United States continues to wage the good war, as opposed to the bad one in Iraq, that Obama invoked during the presidential campaign: “Afghanistan is where the war on terror began and where it must end.”

Both wars are bad in representing exactly the wrong way to deal with “terror,” which should properly be thought of as representing pathology to be excised with surgical precision rather than bludgeoned with conventional warfare, which only recruits new fanatics through the killing of innocent civilians.

Finally, the appointment of Hillary Rodham Clinton seems a good one. To paraphrase Obama’s remarks during the primary debates, Hillary is peaceable enough, and also has the smarts to make a fine secretary of state. Her more hawkish rhetorical side will be muted by the position’s obligation to emphasize diplomacy. My prediction is that she will leave her mark by exploiting her pro-Israel creds to complete President Bill Clinton’s once-promising Mideast peace initiatives to finally provide the Palestinians, and Israelis, with viable states.

The problem with Obama’s national security team is not that he has picked hawks whom he cannot control; they are all professionals, who took the job expecting to go along with his game plan. The danger here, as with his economic advisers, is only that Obama may stop being Obama, the agent of change who electrified a nation.

Robert Scheer is editor in chief of Truthdig and the author of a new book, “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America.”

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By Sepharad, December 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit—Hadn’t thought of it that way, but your analysis of why Republicans win so much is absolutely true. (An “Oooohhhhh, I get it” moment.)

I think we need to give Obama some time to implement whatever policies he’s going to—it’s early days. Probably some of his supporters will be disappointed because he did, if not in so many words, promise blinding, transcendant change—like so many Hasidics dancing and dancing, and while the dancing’s great, the Temple will never magically appear as a result of the dancing. And people who are dazzled and buy into these implicit promises are bound to be disappointed.

Many truthdiggers on this thread are saying that action must be taken for real change to occur, but no one is specifying exactly who needs to do what when to make it happen—probably because the answer is not entirely political, not entirely grass roots, but based on reality. Like continuing to depend on oil—though using it corrupts our Mideast policies and, more importantly, it’s killing us, changing the planet as we all sit here pattering on the keys. Obama is into coal—Illinois is a big coal producer—knowing that clean coal technology is too expensive for private companies to actually do it. Coal doesn’t damage our foreign policy but is just as efficient destroying the habitability of the planet for us and the millions of guiltless species trapped here with us. If we don’t stop with the oil and the coal, everything else is going to be moot. 

So one change it might be possible to press from grass roots level and through political channels is to support nationalizing (or majorly regulating) all energy industries, automobile makers, and imposing heavy, unbearable penalties on miscellaneous private industries that pollute the air and heat up the planet. This is a Wobbly-left progressive, self-interested issue that should attract wide support, even across party lines. Making a change at this level would be huge, and affect a host of other problems we have with foreign policy, class warfare and all the other stuff we talk about but don’t quite get where to start, and yammer at the pols when they aren’t going in a direction there has not been a mass movement to motivate them to consider. Obama, despite his big coal and investment banker funding, does have a mandate to press for just such large changes, hopefully he’ll get activist environmental scientists on his team and my hope is that his power literally goes to his head and he takes their recommendations and shoves them through Congress, who, always conscious of their next election, might be eager to establish a record to run on such as “I Saved Your and Your Children’s Lives”.

I’ve definitely not thought this through enough yet but that’s the gist of it. Things that are intuitive are the issues we can save ourselves on. (Like, don’t go shopping unless you really need something.) Oh—in Israel, I don’t think I saw a single SUV. Some pickup trucks driven by people obviously needing them—vets, farmers, carpenters etc. But mostly small, small, cars. That’s what not having any oil anywhere will do.

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By Muscleboy, December 4, 2008 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Evil vs Good

Folktruther I agree that these “Criminals” I referred to are evil.  I mean deep dark rotten antichrist monster-evil.  But at this point we have otherwise good congressmen like Nancy Pelosi working effectively as their minions.  So I wonder if we have any good guys left in our government?  It would have taken a truly good president to turn things around and I think if Obama doesn’t prove to be this man then we could likely be at a point of extreme danger and possibly even including losing our country.  They are emptying our treasury not just for now but for money we are borrowing.  They have gravely weakened our national security by radically decreasing the number of people in the world that hold the USA with high regard, in fact many are utterly disgusted with us.  The Internet succeeds here by letting people in the world know that we are not a monolithic society; that our government doesn’t fairly represent us—we are not evil like our so-called leaders are. 

On the point of Democracy.  We are a “Democratic Republic” and we are the government.  We elect people to represent us and serve.  We do not serve them.  We need to start by doing things like turning off Fox news and really all news except possibly DemocracyNow.  We can be our own news services now. Nancy Pelosi ignored the letter to Congress by 400 of the nations top economists warning that the bailout was a fraudulent activity and that the president could immediately solve the liquidity crisis in lending by tools he had available to him.  Pelosi ignored them completely—didn’t even acknowledge the letter.  She said the important thing was “oversight” but as congressman Issa said it was oversight without any means of control. In other words Pelosi used here power in Congress to give 700 billion more to the monstrous criminal George Bush with literally no restrictions.  Why does Congress have to beg Bush to set aside some of the money for GM?  Congress has the purse strings right? Well because like with the invasion of Iraq Congress gave over the authority to Bush that it Constitutionally has. I should say I believe Nancy Pelosi voted against the free pass to invade Iraq, a sign she is a good person.  But she also has voted to continue funding a war that the American people realize is a crime…

Sorry I went off on a tangent but yes I agree this is a very good against evil time we are in.  The trick is for good people not to fall for the deceptions.  We have a great country and can take power back from the dark side if we really want to.

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By Irene Diaz, December 4, 2008 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now that the big boob is leaving the White House, we should all stop using his phraseology.  He came up (or maybe one of his advisers—not much smarter than he) with “Stay the course.”  This is incorrect English.  Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the English language knows that when you “stay” something, you stop it—like when a governor issues a stay of execution.  What he meant to say, but did not have the words in his vocabulary, was “Stay on course.”

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By Randall Flag, December 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama will stay the course.  It doesn’t matter what Obama says.  The corporations pull the strings.  They paid for his campaign.  He’ll do exaclty what they say.  We’re doomed.

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By Xntrk, December 4, 2008 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pod, No, I didn’t know that! I guess they can add it to the list of broken laws after my name - Kind of like the promises politicians break, the list of crime I willingly commit only grows longer.

I keep waiting for the arrest and trial - that’s why I try to keep my membership in the ACLU current. Imagine the headlines:

71 Year old widow sentenced to ten years solitary confinement for refusing to shop! Threatens our entire economy, and the American Way of Life says un-named Government Spokesperson…

OOH! I can hardly wait!

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By Folktruther, December 4, 2008 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

Muscleboy, your post indicates a common reluctance of Amrericans to politicize power relations, to moralize the political and policialize the moral. 

It is quite true that the struggle is between criminals and decent people.  But they are POLITICAL criminals who identify with evil.  Leaders like Cheney or Rumsfield are not mistaken, stupid,or incompetent, as the mainstream left tends to categorize them.  They are MMORALLY EVIL, who identify with power to the point of mass murder, torture, institutionalized deceit and other forms of barbarism.

It is necessary to define the power struggle politically as a moral issue, a struggle between the population and an evil power structure.  Fake Progressives like Inherit want to restrict the struggle to the electoral process, where it doesn’t much matter policy-wise who wins, since both candidates support and are part of the power struture.  Elections are conservatizing institutions where you can choose the leader that will promote the policies that continue to oppress you.

To resist these policies, the population must mobilize to threaten power.  But a point comes historically where the power system is so rigid, corrupt, oppressive and obsolete that the power structure is trapped in a web of its own making. At this point there is only one historical solution.  And it is a political one.

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By abdo, December 4, 2008 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Obama is not a change, may be, but how much change is acceptable by the American people? When Obama was declared secret muslim, he defended himself as not being muslim at all ever, did he say being a muslim is not a contagious disease or satanic form of warship. Could Obama said, early in the race, what Colin Powell correctly said later, what is wrong with being muslim? When jeremiah Wright described the USA history correctly, he was declared a piranha. it all started by massive genocide of the native Americans,  followed by importing slaves, unknown millions of the died during capturing and transporting the goods, those who agree say I ?? Two hundred years of racist and xenophobic exploitation of black Hispanics, Chinese and new immigrants is the foundation of this nation. Global plunder from early on converted the nation to an Empire.  Of course that is the dark side of the USA history and all the nation states have dark history. Empires from the ancient Egyptian to Rome and Arabic to Western ones,  practiced slavery plundering and racism . Most historians, sadly hide or greatly white wash that violent past. 
Conservative as well as liberal voters, politicians, media outlets ...etc were outraged by this narrative, they all jumped on pastor wright “outrageous hate massage ” and obama tried to have a sensible dialogue about race and history, was about to lose his chance to be in the race and have to appease the mob and completely abandon reasonable dialog and swear alliance for flag country and the fallacy of the noble empire.  I Believe that was a major turn in Obama presentation, he realized the voter want change but do not want to look at them self and admit their short coming as a people and as a nation. It is along way to go, however electing a black man is a one step in a the 10 thousand mile trip of change.

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By Max Shields, December 4, 2008 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Winston Warfield well said!

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By Winston Warfield, December 4, 2008 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Both wars are bad in representing exactly the wrong way to deal with “terror,” which should properly be thought of as representing pathology to be excised with surgical precision rather than bludgeoned with conventional warfare, which only recruits new fanatics through the killing of innocent civilians.”
No Mr. Scheer, this is not the proper way to understand “terror”.  You make the same blunder that most “progressives” make - using words like “pathology”, which de-contextualizes terror, removing it from the forces and dynamics which create it.  This de-contextualization is crucial to empire’s ideological maintenance, making discussion of imperial and neoliberal policies and programs on the part of the U.S. and its allied governments off-limits, policies and programs which give rise to desperate military tactics.  “Terror”, which is a tactic by the poor to fight back, is their only weapon.  We use “terror” too, to traumatize and intimidate subject populations, whether by the drone-delivered Hellfire missile, or the “black room” electroshock torture chambers.  All is awful, by whatever side, but cannot be understood nor stopped when the “underlying cause” discussion is forbidden.  I was a soldier in another application of mass terror by the powerful against the poor in a place called Vietnam, so I know whereof I speak.

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By mud, December 4, 2008 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Keep on hoping Robert. But don’t fool yourself.

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By Fahrenheit 451, December 4, 2008 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

You know what?  Fuck the whole thing

Over and out, and I mean out!  Bye!

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By Little Brother, December 4, 2008 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Nice counterpoint, Max Shields!

ITW’s logic is endemic to “inside the duopoly” thinking, but it evokes G.K. Chesterton’s observation that “my country, right or wrong” is about the same as saying, “my mother, drunk or sober”.

Our Democrat, drunk or sober!

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By Back bencher, December 4, 2008 at 7:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


I believe you may be missing the point.  The Democratic party is simply the Republican’s “fall-back” position.

Few (if any) of the Democratic “losers” you mention would have changed history by a scance.

My favorite “left wing” statement was actually made by William Buckley after Jimmy Carter narrowly won the presicency from the temporary book-mark Gerald (only non-elected president) Ford Ford had pardoned RMN, and the Republican party was seen (widly) as a bunch of crooks, giving the inexperienced Jimmy (Peanut) Carter the White House. Buckley said “The Democrats have decemated Republican powerbases, and will probably hold power for 20 years. four years later in 1978, the Democrats lost three seats in the Senate, and the Republicans picked up three. four years after Buckley’s statement, Reagan smothered Carter in an electorical landslide taking a large majority of the States minus only Hawaii,Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, and West Virginia. The Republicans also took the Senate for the first time since Eisenhower unseating Senators: Birch Bayh Frank Church John Culver John A. Durkin Warren Magnuson George McGovern Robert Morgan Gaylord Nelson and Herman Talmadge.

Four years from now, who knows?  Only one thing is certain, the Corporate intrests will trump the people’s intrest….yet again.

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By Pod, December 4, 2008 at 7:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


I hope you realize that under the Patriot Act, you could be imprisoned as an “enemy combatant” for advocating a position that would have a negative effect on our economy. And I’m sure that some of the same Wimpocrats that gave Bush everything he wanted for eight years including the Patriot Act and will now become part of Obamas team would be happy to throw away the key after the cell door is shut.

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By Max Shields, December 4, 2008 at 5:54 am Link to this comment


I think you’re missing the point. It’s not about “the left”. It’s about the power structure that rules this empire.

There are people (call them left, independent progressives, what have you) who know that there is a fundamental central issue - the difference between the words in the Declaration of Independence and the actions this country regularly takes as an expansionist empire regardless of which party is in office. That is the crux of the issue. And of course Obama will not be different from Bush or Clinton, etc. regarding securing and protecting the fundamental foreign policies of holding on to the empire and expending where resources (human and natural) are viewed as “vital national interests.”

But what is interesting at this juncture is the fact that the Bush cabal and its “free market fundamentalist” while they seemed to have almost put the final nail in the coffin of deregulated free markets; along comes the Dems version of the same policies (with slight tactical differences). The Obama administration is a sign of 1) total dedication to endless (unsustainable toxic) growth and 2) the belief this “team” (the Clinton neoliberal team) can do a better job at free market than did Bush’s.

That is what we’re faced with. The good news is perhaps this folley will end as it will be illustrated that neither incompetency nor competency can make what has become a hideous imperial economic system work.

Those who want real change need to plan and act on it. That needs to happen locally. That is a big challenge in and of itself.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 4, 2008 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Look at the candidates the Dems put up since 1968!
Humphrey (Loser)
McGovern (Loser)
Carter (Winner)
Carter (Loser)
Mondale (Loser)
Dukakis (Loser)
Clinton (Winner)
Clinton (Winner)
Gore (Loser)
Kerry (Loser)
Obama (Winner)

After Carter, Clinton and now Obama were elected, the Left IMMEDIATELY fell on them to attack, attack, attack.

Now here’s the GOP since 1968:
Nixon (W)
Nixon (W)
Ford (L)
Reagan (W)
Reagan (W)
Bush 41 (W)
Bush 41 (L)
Dole (L)
Bush 43 (W)
Bush 43 (W)
McCain (L)

Yet when Nixon and Reagan and Bush41 and Bush43 came to power, the GOP rallied around them and protected—they had to have PROOF Nixon f’d up before they turned on him, and few turn on Reagan or even Bush 43 after YEARS of proof.

That’s why the GOP, despite its dangerous and destructive agendas win so much.  Only in 2006, when Howard Dean changed the agenda of Dems in elections did we start to see a change.  The “leaders” haven’t caught up with it yet.

And neither have Truthdiggers.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 4, 2008 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

In the last 40 years there have been 10 elections.  The results?  7 Republican victories, 5 Republican Presidents who served for 28 years.

Oppose that to 3 Democratic victories, 2 Democratic Presidents who served 12 years.

Why is this?  Look at this thread and the answer is obvious. Now, 2008, another Democrat has been elected and see what happens, as happened before:

When the Republicans LOSE, they devour each other and arrange the circular firing squad.  But when they win they gather around to support their President, no matter how much of an obvious nincompoop he is.

But when then Democrats WIN, they devour each other and arrange the circular firing squad and rather than rallying around their new President, they begin attacking him viciously, usually for not doing what he never said he would do.  But when they LOSE, they don’t fall on each other to devour and destroy the weak and ineffective, but lick their wounds and 4 years later do it all over again!

This thread and Scheer’s article are Exhibit A.

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By rbrooks, December 4, 2008 at 4:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d say it’s pretty clear that he has already stopped being “Obama.”

I admit that I voted for his brain, his style, and his pronouncements; but I’m getting the government of, by, and for the corporations that I thought I had voted against.

I guess it’s only decent to wait to see what he is able to do with the Clinton neocons he has returned to power.

But it’s hard not to speculate that he’s trying to stay alive, and that a neocon cabinet is the deal he had to make with the corporate establishment. Which is the REALLY terrifying scenario - the very likely possibility that meeting the corporate power structure well to the right of center will be the best he can do.

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By davidperi, December 4, 2008 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

Several times I have heard from Obama that (I) have a vision for change….that is one reason for the heavy weights around him.  But, what is his vision?  I would like to hear it for once and not the pundit, “For change.”

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By Jim Watt, December 3, 2008 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I enjoyed Robert Scheer’s essay and I also enjoyed the people who see him as a hopeless tool of the Imperial Wizards of Wall Street.  I know that a representative democracy is ALWAYS about maintaining the status quo and never about setting out for, let alone surveying, the Promised Land. But the ONLY reason to resist those who wish to replace the injustice[s] of the Imperial State with JUSTICE for all is the record of the Just.  It is miserable.  Worse, even, than Teddy Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson—both of whom were prevented from taking the U.S. into the promised land by the inherent suspicion of Americans for those who (like little Bush) imagine they are divinely guided. 

All I want from Obama is what my father got from Harry Truman—the pleasure of seeing those in power browning their underwear in fear and wondering how long before ‘the people’ started building guillotines. 

EVERY GOVERNMENT tends towards IMPERIALISM just like every business tends towards monopoly. But Americans just want to be left alone; only idiots and ideologues like Pat Buchanan and Noam Chomsky want to build a better (ie. more like themselves) world.  Left or Right, Right or Left the only good thing—as Lincoln noted—about this American experience is its rejection of certitude in favor of flexibility and its preference for results over promises.  If, that is, Obama delivers, we won’t give a flying #@%k how the package is wrapped.

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By Muscleboy, December 3, 2008 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

I don’t see it as progressive or conservative.  We now are living in a country that is hijacked by criminals almost everything in the “news” is a lie to one extent or the other.  These criminals use psychological operations and plain old marketing to deceive us.  McCain’s people used “racism” without saying the “n-word” themselves, painting Obama as a terrorist. In fact the neocons have used racism in their quest to pit the Western World against the, largely poor, Arabs, on behalf of Israeli interests, big oil and big defense.  The Pentagon predicts we will be doing this urban warfare a.k.a. Iraq invasion and occupation for a long time in other countries.  Translation: it’s the new money maker.  The new way to steal vast amounts of money from the American people, which is what all the Bush lies were about all the “war on terror” invasion of Iraq etc, is all about justifying the theft of vast amounts of the American people’s money.  But Obama was supposed to be one of us, a Decent person.  I’m still holding out some hope Hope that his transition team was hijacked by Criminals, in part, and hope that they fell for some misinformation on the part of the Bush team.

What I’m trying to say is it’s not progressives versus centrists like the psy-ops would have us believe.  It’s out right criminals vs. Decent people.  Like when Nancy Pelosi and George Bush stood side by side to scream for absolutely urgent 700-billion with so-called oversight that ended up being pseudo-oversight with no ability to control built in intentionally. In other words Bush and company could do pretty much what they wanted.  This was strongly decried by 400 of the nation’s top economists who said no such bailout was needed that in fact a bailout would be injurious to our economy—that George Bush had other tools at his disposal to intervene in the banking situation and stabilise things quite rapidly.  Tools available since President Jimmy Carter’s days.  This is an act of crime.  Pelosi worked for the banking crooks not for us, the Decent people even though on many other things she seems to be brilliantly fighting the good fight.  We the people were robbed again by a smiley faced friend. 

Now we the people are broke and discredited on a global basis the least Obama could have done was to pick a transition team that was clean of all this and an administration lead by people clean of all this so the educated Decent People of the USA and abroad can know with certainty change is actually going to happen.

Change will not come until we insist upon it. I don’t think we need a violent overthrow just yet as you seemed to say.  But we can be very close to violent in our insistence that changes, comprehensive and real, must be implemented.

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By Arius, December 3, 2008 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

Good Lord

and here’s a prime example of what I was just talking about!

this is ridiculous

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By Arius, December 3, 2008 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

“His brain is big, his style fresh,...”

What a load of horse shit. I couldn’t even read beyond that.

I’m sick of unprofessionl, biased, duped, so-called ‘media’ putting this guy on a pedestal he does not yet deserve to be on.

President Clinton released his grade records.

President Bush released his grade records.

Obama refused to release his grade records.

...and yet not that long ago some media-obama-whore was on MSNBC insisting that Obama was a genius and so much smarter than all the others.

Where’s the fucking proof?  I am so sick of the obama slobber coming from every media outlet I could puke.

All I want is real, unbiased news world wide and nationally, along with political news. Real, straight up, political news.

If I see one more commercial on cnn or msnbc telling me to buy a plate with The Chosen One’s face on it because he’s BLACK (with a full fledged 100% WHITE mother that no one wants to acknowledge), I’m going to break either my expensive tv or my remote when I throw it at the screen.

Our national media is pathetic-

my 2 cents.


A Liberal, who doesn’t have my tongue up Obambi’s ass.

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By Ed Harges, December 3, 2008 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

Good lord! 

Why does Robert Scheer hope that Hillary will “complete President Bill Clinton’s once-promising Mideast peace initiatives” — unless by “completing” them he means completely replacing them with something fundamentally better?

Under Bill Clinton, the negotiations were sabotaged from the start when the US secretly agreed to Dennis Ross’s “no surprises” condition: instead of acting as an honest broker, the US secretly ran all peace proposals past Israel first, and only presented for “negotiation” what Israel had already pre-approved.

The Palestinian negotiators of course could see plainly that the US was not negotiating in anything like an even-handed manner, and was in fact “acting as Israel’s lawyer”, as one participant put it.

And guess who has been serving as Barack Obama’s primary advisor on the Middle East during the campaign? Why, it’s that same Zionist pighead, Dennis Ross, of course. The world is Israel’s toilet, and we must take whatever sh*t they dump on us.

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By Folktruther, December 3, 2008 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

An increasing number of TD truthers are getting the idea. Obama is not about progressive change, he is about PREVENTING PROGRESSIVE CHANGE. His historical task is to consolidate the Bushite counter revolution.

As RvD put it, Obama’s political stance is not that Bushitism is morally and politially wrong, but that he didn’t manage it properly, which Obama is now going to do.  And this will increasingly be the stance of the Obama apologists.  That will include the economic Elitists, Dem party activists, Zionists, African-American bourgeois, and militarists. Under the rhetoric of Change.

It is necessary to form an ideological organization of some kind that opposes this fake Progressivism.  This is not easy to do historially. Even when the US power system is in its last years or decades.  But no progressive change is possible without such a militant organization.

Hope on the left is the equivelent of the Faith on the right.  The endtime of the power system is given religious guise on the right and the childish faith in the Rapture symbolizes it.  It has its counterpart in the delusive Hope of Obama. 

But if people are not to be seduced by delusive hope, they must be given reality-based hope.  And this includes solidarity of some kind becasuse the atomization and isolation of people make us afraid.

But a militant organization can only function effectively when the population supports it, and they will only do so if there is no hope in the current power structure.  In the US those that have no hope now become defeatist, and withdraw into their private worlds.  This withdrawal from the power process as Obama betrays his promises simply prolongs the historical agony of regime change.

And that is what the US needs: regime change.  Not the cosmetic change of the color of the faces pursuing imperialistic poloicies and class inequality, but real instituional change in the power system. But the present power structue being bankrupt isn’t enough to acheive it: we must have some consensus on what that change is and what it entails.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, December 3, 2008 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

You know what?  Obama can kompleat a setnesne.  Heez all reddy a weigh bettor POTUS than Bush. 

Let’s count hour blessings. 

Gawd bless Imeerika.

Oh, I forgot.  He’s already mentioned the poor and the middle class just about every time he opened his mouth.  Even “Liberry.”  The Bush yahoo didn’t even know those words existed. 

In the words of my hero, Yosemite Sam, “BACK OFF!”

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By Muscleboy, December 3, 2008 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

We keep hearing James Jones called “retired”.  He has worked virtually full time in the Bush administration for 8 years… a time when he served most of his substantive career.

Hillary moved more towards Aipac-speak in keeping with New York campaigning requirements, or so I felt. Well I hope she is pro USA and as such starts treating the Palestinians and their elected leaders as equals to the Israelis and that we immediately work to moderate the Israeli government including opening up the Gaza strip to full aid and press access. 

I certainly hope she doesn’t even consider adopting the flawed last minute President Bill Clinton plan as clearly it was rejected and should have been rejected by the Palestinians. 1967 green-line is the only and most minimal the Palestinians deserve.  Check sources like Israeli-Jewish run human rights group to discover the truth of this plan.  It would have left the occupied territories split into disconnected chunks with Israelis running the Palestine nation-state-chunks like they run the occupied territories: as if it were a concentration or prison camp, in no way would it have been a free nation. It would have been a recipe for disaster.  Two free strong nations embraced in trade and cooperation is the recipe for peace we all desire.

I think Hillary Clinton was the best choice for the job for many reasons and will represent us not AIPAC. We need many more outside of the crooked system people, a-politic.  We have many such people with the best intelligence and education imaginable.  Having worked in a US government post especially at an appointee level should almost be a disqualification.

The other choices Obama has made are not nearly so good especially when it comes to the Bush administration minions Robert Gates and James Jones.  If this is not a betrayal of everything he campaigned for I don’t know what is. It is a complete nightmare he has given us.  There is no reason he should have made those choices other than to bow to the criminals in banking and the defense industrial complex and essentially protect their interests at the expense of everyone else’s.  Stop playing the game and start making these public servants serve us.

In addition to betrayal of the people who voted for him he betrays the Democratic party.  We are at a time when people have realized the utter criminality that the Republicans have come to represent yet he says essentially that he must become more Republican.  If the Republicans had won the sweep we did they’d declare an end to the Democrats. He says there is no monopoly on truth by either party- essentially saying we have just one party like so many have warned.  The party we have really is the Republican thief party.  See when the democrats win they announce they must become more Republican and when the Republicans win anything they become more   Republican.  They say whatever it takes to get office.  Now we have Obama faithful calling us “anti-war left” “Liberals” etc etc.  I’m not classifiable I have pro-business and pro-environment qualities to my thinking like so many other Americans.  It’s just a big sick game and I thought Obama was here to end it.

I, like you, hope we’re wrong to be concerned.  But it doesn’t look like Obama even seems to give a hoot what we think. It’s all just spin made for digestion by the dummies.  He’s making empty almost Bush-like speeches now.  I think we should be worried.

Fact is he’s not even in office yet and I’ve gone from adoring him to being gravely concerned for the welfare of my country.  We cannot withstand this criminal bunch anymore.  They are destroying our country wholesale and mass murdering innocents on a global basis.

Could Gates and Jones be crypto-progressives?? Not Bush criminals working to steal from America? Daily they fought tooth against the Bush administration at every turn? That is ridiculous, hence we must call it as it seems. Stop pretending.

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By TAO Walker, December 3, 2008 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

What emerges from both Robert Scheer’s article and most of the responses to it here is a stark picture of all-concerned caught-up inextricably in an ideological/institutional/technological “process” over which they none of ‘em (from POTUS to street person) has any effective “control” at all.  What’s more, from here in Indian Country it’s plain to see that’s maybe the one thing you’re all getting right….about the condition your condition is in here in these latter days.

This contraption you like to call “civilization” is indeed shaking itself to-pieces, as its fundamental contradictions and imbalances get amplified geometrically by all the UN-natural “male enhancement” so slap-happily built into over five or six hundred generations.  So anyone fool enough to expect some mere “product” of the thing (like a Barack Obama, f’r instance) to come-up with some “miracle cure” for its burgeoning failures, will likely deserve the immense disappointment they’re setting their self up for….along with consequences even more severe and devastating.

On the other hand, we all of us have some “say” over how we face what comes our way.  As ersatz “individuals” humans are totally fucked….the prey-of-choice for those gangsters who will be trying to “profit” from the disasters they’ve engineered right to the bitter end.  Together in the Tioshpaye Way, though, Human Beings are actually quite capable of living through this time of “global” upheaval and being all the wiser and stronger for it coming out the other side.

Domesticated peoples are badly handicapped in this regard, it is only fair to acknowledge.  Their “brains” have been programmed to reject as “impractical” communal effort toward the mutually beneficial.  In their artificial “world” of each-against-all, knee-jerk reactions have them reflexively suspicious of their (in the immortal words of John McCain) “....fellow (and gal?) prisoners.” 

In their favor here, however, and despite all appearances, the collapse of the house-of-cards “individualism” has trapped them in offers the best chance of their being (in the words of McCains “winning” opponent) “....jolt(ed)” out of their mostly self-medicated stupor….and back into some at-least germinal awareness of the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself, which has gone beautifully along while they themselves took (or got taken) on what was always meant (but not ever beleved by the “passengers”)to be a one-way ride to “nowhere.”  Could be one of those “blessings in disquise” we hear so much about.

Count ‘em, Sisters and Brothers.


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By troublesum, December 3, 2008 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

It is obnoxious for the Obamaphiles who post here to try and tell us that all he really meant by his campaign slogan of change was that he was going to put republicans in his administration.  It’s quite a precedent for a PE to renege on his campaign promises before he even takes office.  Clinton waited until his SOTU speech in January 1995 to tell us that he was a republican: “The era of big government is over.  Government will no longer have a signifigant role is solving our problems.”  Of course he didn’t mean wall street’s problems.

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By Sepharad, December 3, 2008 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So far only Jim Bob and coloradokarl have made sense. It’s really too soon to judge Obama (who, by the way, wasn’t my first choice but he’s smart and well-intentioned). He needs people strong-minded, beyond bright and connected enough to implement his policies, and you can be assured that he’s made it clear to them that after all the internal debates it will be HIS policies that will be implemented. (Get out of line and Rahm Emanuel will kill them.) If he’d chosen a bunch of worshipful yes-persons he’d never learn anything he doesn’t already know, and would be unable to exert the influence guys like Jones can on powerful, less-than-tractable groups. Besides. Did anyone really think he meant EVERYTHING he said about change? I could be wrong, but we may indeed have just the President we need, despite all the idiots who voted for his charm, color and charisma. And I think he’s already getting around to helping the middle/poor/working classes by expediting money directly to the states.  If nothing else, isn’t it great to not be ashamed of your President? Time enough to criticize after he’s in office and doing things; gee you guys are impatient.

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By KDelphi, December 3, 2008 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Max Shields-Yes, it bothers me even more , that the GOP, for the most part, really LIKE thsee picks! That may not be the most intelligent way of me deciding it…but, honestly, given a moderate GOP or a Blue Dog—-which would you choose?

Yes, tortured, circular logic is the phrase I was searching for. Or folie a’imposse’.

coloradokarl—That is what I am afraid of—it takes cahunnes to “invest…for a generation”, instead of a short term “stimulus”, or more TAX CUTS(the answer to everything!). But, Obama’s picks so far show very little in the way of…that.

Kashilinus—Yes, but, what concerns me more, is NOT that you CANT fight a war, if there is no one to surrender, but that you CAN—-and cannot stop!!

Yes, here come the “terrorists” and “enemy combatants”, walking out with their hands up…here we are signing a “peace treaty”...never gonna happen, folks..

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By vigdor, December 3, 2008 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

“Now that we have the list of his top economic and foreign policy picks—mostly a collection of folks who wouldn’t know change if it slapped them upside the head—we’ve got to hope that it’s Obama who is using them, and not the other way around.”  Hope in the face of contrary experience about Obama’s values, sustaining the status quo, discloses paralysis, the inability or unwillingness to change.  The future cannot be built on the past.

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By Justmiming, December 3, 2008 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bob, At the end of the Clinton administration there was a hurried effort to leave a mark by bringing peace to Palestine and Israel. Bill Clinton’s team (Dennis Ross et al) of peace negotiators were all AIPAC approved. They still had to clear any negotiations with the Israelis first before presenting it onto the table. This isn’t a way to establish any lasting peace. Do you really think that AIPAC would condone Hillary bringing Hamas ( who won the natioanl elections) into the negotiations? The Israelis have destroyed any chance of a viable two state solution. The illegal walls and settlements continue unabated. If there is any hope, it is to establish a single state solution that would end the apartheid system presently in place. We know that isn’t going to happen by US design. Hillary will depend on the same zionists the Clintons used before to shape diplomacy and any peace negotiations in the region. Hillary is not change I can believe in, especially when it comes to Israel.
Heck, the US really is not the proper agent to affect real peace there, anyway. If only I could share your optimism.

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By Xntrk, December 3, 2008 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment
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Folktruther: Guess what you mean to say is “Don’t mourn boys, Organize!” to quote Joe Hill.

That presents problems considering the militaristic organization of the national, state and local governments. I think all of us are aware of how isolated we are as individuals, and how helpless we are if State Power is unleashed against us. Tazers? No-Fly lists? eavesdripping on supposedly private conversations? Secret warrants and wiretaps? Federal troops for ‘crowd control?

Even writing this stuff down in a list form drains the fight out of most of us. The odds of 20 survivors of a shipwreck [the Granma in 1957] actually staging a successful Revolution today is a joke!

But, we actually have the power we need, because we control the purse strings.

Think about it: After every disaster, they urge us to go shopping and fatten their bottom line. Let’s ‘Say NO!’

Not no to a few things at a time, but to enough things that it gets noticed. Not buying Green Grapes eventually got Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers recognition and signed, contracts.

Perhaps rolling boycotts: Public Transit one day [overload the freeways] Groceries the next, No beer on Wednesdays. No personal hygiene on Saturdays etc. If we don’t turn off the person with a family and limited time and money, and get them to sign up for even part of the action, and, if we were patient, it might accomplish something.

Rome wasn’t built in a day; Nor was the Revolutionary War won over night. But hitting them in the pocket book, and using the web to organize might bring about the change we need.

Especially the money. Look at the media frenzy promoting ‘Black Friday” All those advertisements and news articles and extra shopping sections and programs.

Think about it…

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By John Lowell, December 3, 2008 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is gratifying is that so many here realize that they’ve been had by this bozo. With every step he took through the campaign, Obama made clear to the interests that run our poltical system, whether it was at the AIPAC summit in June, or on the floor of the Senate with his FISA vote, that he was for sale and simply not a threat to business as usual. What is not so gratifying is how tentative about his grasp of these fact Bob Sheer is. Deep inside, Sheer still wants to believe the brand Obama sought so skillfully to project during his campaign. Sheer, therefor, IS the problem. Obama must be called what he is, an opportunist and a poseur.

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By cbgg, December 3, 2008 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment
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“It was all along a quasi-mystical faith in a new political messiah that has many of the same trappings of irrational belief so often snidely derided in the Christian right or Muslim militants by these same ‘progressive’ Obama true believers.”

This fake-o garbage about Obama being a “new messiah” really makes me laugh.  The actual “new messiah” is the one that the righties have been worshiping for decades, so much so that each republican leader that comes along pretty much tries to claim he’s his reincarnation - That glad-handing, grinning idiot Ronald Reagan!

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By cbgg, December 3, 2008 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“...10 lightly armed fanatics who should have been quickly dispatched by a well-functioning local paramilitary force.”

What?  Who said that?  If some fanatic got an assault rifle from a gun show and took it to a crowded mall and started spraying bullets, he’d be sure to kill at least a hundred people or more with no trouble.  How could a local paramilitary force prevent that?

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By JSD, December 3, 2008 at 11:45 am Link to this comment
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“...muted by the position’s obligation…” This is the phrase that I choose to emphasize from Robert Scheer’s essay. Whoever Barack Obama really is, and, I cannot say that I know; a picture of the man is still emerging: careful, intelligent, thorough, professional, composed, etc. Right now, he and we all are in a tough spot, and reassurance, inspiring confidence, etc. are top priority. He is “...muted by the position’s obligation…” if, in fact, he would like to promote more progressive change, his obligations are what they are, and he really has to tread carefully.

So, caution and consensus are the guiding imperatives right now. We’re not likely to know the real Barack Obama for some time.

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By Max Shields, December 3, 2008 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

First, let’s keep this in mind. We simply must not lose sight of US history and what this nation-state is. It is an imperial empire. It will not change because a new president presides. The POTUS is there to preserve the status quo. The competency with which her or she does that is all that matters to the plutocracy which has vetted and given US citizens a choice of which plutocratic representative will be your president/commander-in-chief. The last guy was pretty much incompetent. They hope this guy will do better.

That’s the story. Obama is not about real change because he is the POTUS. The only change you’ll see is an attempt to clean up the mess and keep the invasions small and quick. The deaths and occupations will continue. They may not be on the scale (in terms of massive turmoil like Iraq).

Obama will realize that keeping the lid on is no easy task, because he is on the other side of empire. US empire is unraveling and neither he nor his humpty dumpty men/women have the capacity to put it back together again.

So, I agree with most here that Obama (and who ever sits in the White House) is a waste of time in terms of real change. They do not have anything even remotely in mind whens they use that word and the use of it by progressives.

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By josgog, December 3, 2008 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real Obama = the Puppet POTUS or THE BIG MOUTH?  I.e., is he a figure head president or a fraud.  I don’t see any other possibilities.

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By mill, December 3, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Mr. Sheer wrote:

“Yet, it all does hang on him.”

If so, then we are truly lost.  It takes more than 1 person to fix all that is crazy about our national direction

We all ought to think what we each need to do differently and better ... and hope that, with Obama’s leadersihp,  we’re all pulling more in the same positive direction. 

But it’s about what WE do ... We, the People .... not what any one leader -great or not- is about

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By Shift, December 3, 2008 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

Obama does not speak the language of change.  When did he speak of the importance of decentralization, or of the architecture or dynamics of change, or of the importance of fluid and changing visions, or of the methodologies of making order out of chaos, or of the need to engage creative talent, or of the consequences of poor decision making in hyper culture. 

Obama’s view of change is very limited and appears to be rooted in the old centralized top down architecture of management and control of the last century.  The Eighteenth Century architecture of Congress is poorly suited for decision making in an environment of hyper change.  The proof is in the failure of Congress.  Congress has failed to successfully address the pace of contemporary change both domestically and internationally, and it shows.  Congress has broken down and can not even manage to feed the hungry in America. 

Obama is not prepared to confront the rapid fire change of today successfully because one man, the decider, cannot make correct decisions quickly enough and implement them fast enough to compete in a world that is for the first time in history, all changing at once.  Add to that his selection of twientieth century top down thinkers to his cabinet and the pace of failure will increase. 

Until the architecture of change and creative professional talent is adopted Obama will continue to fail. 

He is attempting to garner information in a decentralized manner from the public via his web presence; however, he is filtering it through an extremely narrow centralized decision making structure named Tom Daschle.  The idea is good but the architecture of decision making is flawed.  So the effort to utilize the widest views possible, a good idea, is deeply limited. 

So if the decider does not know and is not fluent in the language of change can we expect much success? Obama’s narrow perspective may be an improvement over Bush but will not serve him efficiently.  We will pay the price.

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By RdV, December 3, 2008 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

It is as if Obama wants to do a better job of being Bush—to make Bush failures his successes. The underlying message isn’t that the Bush administration was wrong on any level, rather that they botched up everything and Obama’s change is all about showing how he can triumph over Bush playing the same game—not that the game is the failure.

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By Doug Tarnopol, December 3, 2008 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

Folktruther: Exactly right, especially the last point, which is the important one. We should not care at all what we’d like to think Obama (or any other politician) believes, let alone “represents”—which is truly postmodern bullshit at its most exquisite. We should assume future behavior will match the structure of power, and the personal record, recognizing that progressives have always had to struggle hard in this country (and everywhere), and spend our time organizing to force change rather than hoping Daddy Leader will bequeath it to us. Which is why Bob would better serve us writing about how to force the change most effectively not reading half-imagined tea leaves to see whether they still point left.

In other words: remain agnostic as to what Obama “is” or “thinks”—left, right, or nothing—and act accordingly. This vaunted “window” that Obama’s election supposedly represents is fast closing…and all the while most progressive journalists and pundits are wasting time on Kremlinology rather than mobilizing progressives to force change no matter what anyone in the administration wants.

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By mick, December 3, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please cite the sources that enables you to make the statement that Obama has ‘universal respect’.

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By Folktruther, December 3, 2008 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Who are we kidding.  Scheer is speaking to the Obama-ites who prefer to believe what they WANT to be true rather than the reality based truth.  Obama-ites want Obama to change the political trajectory of the Bushite counterrevolution in a more progressive and hopeful direction.  And so does Scheer and so do I.

He obviously isn’t going to do it.  His appointments of hawks in the key policy positions indicate that he is going to continue the endlessw War On Terrorism, the fraudulent justification for military imperialism.  Which means there will be no money to spend on people issues.

So the American population is being included in the suspected Terrorists, and the spying, torture, arbitrary imprisonment, conrcion, and overflowing prisons will be continued.  By the militarized police, mercenaries and US military used on the American population.  So far there are twenty thousand troops stationed in the US being trained in ‘crowd control.’

They will be needed because Obama, as signaled by his appointment of Rubinite neoliberals to financial positions, is pursuing Bushite unregulated globalization.  Which continues the increase in class inequality.  The increase in financial inseucrity for the population requires increased military security for the power structure. 

The Security team Obama presented as the first public presentation of his appoinments are there to defend the Security of the American power structure, not the security of the American population.

Obama has gone to the right of Clnton’s presidency beause the power structure consensus has gone to the right.  The population consensus is well to the left but is devoid of institutional power.  So, like Bush, Obama is catering to the Haves and Have Mores to retain the money, media, organization to win his second term of office.

The sooner progressives get over what they WANT to believe and accept the reality-based truth, that Obama is putting a black face on Bushite policies, the sooner we will get organized to resist them.

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By Kashilinus, December 3, 2008 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
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It’s troubling that Obama has not yet discovered that the terrorist phenomenon is an area for police action. Military action only exacerbates the problem, as we have ruefully learned in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can’t fight a war when there is no one to surrender. The answer clearly lies in coordinated intelligence among nations and appropriate police action. It’s exasperating that there are people who secretly love wars, the more so because they are in positions of power. A military budget heading toward a trillion dollars a year when the biggest threat is a motley assemblage of bad guys that can’t possibly be corraled by armies. I have high hopes for Obama as president but think he is dead wrong on Afghanistan, and is wobbling on getting out of Iraq.

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By michae roloff, December 3, 2008 at 10:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

in trying to trap the president elect in what was his campaign rhetoric! He himself laughed that off when reporters sought to get him and Hilary into a contre-temps at the last press conference. He does have a nice touch, and he is articulate, but actions speak louder than words, and so far the appointments spell continuity. He was even planning to keep Brennan as head of the CIA, a chap who was George “Slam Dunk” Tenant’s right hand man, and who claimed that internally he had opposed the infamous harh measures: if you really oppose the inhumane criminal acts, you resign and go public! I’d make a bet right now, even odds, that A’stan will be Obama’s undoing as Iraq was Bush’s, or that the Neo-Con’s manage to reassert themselves in the Iran quagmire. Let’s see what kind of talking is done there, and whether it is serious or just make believe, as cover for an attack. Obama was elected also with huge amounts of Wall Street money, why pick an old crew to dance new tricks for you???

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By Pope Vallely Boy, December 3, 2008 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You should not feel obligated to process words every day.  I don’t see the point of all this endless speculation….will he? ...has she?  Give it a rest, please!!

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By P. T., December 3, 2008 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Part of the danger is that Barack Obama, who does not have a lot of experience, will be getting advice from people who have the same old way of thinking.

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By Max Shields, December 3, 2008 at 7:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Robert Scheer
Your writing is visceral and not tuned to reality. It’s based on wild swings of Obama “has gone to the right than maybe he’s really a brillian strategist”, etc. etc. etc.

You miss the point entirely. Here’s US history 101: The US Empire is in full control. The plutocrats have vetted the candidate who would be “king” ah..ah President. He will preside over the world leading hegemonic imperialist empire, the greatest aggressor the world has ever known with an atomic arsenal greater than all others and an military superior in what it costs the rest of the world combined.

We have occupations (some 700+ hundred bases) not to mention the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are not going away. The people around Obama are all have neoliberal credentials and many actually set up the so-called financial melt-down we see today.

This is an Empire, Mr. Scheer and that is both the beginning and ending of this story. Now we can have an empire that seems to be incompetent or one that is competent at what it does - regardless expect more and more blood on our collective hands, with the new Commander In Chief.

That story doesn’t change just because you get a back and forth change of heart.

Keep this squarely in mind - the republicans love his picks as does one Joseph I. Lieberman.

Point - we need to get unravel the empire. Obama will do what he can to secure it.

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By coloradokarl, December 3, 2008 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

Dear Barack Obama, It’s all about JOBS !!! Charity begins at home, let’s get our house in order before we try to “Save the World”. This financial mess we are is a golden opportunity for someone. Will it be the American middle class? I challenge you, Barack, help us and help yourself. Your Equation will include   =$1 trillion, your job is to guide Congress in this monumental balancing act. I suggest something like: $200 billion (small business start up (green))+$10 Billion (business planners/accountants)+$50 billion (education) Etc.,etc.. See where I’m going with this, Barack? This is an Investment that will be payed back for generations. Green is the color of Money. Pork (infrastructure) is a high energy quick fix that leaves one hungry for more. Small business is a fertile garden.

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By Rosemary Molloy, December 3, 2008 at 5:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re prole’s comment:  ditto.

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By Doug Tarnopol, December 3, 2008 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

Was Obama ever the Obama you take him for—the agent of change? There are a lot of tortured logic here; mostly projection, actually. And I’m already tired of the only thing Obama supporters, thus far, have going for them: 1. He’s not Bush (though he’s clearly continuing much, if not all, of the second Bush admin’s foreign policy, and probably domestic, too). 2. He’s not McCain/Palin.

I assume McCain was lying through his teeth as much as Obama, but possible-world counterfactuals prove nothing. The relevant comparison is Obama-as-campaigner vs. Obama-as-governer. Or rhetoric vs. reality. On that score, the contrast is stark, if unsurprising.

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By Purple Girl, December 3, 2008 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

I am most interested in what he will do as the AG.Will he be instructed to investigate ANY of the Crimes committed by this current Admin? Will He aim high, or merely go for the Low hanging Fruit and call it good.
As with the AbuGhraib situation, Justice only went up two rungs on the ladder of Criminality. Frankly I could have cared less about the PVT’s or other staff who were Ordered to carry out such heinous methods….I Wanted Rummy and His Dark Master Cheney. Cheney basically confessed that he was willing to go to the ‘Dark Side’ ie Torture, Extraordinary Rendition, Black Prisons.- War Crimes. Just as indictive as his response to the fact the majority of Ameircans Wanted Out of Iraq..“So”- another Confession, but of Treason. FYI to Cheney, You are the VP of a DEMOCRATIC Nation…A respsonse such as ‘So’ when it comes to serving the wishes and demands of that public DOES equate to Treason.
I am aware of a legal suit in progress for Documentation from the WH to prove Criminality,WHY? Is not the sequence of Events, video’ed interviews filled with Propaganda and lies along with such statements as ‘so’ not Evidential enough?
No doubt the Economy is first and Foremost on the list of things to be addressed, then the Two Illegal invasions to Uncluster..But Justice for Americans and our Global Neighbors Must also be Top of the list. It’s not the fact that if Swept under the Rug (again- Watergate, iran Contra) we will be setting ourselves for Worse atrocities in future Admins, it’s that the World will Know that heinous crimes will be committed again by the US and Nothing will be done to stop it,either.
I not only want him to go after the Big Fish for the crimes surrounding the M.E. Invasions, but also those crimes committed against Our constitutional rights and Freedoms.
We Will Ultimately get ourselves out of this recession and out of both Illegal Wars, but will we ever once again be considered the Shining Beacon of Hope for Humanity…Not if we fail to hold High crimes Criminals accoutnable for their Crimes against humanity.
We are a productive and innovative people- the economy will come back from Our Fortitude. Both Wars will end, if for no other reason we’ll cut off the monetary spiket (intentionally or out of pure Debt considerations), But what will define the integrity of the Obama Admin WILL be the steps they take to Seek Justice for US,proving we are a people who do not let tyrannts and blood thirsty imperialists get away with Murder. Failure to Prosecute these High Level Criminals will re inforce the misconceptions about Americans,and thus the Terror attacks will begin to be ‘soft targets’,not just the Buildings which house the MIC (WTC,Pentagon,WH).The Reason that AQ picked those Targets, instead of malls, amusement parks or subways is testiment that they realize it has not been US who have committed such crimes against their nations nor their people.
What most people are still unaware of is the History between the Bin laden and Saddam and those in high office and industry during the ‘80’s.Money and Weapons were sent over covertly to both the ‘Afghani Freedom Fighter’ and Saddam during that time.What vendatta was AQ fulfilling on 9/11 against the MIC- I have no doubt there was some dirty deals which were renegged on by some in the ‘80’s and once again found a way to regain power in ‘00….Common Strings, Cheney,Rumsfeld (WH,Pentagon).
Holden has about 30 years of crimes to investigate and prosecute JUST on these Two alone- plenty of high crimes to pick from to Hang Both!

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By Barry R. Nicholson, December 3, 2008 at 3:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hope IS NOT a Plan of Action/Possum Obama/Bailout Numbers Keep Going Through the Roof!

Robert Scheer’s article alluding to a possible “Possum” Obama and hope for real meaningful change suggests this time instead of King George we might receive the King of Hearts.

Furthermore and more specifically and comparatively, “the bailout/thievery commitments that the financial oligarchs have so far managed to get the U.S. government to go along with, now total something on the order of $8.5 trillion, according to Bloomberg News. To get some idea of what that adds up to, in doing research for his ``Bailout Nation’’ book, Barry Ritholz calculated, using inflation adjusted figures, that it is greater than the cost of the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase, the race to the Moon, the S&L;Crisis, the Korean War, the New Deal, the invasion of Iraq, the Vietnam War, and NASA—combined. Combined, those total just under $4 trillion.

The only American historical event that comes anywhere near the bailout commitments was World War II, at $3.6 trillion. Still less than half of the current thievery”[and when combined with the other former U.S. government bailout commitments still total less than the current 8.5 trillion bailout!]

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prole's avatar

By prole, December 3, 2008 at 3:06 am Link to this comment

Which nation is it that Obama allegedly “electrified”? 70% of the jaded electorate of this dusky nation did NOT vote for him. Mainly, it seems, he flipped the switch of those who did so want to believe and even today, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still “do so want to believe that Barack Obama is on the right track.” The will to believe is not easily effaced. William James should have lived so long as to see this latest secular excrescence of it. It was all along a quasi-mystical faith in a new political messiah that has many of the same trappings of irrational belief so often snidely derided in the Christian right or Muslim militants by these same ‘progressive’ Obama true believers. And it’s every bit as frightening and inexplicable. Know ye therefore, “it all does hang on him.” Yes, him! “Obama. The man. The superstar, and not that supporting cast”...The Word made flesh! So we’re reduced to this, “we’ve got to hope that it’s Obama who is using them, and not the other way around.” The true meaning of that banal campaign mantra of “hope” ...frail, unquestioning, supplicating hope in Barack the Obama, the Way and the Truth descended unto you from on high, now becomes apparent - and even consoling, in the enveloping gloam of the “retread” staff appointments. “Maybe he picked a bunch of Wall Street insiders to send a comforting message to the financial community that Obama was turning to folks just like them to get us out of the mess that they created. So far, Wall Street hasn’t done anything to pay back”... and maybe there’s a big rock candy mountain in your backyard! Maybe, maybe, maybe… no the wrenching truth is just too awful to contemplate. Quick, let’s invent some more soothing myths…ummm, how about, “the appointment of Hillary Rodham Clinton seems a good one…Hillary is peaceable enough, and also has the smarts to make a fine secretary of state. Her more hawkish rhetorical side will be muted by the position’s obligation to emphasize diplomacy.” Never mind how “muted” she was in her diplomatic silent support for her hubby’s genocidal sanctions against Iraq that probably murdered as many Iraqis as Bush’s latest invasion - which she also firmly supported. And as if that’s not enough “good” about her, don’t forget her impeccable “pro-Israel creds”! “The problem with Obama’s national security team is not that he has picked hawks who he cannot control; they are all professional [killers], who took the job expecting to go along with his game plan. The danger here” his game plan. “As with his economic advisers” the danger is only that Obama may not stop being Obama, the false messiah of change who short-circuited 70% of the nation - and threatens to electrocute much of the rest of the world.

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By JimBob, December 3, 2008 at 1:40 am Link to this comment

I love you, Bob, but shut the hell up.  You’re acting like the guy who sees the water doesn’t come up to the lip of the glass and complains that it’s a teaspoon short.

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