Comments: State of the Illusion

That *temptation* is called faith-based politics.

What happened to his old hobbyhorses, Change & Bipartisanship? Even he now sees those nags are corpses.

So, he steals a little from Occupy (we need a "fair" economic system) and a little from the Tea Party (we need "no handouts").

Who could trust him? We don't wanna know!

Posted by Mang at January 25, 2012 01:26 PM

maybe the least worst enemy- president romney would stomp on workers rights and president gingrich would stomp on sick wives

Posted by frankenduf at January 25, 2012 01:51 PM

Goebbels (NAZI minister of propaganda) wrote and said that he learned his trade from an American propagandist who is not well known, even though he was the nephew of Freud.

Like that propagandist, those who pull the strings of American presidents are not well known either.

Posted by Dredd at January 25, 2012 02:37 PM

Ah, another feel-good State of the Union. Next month, no one will remember a damn thing he said.

Posted by Paul Avery at January 25, 2012 03:37 PM

I enjoyed the SOTU speach. Not full-o-laffs like Codpiece's drivel, of course, but I gotta admit, the man is one hell of a good speaker. Pleasant to listen to for a campaign speach, PLUS he freed those hostages in time to put it in there AND said "TAX THE RICH" so I'm giving the whole affair an A++good. NOW to see if anything else gets accomplished from it by Nov. Not to mention that Mitt and his bagger buds are making Obama look better EVERY time they open their piehole.

Posted by Mike Meyer at January 25, 2012 05:49 PM

25 January 2012...

Two fine articles worth citing: Dave Lindorff on the Fallujah war crime (My Lai, a thousand times over: "thousands of civilians, including boys -- many of whom had tried to leave before the attack -- were slaughtered by invading American and British troops."), dutifully obscured by the New York Times, et al, to this day:

...and John Pilger's piece, "The World War on Democracy" ("Into shards of fucking dust go all the lives blown there by Barack Obama, the Hopey Changey of western violence..."):

Chains you can believe in...

Posted by Dean Taylor at January 25, 2012 09:33 PM

from Democracy Now:

"He Says One Thing and Does Another": Ralph Nader Responds to Obama’s State of the Union Address

Responding to President Obama’s State of the Union address, longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader says Obama’s criticism of income inequality and Wall Street excess fail to live up to his record in office. "[Obama] says one thing and does another," Nader says. "Where has he been for over three years? He’s had the Justice Department. There are existing laws that could prosecute and convict Wall Street crooks. He hasn’t sent more than one or two to jail." On foreign policy, Nader says, "I think his lawless militarism, that started the speech and ended the speech, was truly astonishing. [Obama] was very committed to projecting the American empire, in Obama terms."

Posted by Dean Taylor at January 25, 2012 11:39 PM

Dean Taylor, thanks for that Pilger link - I had never read the history of Diego Garcia before, although I've been curious about it. Too fucking on the nose.

Posted by saurabh at January 26, 2012 12:17 AM

It's a measure of how much Democracy Now has changed over the years (especially post-Obama) that I was surprised to hear they had Ralph Nader on to comment on the speech. But in looking at the show transcript I see that Nader was relegated to second place and they led off instead with Jared Bernstein, "former chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and past member of President Obama’s economic team"--who (shockingly) used his time to do some soft campaigning for his former boss. Which is great, because we really don't get enough of party-line Democratic hacks from CNN et al.

Posted by John Caruso at January 26, 2012 01:27 AM

Is it still January? Because after listening to that, it feels like Meh already.

Posted by tom allen at January 26, 2012 08:07 AM

"For anyone on the left who's tempted to relapse into 2008 euphoria by the president's early-campaign turn to rhetorical populism, this remains as true as it always was: Obama is not your ally who's been co-opted; he's your enemy who is co-opting you."

So succinct and so perfect. A liberal friend of mine sent me an e-mail after the speech. She was pleased that Obama had pledged to investigate Wall Street banks. I assume she's unaware that Obama has raised more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history. Whatta populist.

Posted by Troville at January 26, 2012 09:40 AM

Obama is just a "business as usual" kinda guy. Everybody complains but aren't much into DOING anything about OUR BUSINESS. ALL of Congress cheered when the two white guys (Deadeye and his pet goat, Codpiece) were burning Baghdad and
we were getting fat on cheap gas, bubble housing, and "freedom fries". (admittedly that idiot Meyer was making a fool of himself calling Pelosi EVERYDAY about impeachment while BEGGING other good citizens to make jerks of themselves too. But that's an abberation, they show up every once in a while, like those OWS kids)Obama has lied to YOU, robbed YOU, and murdered in YOUR(OUR) name, YET NO-ONE is applying pressure for anything different. Hey, try to take away the net and THAT DIED IN ONE DAY. (hell it was dead before lunch)If I may but take the liberty to wake the dead, Teddy Roosevelt, "We did it to the Indians and nobody seemed to mind." Whatcher problem now? He got Bin Laden and he rescued TWO WHITE FOLKS in time for STOU.

Third Party, Folks.

Build a party that will present a DIFFERENT kind of candidate to office. WE already have two "business as usual" parties.

Posted by Mike Meyer at January 26, 2012 01:34 PM

I'm trying hard to find any detail suggesting Obama's government is more progressive than Nixon's. Thus far everything has placed him on the regressive side.

Posted by Nathan Myers at January 26, 2012 02:13 PM

America as ‘horror’ film made real…
…or, Hell is less a place we transit to than a ‘process’ we first will to cultivate and then, ultimately, undergo---radically and absolutely…

the final processing…

In considering the narrative of Empire from its inception and, continuing, reading the Fallujah account, please consider: what would your reaction have been if it came to light that one of our military agents—e.g., a Marine—had, nearing the culmination of battle, knelt down before the corpse of his recent victim, the abdomen torn open (the effect of ordnance) and lapped, with appreciation (and even zeal) at the still warm—but specifically---sanguineous flesh? With what emotional and intellectual metric would you have responded? Extreme dismay? Mild discomfort? Something between those two poles---e.g., apathy? As far as we know this has not occurred—or, it has not surfaced yet…

so, let us help one another, because, in Hell, there is no helping one another…

Hell, as reasoned, is not helpfully viewed as a ‘place’ we embark towards, i.e., with a limen we first approach and then transit through. And this, in contradistinction to the literary construct of the portal notice in the Inferno, i.e., "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate" (“abandon all hope ye who enter here…”).

the opposite of helping (i.e., love, or caritas) is not hatred, but indifference…

Rather, we cultivate an ethic of indifference towards the Other---and even ourselves---and, as this willed behavior is essentially foreign to our natures as interdependent social beings, we undergo, almost imperceptibly, a…devolving—a changing at the most elemental level.

To continue: if the willed code of behaviour is sustained it would seem to follow that at some point the effect is final, and irrevocable.

our mortal souls have come undone…

Far from existing solely as a literary—or, even fantastic---notion readily dismissed (as being merely an example of cultural artifice, imagining, etc.), the contention here is that Hell is, rather, the all-too-real---and condign---effect of our freely-willed acts and behaviour, i.e., what we as sentient, interdependent beings have chosen and actualized. And this, being all the more serious as our most elemental natures are at variance with a state of interminable alienation from the Other, as is the case with behaviour deemed self-destructive.

But, the question arises as to the seemingly obscure progression of this moral pathology, heedless of the arc, from ‘worse’ to ‘worst’, without a saving sense of terror for its inevitable conclusion: no recovery, no deliverance for/from our own lapsed selves…

we, the commonwealth, never recovered…

The obscure nature of the devolving may be owing to an initial trauma—i.e., the damage occurring with the fundamental upset, leading to what the Hopi term the Koyaanisqatsi—“life out of balance”. It is altogether possible—and, in fact, even a great likelihood—that not only is there no recovery for many (which recovery presupposing an acknowledgement of personal failure and wrongdoing) but a predisposition establishes itself—a trend—and the subject corrupts, even in absolute terms. And, this sequence of malign events being as true for the Self as for the collective, or State.

More specifically for us, in broad terms the ‘trauma’ may well have been owing to the initial fact of the imperium, i.e., the Self is relegated to some demeaned status as the corporate reality is valorized. We grieve from an injustice and, prolonged, the grieving becomes an exhaustive event. We lose something of our humanity. Caring becomes dear, and we, then, cease to care. Consider, for example, the grieving we brought to Cambodia and the killing fields we then compelled. ‘Twas ever thus…

we visit our own Hell upon our neighbor…

As to our own failings as a nation, then, the false claim is made that what amounted to execrable behavior shown to, e.g., Native Americans, African Americans---or ‘minorities’, classes, etc., of every stripe—is a matter of history, i.e., “we’ve long since put ‘paid’ to what many view as our iniquitous past.” However, such self-serving, specious analysis only forestalls the reckoning of those acts of policy and procedure. And, this denial has its issue in, e.g., Fallujah. Said another way: we have put our own dis-ease into circulation.

the final processing: “…there will be wailing and grinding of teeth…”

That we are in a downward arc as a collective (from My Lai, to Fallujah, to…) is apparent. That our national ethic---or, better, code of behaviour---is one of ‘safe’ uninvolvement, or indifference, is a virtual guarantee of the outcome. America, the horror film, is a work in progress, with new premises, new casting, new viewers caught in the glare of the projector…

Like morbid voyeurs, we have become inured to past horrific spectacle, and tone-deaf to the screams. We have adapted to the renewed litany of atrocities, even as we accommodate our elected Masters with monotonous detachment. Yes, Hell is less a place to which any one of us may embark upon one day than a process we’ve actualized today. Hell is here, now: we impart its features, forget that act, and the stark reality is now less apparent. We, literally, raise Hell, since misery disdains a vacuum but craves company. What a miserable thing it is to be an American, to be processed in America, to be processed by Americans…

so, let us help one another, because, in Hell, there is no helping one another…

What then does any possible alternative look like? It seems reasonable to conclude that since there is no caring for the Other—or, for the Self—in Hell—which solicitude we’ll then be in dire need of---the only true alternative is one of caritas, or caring for the Other/Self. By cultivating this practice, here and now---because that is all we’ve been vouchsafed, the ‘now’---we partake of an alternative scheme.

It is natural to our beings—to care for ourselves as we care for one another---in the same way that Empire is an unnatural fact of life. That is, Empire is aberrant, it is bizarre, it is the uncanny presence in our midst. Power exists via exclusion, and the Power-driven act begets same. Caring, by the same token, is THE non-Power-driven act, par excellence. So, let us help one another. And, to that end, more is more.

Posted by Dean Taylor at January 27, 2012 02:48 AM

Dean Taylor--Thanks for the link to the article on Fallujah. What's ironic (in a really annoying way) about Dexter Filkins is that when he says he didn't see any war crimes, he neglects to mention what he stated in an article he wrote for the NYT Sunday Magazine several years ago (just before his book came out), which is that he also virtually no insurgent bodies either. He had to go look for one after the fighting.

Here is a quote---

"There were a lot of dead guerrillas, but we weren’t seeing them. By then, a week into the thing, a quarter of Bravo Company was wounded or dead. There was Romulo, the car-crazy kid from West Virginia, and Nick, the surfer from Baltimore. Jake, the mouthless mangled face. There were others. But we had gone forward anyway, rolling, absorbing the blows, moving forward through the streets. They were shooting at us, the Marines and me and Ashley Gilbertson, the photographer who was traveling with me, but we kept moving anyway. And now we were at the city limits, where the streets opened onto a big flat plain of brush and trash, abruptly, just like a movie set. End of town.

So where did the insurgents go? They were dead, under the rubble, that’s where they were. Buried. Vaporized. Ground to dust.

A few years before, in Afghanistan, an American officer asked me, “Have you ever seen what a 2,000-pound bomb does to a person?” He was not really bragging because in this case the victims had been American soldiers. Friendly fire, five guys. “We put the remains in a sandwich bag,” he said.

Still, it was a curiosity that we had seen so few bodies. The generals were reporting hundreds of dead, thousands even — we knew that from the radio — but we weren’t seeing many. You would think by then we would have seen an arm. A head. Like in the suicide bombings in Baghdad. So I had been rolling it over, the lack of bodies, considering the explanations: the Muslims bury their dead very quickly; it’s a religious thing. That was one. The insurgents never leave their dead behind. That was another."

Here is the link--


So by Filkins's own account, he barely saw any bodies at all of any sort. Maybe the Marines were just fighting ghosts and blasting away at empty buildings. The ghosts managed to kill some Marines before being exorcised. Then the ectoplasm silently faded away. That would explain it. Alternatively, maybe there were a lot of bodies buried under collapsed buildings. That would explain it too.

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 27, 2012 10:49 AM

I find the best ideological comparison among other presidents to Obama to be Bush I.

Posted by LauritzH at January 29, 2012 07:59 PM

LauritzH: Now that ya mention it, they are a close fit. Althouth I still believe Obama to be a much better speaker.

Posted by Mike Meyer at January 29, 2012 08:23 PM