Monday, January 21, 2013

Obama Inaugurated for Second Term — Big, Fat, Hairy Deal

Economist and New York Times essayist Paul Krugman today suggests that progressives take a break from our "anxiety" and take some solace in the few, modest accomplishments of the Obama administration.


I'm unclear whether Paul Krugman thinks Obama's 'accomplishments' are a "Big (so what!) Deal" or a "Big (wow . . . almost) Deal." And "anxiety" is an interesting choice of words — just that little bit demeaning, disparaging. 

As for the substance of Krugman's claims:

Nobody disputes that inequality in the US will continue to grow (with Obama and most Democrats seeming to embrace that, modest palaver to the contrary notwithstanding), and social mobility will continue to decline. 

We'll see whether health care in the US improves. Massachusetts is more of a mixed story than Obama-supporters will admit. Insurers got everything they demanded from Obama. 

As for financial reform, Wall Street is just as petulant as the NRA — and more powerful. Ninety-nine percent of American revile Wall Street, yet the oligarchs still get most of what they demanded. But they are spoilt brats. Unless they get 110 percent of their demands they whine about how hard-done-to they are.

Unmentioned are any international issues. The world has learned that Obama is as bad or worse than Bush: drone strikes; assassinations (including of American citizens); uninterrupted funding for Israeli occupation; denial of due process for all accused to terrorism; a different and poorer standard of justice for Muslims and Arabs; vicious and unprecedented abuse of whistleblowers and activists for openness (most recently, Aaron Swartz). And nothing at all on climate change

Sorry, I'm not going to take a break. And it's not anxiety. It's fury.

1 comment:

Hugh Sansom said...

Juan Cole has also decided today is the day to heap praise on Obama:

I reply:

And . . .

1. Obama has used the 1917 Espionage Act more than all previous presidents combined to abuse and persecute whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and John Kiriakou.

2. In health care reform, he gave insurers _everything_ they demanded while excluding single-payer advocates from the discussion altogether.

3. Economic inequality continues to grow rapidly while social mobility suffers.

4. Despite token Wall Street/finance reforms, nothing has stopped or even slowed Wall Street in its race to a new bubble. Obama has repeatedly surrounded himself with idolaters of Wall Street.

5. Obama has asserted the right to use drones anywhere, and has excused, ignored, or concealed American killings of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere.

6. Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens.

7. He has failed to close Guantanamo. Despite claims of ending torture, his administration tortured Bradley Manning and there are numerous reports of torture continuing at Bagram airbase. His "ending" of torture seems more like a redefinition.

8. Obama showed every indication of personally opposing the CFPB (as he personally opposed Elizabeth Warren), but he found himself confronted with a majority in the US population that expected him to stand by at least _some_ of his rhetoric.

9. His administration continued the Bush rush to bailout Wall Street, but four years later, the vast majority of those directly mauled by the banks in the foreclosure crisis have seen _no_ assistance of any kind.

10. Whatever his personal thinking about Israeli occupation and right-wing Israeli war criminals, Obama has continued to fund Israeli atrocities in the West Bank and Gaza.

11. On climate change, Obama has been as bad in action as any Republican. It seems clear that, like the oligarchs he serves, Obama feels safe in the conviction that, no matter what happens, the US government will be able to extract from the average American whatever is needed to keep the 0.1 percent safe from any and all negative outcomes of their crimes.